Articles

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bread and Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Last year I hinted at a future incarnation of my Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake Bread and I am nothing if not a keeper of promises. Though, this is probably not a promise you all remembered from one little post in November 2014, but just in case one of you did remember and has spent the last 12 months anxiously awaiting that new, equally delicious version of that loaf cake I have now kept my promise!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

That previous pumpkin bread recipe was so perfect that it would’ve been borderline sacrilegious to alter it too much. With a thick, rich pumpkin flavor countered by creamy, tangy cheesecake layer, this bread was an instant favorite for the fall holiday season. And what is the one additional flavor that makes everything better? Yep. Chocolate!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

What do you mean you’ve already had your fill of pumpkin?! It’s only been a month and a half of the annual pumpkin spice takeover! We are only halfway done! Trust me, in a few weeks when all the pumpkin yumminess is gone and replaced with gingerbread and eggnog everything, you’ll be glad you took as full advantage of pumpkin season as possible. (Unless you are like me and never get tired of pumpkin/pumpkin spice everything; if that is you I’m going to let you know that pumpkin baked goodies freeze very very well 😉 .)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Scones

FINALLY! It’s FINALLY October so it’s FINALLY acceptable for me to post something pumpkin. Now, here in Southern California we are amazingly pumpkin spice anything obsessed despite it never really being cold enough to justify the warming, spicy taste of anything pumpkin spice flavored. Maybe it’s a case of wishful thinking, or hope that it’ll turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy (we act like it’s cold maybe it will become cold). But who can blame us when pumpkin is the best thing about this season?!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Scones

Pumpkin White Chocolate Scones

The other week I binge-baked pumpkin scones. I couldn’t help myself. I like variety and I love chocolate and I love love pumpkin, so it only made sense to make multiple batches of pumpkin scones.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

When I was a kid, I always loved banana splits. (Hold on Mom, I know I never had banana split, I’m about to clarify.) Or more accurately (see what I did there, Mom?) I loved the idea and the look of banana splits. I’m pretty sure it all had to do with my favorite Curious George book and the massive ice cream sundae that adorable monkey made.

I’ll admit, I still have never had a true banana split. I did finally have banana split flavored ice cream and loved it, so I’m going to assume it’s basically the same thing. It’s the banana split that was the original inspiration for this cake, until I forgot a few of my planned modifications and turned a banana split cake into…Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling. Just goes to show you that sometimes mistakes still result in a delicious cake. (And I’m not giving up on my banana split cake, just you wait.)

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling...ON DISPLAY!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling…ON DISPLAY!

Fun fact about this cake: This was my first cake sold in the US! I baked and sold a few breakfast cakes in my favorite coffee shop in England, but this is the first time I had a cake on display in a coffee shop here in LA. Steampunk Kitchen and Coffee Bar, of the standout afternoon tea fame, became the home of the Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling, but only for a short while as it was all sold by 2 pm. Thanks for the encouragement and support Steampunk!

This cake does have a fair number of steps when it comes to assembly, but I promise the baking part is nothing more challenging than my found-tried-and-true vanilla cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream frosting. I’ve put in step-by-step assembly pics for you!

Here it is: a delightful mistake? A twist on a classic flavor combination? Doesn’t matter, just grab a fork and get ready to smile!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

vanilla cake with strawberry banana filling

ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE

  • 5 cups (630 grams) cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3 cups (600 grams) ultrafine baking sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 ¼ cup (540 mL) milk
  • 6 tsp vanilla extract
  • chopped or sliced strawberries
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 bag mini chocolate chips

INGREDIENTS FOR FROSTING (makes one batch)

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep three 8-in round cake pans with shortening spray (nonstick baking spray), parchment paper, and wet cake straps.

Make the cake batter in three batches (trust me). For each batch, whisk 1 2/3 cup (210 grams) cake flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt together in a medium mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, 1 cup ultrafine baking sugar, 1 egg, ¼ cup yogurt, ¾ cup milk, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed, combining until no lumps remain.

Pour 2 ½ cups cake batter into pan. Repeat with remaining 2/3 of the ingredients. You can use the leftover batter to make a few mini cupcakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator to cool fully before frosting.

Make the frosting. Beat the softened butter in the stand mixer for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and beat for an additional minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add additional cream to thin out this batch of frosting (to frost the entire cake you’ll need a second, thicker batch).

Assemble the cake. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator, turn out onto cutting surface. Trim the tops of the cakes so they will stack evenly and straight. Place one cake layer on a board. Spread a thick layer of the thinned batch of frosting over the cake, then top with half the strawberries and 1 sliced banana. Repeat with a second layer of cake, frosting, and fruit. Top with final cake layer.

IMG_5717_Fotor_Fotor_CollageUse the remainder of the thinned frosting to crumb coat the cake and fill in any holes. Place assembled cake back into the refrigerator so the crumb coat will harden while you make a second, thicker batch of frosting.

Apply a thick layer of frosting smoothly over the cake. Press mini chocolate chips onto the sides of the cake. Decorate with remaining frosting and fruit as desired!

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

I seem to be in a “Let’s half dip everything in chocolate!” mood lately. Is there some Freudian explanation for that? Some hidden meaning behind wanting my cookies to all take a dunk in melted cocoa? Is it a sign of something? Like when women get pregnant and they know before the tests confirm it because they have these weird cravings for pickles and ice cream (I am definitely not pregnant by the way, for anyone who just freaked out there for a second). What does this dipping in chocolate obsession mean??

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Oh I know! (1) That I have a borderline pathological need to make recipes more delicious by making them more complicated or adding extra steps (2) Everything looks cuter when half of it is covered in chocolate. Phew! Glad we figured that out.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Feeling a little inundated with cookies right about now? Between Christmas parties, office afternoon teas (is it just my dad’s office that does that?), your holiday traditions, and yes I’ll admit to some blame myself, you have been surrounded by cookies for weeks now! Cookies are delicious and traditional for this time of year, but I totally understand needing a moment to step away from the cookie sheets. I won’t judge. In fact, I’ll join you! I’ll join anything to have another batch of these pomegranate dark chocolate scones.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

I mentioned EONS ago that I wanted to try these Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Scones with fresh pomegranate arils instead of the pomegranate flavored fruit jelly covered in dark chocolate. 

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

You know what we’ve had a dearth of on this blog lately? Chocolate. Sure we throw various chocolate chips into our scones and cookies. Heck sometimes we even melt some down and spread it all over our cookies. But true, unadulterated chocolate? Definitely lacking.

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

The holidays aren’t just about all things cinnamon, eggnog, peppermint, pumpkin, white, and cranberry. They are about thinking about the people in your life and what you can do to make them feel special. Isn’t that what presents are? Our acknowledgment that the receiver was in our hearts and minds and that we want to give them something specific to their unique tastes? Well, the same goes with Holiday Cookies. I may love peppermint and cranberry anything, but my mom craves anything eggnog. My brother just asks after pumpkin pie. No cookies, just pumpkin pie. And my aunt? She looooooooooves anything chocolate! See? Everyone has different tastes in their sweet treats, and making a type of cookie specifically with them in mind is a great way to show people how much you love and understand them.

And the best excuse to make a million batches of cookies EVER. Come on, we can’t always be selfless.

Hershey’s has introduced this new line of chocolate chips called Morsels. They are slightly bigger than regular semisweet chocolate chips, but they are filled with deliciousness! So far I’ve found peanut butter, mint, raspberry, and caramel and I snatched up a few bags immediately before I even thought of what to make with them. I have a habit of doing that. My original idea was to just swap out regular chocolate chips in my family chocolate chip cookie recipe with the Morsels because anything in my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is a winner. But with mint? Why not appeal to a new audience with the richest, most fudge, brownie like chocolate cookies chipped with Mint Morsels?

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

You’re welcome! And simultaneously, I’m sorry. You’ll need to make quite a few trips to these baking aisle once everyone gets ahold of these Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies. I mean, they taste like a soft, thick Thin Mint! And who doesn’t love Thin Mints? Or brownies? Everyone does, so everyone will love these cookies. The mint is present, but neither too overwhelming of the chocolate nor too overwhelmed by the chocolate. Let me know if you get that one 😉 I also made these with the peanut butter Morsels and those were a hit too! Chocoholics unite!

Don’t be scared off by the heavy and sticky cookie dough. How else are you going to get thick and fudgy cookies? Just chill the dough for a little while to reduce the stickiness before dropping them on the cookie sheet and you’ll be reaching for that necessary glass of milk in no time.

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

chocolate chocolate morsel cookies

ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lowfat milk
  • 1 package Hershey Morsels (1 batch with mint, 1 batch with peanut butter)

 directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt.

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars on medium, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Make sure you are always scraping down the sides as needed.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed. Once combined, add the milk. Fold in the Morsels. Dough will be heavy and sticky. Chill if necessary.

Drop cookies on sheet in 1 ½ tbsp dough balls 3 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes, less time for gooier cookies. Remove to a wire rack to cool immediately.

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

There are a lot of cookies coming your way in the next month. Some are the classic holiday cookies straight from my mother’s kitchen, and others are new but soon to be classics, and still others are cookie extravaganzas straight from the weirdly cookie and scone obsessed mind of, well, me! Those cookies and desserts might get a little multi-step on you, so let’s ease our ovens into the cookie season with an easy, breezy twist on a classic.

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

Remember our discussion about teacakes? Long time ago, I know.

Black and White Chocolate Chip Scones

Once upon a time (okay, a little over a year ago) I worked in a tea cafe. I had been a semi-regular customer there for years when I finally got the chance to be a server there, and I have to say it was one of my favorite restaurant jobs I ever had. And not just because at the end of our shifts, we got to take home one free scone. Yeah, I was spoiled.

black and white chocolate chip scones

black and white chocolate chip scones

What was interesting about the free scone situation was that when I was a customer before I worked there, all I ever ordered was the chocolate chip scone. I loved it! Then when I started my job, I suddenly switched and my favorite became the white chocolate chip scone. No idea what made me switch my allegiance. Now that I don’t waitress anymore and I make my own scones regularly, it felt like the right time to progress into a new favorite chocolate scone.

So stage three: The Black and White Chocolate Chip Scone.

Dark Chocolate Chip Blueberry Scones

Dark Chocolate Chip Blueberry Scones

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Blueberry Scones

Dark Chocolate Chip Blueberry Scones

Father’s Day is tomorrow!!

Okay, technically Father’s Day was last Sunday the 15th, but tomorrow my mom, my brother, and myself are taking my dad to a Dodgers-Padres baseball game down in San Diego. So we are celebrating Father’s Day tomorrow. Yeah we did the full family barbecue (that wasn’t as good as my dad’s famous barbecue) on the actual day, but tomorrow is really when the four of us are going to spend time together as a family and cherish every moment of the day with our beloved patriarch. Unless the Dodgers lose. Which they won’t!

Live. Breathe. Blue.

    %d bloggers like this: