• Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    Hello my loves! I’m back this week with a fun and fancy new cake recipe, because it’s never not the time for cake. This weekend, we hosted my sister’s birthday party in our apartment, and to be honest it felt like an Olympic Sport to me. 25 people in our little apartment? Bring it on. Food and cake and drinks to fill all these people? I’ve got this. After a very successful trip to Trader Joe’s, my biggest concern was making a cake that would provide a slice for everyone. A Sweet D cake was promised in the Facebook invite, so the pressure was on!! Then, earlier in the week I came across a cake recipe that clicked PERFECTLY. Specifically, this cake, which has a surprise visit from my sourdough starter!

    To keep you all updated, last week, I suddenly got very motivated to make my own sourdough starter, despite knowing how much of an undertaking it is. If you’re interested in taking the plunge yourself, I found that this article from King Arthur Flour to be very informative. To give you a brief summary, sourdough starter is made by combining parts of flour and water and allowing it to sit, with daily feedings of more flour and water, so that the natural yeast develops to produce a tangy, flavorful loaf of bread. But sparing you all the intricacies of sourdough making, part of the feeding process is that every day, all but 4 ounces of the starter is discarded before more flour and water is added. It requires a relatively consistent feeding schedule, which is how I ended up getting up at 6:20 every morning to feed my starter before work, like it was a small dog. Good times.

    Now, yes, starter is just flour and water, but throwing out large portions of flour can feel wasteful, so that’s where this cake comes in. Originally a recipe from one of my favorite food writers Posie Harwood, this deeply chocolate cake is both decadent and simple somehow. Now before you get worried that this is more bread than cake, rest assured. The sourdough starter only creates the most moist, intensely flavored cake you’ll ever have. As my sister said, “This is the platonic ideal of a birthday cake”. The original author recommends eating the cake on its own, no need for frosting. I’m sure she’s correct, but since this was a birthday cake, frosting isn’t just wanted, its required.

    I call this shot the “I forgot to take pictures until the cake was almost gone” shot.

    You may remember a few weeks ago when I took a cake decorating class with Claire Saffitz of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen. If you weren’t here for that, YES that happened and it was glorious. Among the bits and pieces that I took home from that experience was a recipe for Claire’s chocolate cream cheese frosting. I feel silly for saying that I never thought about making a cream cheese frosting that’s anything but vanilla, and now I feel silly because this is DELICIOUS. Together with the cake and this frosting, it’s an unstoppable creation that had multiple guests going back for seconds. Have I tempted you enough yet?

    Before we start obviously, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Discounted Halloween candy on November 1st.
    TWO. A crystal punch bowl set with glasses and a ladle.
    THREE. A well organized cheese plate.
    FOUR. Vintage bar carts.
    FIVE. Pre-sliced carrot and celery sticks with little cups of ranch and hummus.

    Let’s bake!!

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    A moist, intensely chocolate cake slathered in maybe the best frosting known to man, you will want to keep sourdough starter at all times for this recipe alone!!
    Prep Time3 hrs
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: cake, chocolate, cream cheese, frosting, sourdough, sprinkles
    Servings: 24 people (max)

    Ingredients

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake

    • 1 cup discard sourdough starter
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • cup white sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • 1 tsp salt
    • tsp baking soda
    • ¾ cup Non-Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
    • 2 eggs

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 6 oz. cream cheese; at room temperature
    • 2 cups confectioners sugar
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • pinch salt

    Instructions

    Sourdough Cake

    • In a large mixing bowl (not your stand mixer bowl), combine the milk, sourdough starter, and flour. Stir until all the flour has been moistened, but don't worry about getting out every single lump. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and allow to sit for 2 hours.
    • After the 2 hours is up, preheat your oven to 350°F and generously grease a 9 x 13" baking sheet, then line the bottom with parchment paper for easy release.
    • In your stand mixer or another large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
    • Add the sourdough mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until it's totally combined into the batter. It's very sticky, so it does help to stop the mixer and scrape everything down a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
    • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top is very shiny, and only slightly bounces back when pushed with your finger. Run a knife or spatula around the sides and allow to cool completely in the pan before frosting or removing from the pan.

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    • Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and whip until smooth and evenly combined.
    • Frost the cake as desired- you could leave the cake in the pan and just frost the top, or your could flip the cake out onto a sheet tray and frost all sides. Top with sprinkles, candles, or whatever you want! Now eat up!! YUM!

    Want more cake? Look here, here, here, and here!

  • Banana Cream Pie

    Hello my friends! I hope we are all keeping cool in this very hot summer. If you’re reading this from somewhere that it isn’t summer, just know I envy you. I’m sure this makes me a party pooper, but the novelty of summer heat wears off PRETTY fast when you’re not a kid and it’s no longer acceptable to sit in the kiddie pool in your backyard all day. Instead I have to wear real clothes??? And go to work?? And the whole time I’m thinking of the beach and/ or ice cream (or this Banana Cream Pie tbh) and basically what I’m saying is I think we should all get summer vacation no matter what age/ job we have. Who’s with me!

    This was a pretty lazy segue into this week’s recipe, but really, what better way to enjoy summer than with a Banana Cream Pie? Essentially vanilla pudding with sliced bananas mixed in, this one is ~fancier~ because you make the pudding yourself. Plus did I mention there’s a layer of chocolate in between the graham cracker crust and the filling? Are you sold yet? Cool. The recipe comes from ZoeBakes because we all know I’m obsessed with her, so find the original recipe here.

    Before we get started, here are your 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Seeing a movie in an otherwise empty theater and talking as loud as you please.
    TWO. The caffeine boost of an afternoon iced coffee.
    THREE. The melty consistency of a perfectly toasted marshmallow.
    FOUR. A prosperous herb garden.
    FIVE. Packing a cooler for the beach with watermelon, chips, and ice cold lemonade.

    Let’s bake!!

    Banana Cream Pie

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time15 mins
    Chilling Time2 hrs
    Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: banana, chocolate, cream pie, pudding
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • 12 whole graham crackers
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter; melted
    • pinch kosher salt
    • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate; finely chopped

    Banana Filling

    • tsp powdered gelatin; (1 packet)
    • 2 Tbsp cold water
    • 1 egg
    • 3 egg yolks
    • cup white sugar
    • Tbsp cornstarch
    • cups whole milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract; or 1 scraped vanilla bean
    • 1 cup heavy cream; whipped to soft peaks
    • 3-4 bananas; cut into coins

    Whipped Cream Topping

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 Tbsp white sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • bittersweet chocolate; for shavings on top

    Instructions

    Graham Cracker Crust

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grind together the graham crackers, butter, brown sugar, and salt until crumbs form, and can hold together when you squeeze some in your hand.
    • Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, using a small dry measuring cup to maintain an even, flat surface. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set and toasted.
    • Immediately after removing the crust from the oven, sprinkle the bottom with the chopped chocolate, and allow to melt, about 5 minutes. Once the chocolate is fully melted, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer evenly over the entire bottom of the crust and up the sides as desired. Allow to cool before filling.

    Banana Filling

    • In a small bowl, bloom together the gelatin and the 2 Tbsp cold water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.
    • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk on medium low until simmering. If you're using a vanilla bean, heat the scraped seeds and pod with the milk now, if you're using vanilla extract, we'll add it later.
    • Slowly, while whisking constantly, drizzle some of the heated milk into the egg mixture. This tempers the eggs so that they won't spontaneously cook when we add them to the hot milk. Once about ⅓ of the milk has been added and the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour all of the egg/ milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and bring to a boil on medium heat.
    • Once the mixture starts to boil, continue to cook, whisking constantly for 3 minutes, until the custard is thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin and vanilla extract (if using) until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
    • Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool to at least room temperature.
    • Once cooled, fold in the softly whipped cream and sliced bananas, then pour the filling into your prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set.

    Whipped Cream + Serving

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until the desired stiffness is reached. Stiffer whipped cream can be piped onto the pie, but I opted for a softer whipped cream that I piled on top, it's up to you!
    • Using a vegetable peeler, shave some of the leftover bittersweet chocolate on top, and serve. YUM!!

    Looking for more pudding pies? Look no further than here, here, and here!

  • Black and White Cookies

    Two days back into work after a long weekend, I am almost feeling back to myself. The only downside of long weekends is how much longer it takes to readjust to work, don’t you think? Anyway, I hope all your holiday weekends were lovely and filled with lots of snacks. I myself made guacamole and a pitcher of VERY strong watermelon mojitos, plus a cherry pie and a flag cake for dessert. I couldn’t make up my mind so why not make both?? That, combined with a morning at the beach made for a very sleepy me, and you BET I slept late into the morning on Friday. Buuuuut, then I recovered enough to return to the kitchen for……..black and white cookies!!

    I think about black and white cookies a lot, they are the superior cookie for sure. A cross between a cake and a cookie, with a half vanilla, half chocolate glazed top that snaps when you break it, what’s not to love? These cookies are a staple of New York City, and TBH I feel like I owed it to myself to try these out. I adapted from this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, with a few changes here and there.

    As luck would have it, my cousin Raymond was over while I made these, and we got to plotting about the country’s first ever all-black and white cookie bakery. He’s a decade younger than me but has more business savvy than anyone I’ve ever met, we made a logo and flavors and everything!! So if this idea takes off everyone better get ready. I don’t wanna brag, but we discussed flavors like maple bacon, coffee caramel, and strawberry.

    Before we bake, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Group traveling.
    TWO. Free admission.
    THREE. Having your coffee in the park.
    FOUR. Two shakes of a lambs tail.
    FIVE. Bursting into song.

    Let’s bake!!

    Black and White Cookies

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time1 hr 20 mins
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: chocolate, cookie, vanilla
    Servings: 36 cookies

    Ingredients

    Cookie Base

    • cups white sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter; at room temp
    • 4 eggs; at room temp
    • cups milk
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • cups cake flour
    • cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp kosher salt

    Black and White Glazes

    • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ⅓ to ½ cup boiling water
    • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
    • 1 tsp light corn syrup

    Instructions

    Cookie Base

    • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition.
    • Slowly drizzle in the milk (to avoid splatters), then the vanilla and mix until combined.
    • In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, until all has been added.
    • Using a cookie scoop or 2 large spoons, scoop roughly ¼ cup portions out onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are only just beginning to brown. Allow to cool completely before icing.

    Black and White Glazes

    • In a large heat-safe bowl, add in the confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla, then slowly add in the boiling water, a little at at time, until the desired thick consistency is reached. Keep in mind that you probably won't need all the boiling water, and it's difficult to fix a glaze that's become too thin.
    • Spread the vanilla glaze on one half of the flat side of each cookie. After every cookie is half iced, put the bowl with the remaining glaze over a double boiler (a small pot of boiling water that the bowl can fit in without touching the water), and add the chocolate pieces plus the corn syrup. Continue to stir until the chocolate melts and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
    • Ice the other half of each cookie. The chocolate frosting has a tendency to dry up faster than the vanilla, so if you notice that happening, feel free to stir a bit of boiling water in to keep the frosting shiny as needed. YUM!

    Looking for more cookie recipes? Try here, here, and here!