Triple-Layer Moist Chocolate Cake

This cake has been sent down from the Chocolate Gods for us all to enjoy. It is so easy to make, and DAMN it makes a good cake. I originally stumbled across this recipe a few years ago, and it came on my radar again when a friend asked if I could make a chocolate cake for her. The only hitch was that it had to be gluten-free. I turned to a good friend for a recipe recommendation, and she told me to just use a good cake recipe I had and sub in some gluten-free flour. I double-checked that all the other ingredients were gluten-free, and it was AMAZING.

So yes, I have only made this cake gluten-free, but here’s the deal. I made this cake twice: one test run, and one for my friend. I took the test-run gluten-free cake to a party, and didn’t tell anyone it was gluten-free until after everyone finished it… and they HAD NO IDEA. They said it was an amazing cake and they COULDN’T BELIEVE the cake was gluten-free. That was the only swap I made! This cake is THAT GOOD. *I did forget to get a picture of the cross-section, but this cake was incredible!*

The original recipe, found here, is not gluten-free, but that is the only change I made – other than the tweaks I made to the frosting. I’m sure it is just as good with regular flour. But man, this is a really freaking delicious cake. For the frosting, I prefer the texture of all-butter icings, so I used all butter in the frosting, and lessened the amount of icing sugar, as I got my frosting to my preferred texture and consistency with less. I have included my changes below, but if you would like the original measurements, be sure to go and check out Life, Love and Sugar. She is fantastic! If you like chocolate, then get ready. This cake will rock your world.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 triple-layer 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. hot water

For the frosting:

2½ c. butter, at room temperature
5-6 c. icing sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. cocoa powder
4-5 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom, and grease the sides.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, and oil, and whisk again.

Add the vanilla to the boiling water, and add in to mixture, mixing well.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans, and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs.

Allow cakes to cool in pans about 10 minutes before removing cakes from pans and cooling completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add in 4 c. icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp. of milk. Mix until smooth, and check for consistency.

Add in the rest of the icing sugar, the cocoa powder and 1-2 more tbsp. of milk until smooth and spreadable.

Once cakes are cool, level with a knife. On a cake plate, spread a small dollop of frosting in the center to make the bottom cake stick. Place the bottom layer of cake down, and cover with about 1 cup of frosting. Repeat with the second cake layer and another cup of frosting.

Add last cake layer, then frost rest of cake. I went for a more rustic, swooshy style of decorating, but feel free to make the frosting perfectly smooth. Slice, and serve!

Confetti Squares

These bad boys are now in the permanent rotation. They are also known as Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares, Butterscotch Squares… I’ve heard a ton of names for these little squares of deliciousness. They are one of Paul’s favourites, and SO FREAKING EASY! I didn’t realize until I made them what I have been missing out on.

I found the recipe here, but let’s just get this straight – there are a TON of variations of the recipe. The measurements are all generally the same, but I used this one because of the amount of peanut butter. Oh yeah. The peanut butter mixture was perfect. Now I just have to make these again with crunchy peanut butter… I’m a smooth peanut butter girl, but Paul loves the crunchy. I told him I wanted to stick with the original directions (in 99% of the recipes I found) that use smooth peanut butter. We’ll see how it goes!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 12-16 squares, depending on cut size

¼ c. butter
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 bag butterscotch chips
4-5 c. multicoloured mini marshmallows

Line a 9×9 inch square pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips together until smooth. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly. (If you don’t let it cool, you will melt the marshmallows – not good!)

Fold in the marshmallows when mixture has cooled. Make sure marshmallows are evenly coated. Pour into the prepared pan, and press into an even layer with a spatula.

Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 1-2 hours, or until firm, then slice.

Cream Cheese Cookies

We know around these parts that I love me some cookies. These little nuggets are no exception. I found them on Pinterest, my favourite site for recipe inspiration. I decided to give them a go because I had some cream cheese on hand, but not enough for a cheesecake, and I’m so glad I did! They are GREAT!

The original recipe is from here, and these cookies are fantastic. They are beautiful and pale, golden brown on the bottom, soft and tender in the middle, with a delicate vanilla and almond flavour. I think these were my favourite of all the cookies I made for Christmas baking.

With that said, go make these. These cookies are great. I can’t sing their praises enough!

Ingredients

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies, depending on size

½ c. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. baking powder
1¾ c. flour

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add egg and beat to combine. Add extracts and beat again.

Add in the baking powder and flour in three segments, mixing to combine after each addition. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Dough is sticky – beware. Roll out 1-2 inch balls. Use a cup dipped in flour to slightly flatten the cookie balls. Don’t flatten too much.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Keep a close eye on these cookies, and pull them out as soon as you see the bottom edges starting to turn a golden brown.

Let cool on a wire rack, and enjoy!

Fluffy Pancakes

Happy New Year, and hello again friends! As you can see, I’m back from my unplanned hiatus. I was sick pretty much the entire month of December. Like, sick enough to take 3 sick days in 1 week sick. (Which for me is an anomaly… I never take sick days.) I don’t really know what was wrong with me, but I kept to myself and just tried to get better over the past month. I figured all of my regular readers would understand that being sick = no blog posts.

Either way, to start off a new year, you have to start with the first meal of the day. The first meal means breakfast, and pancakes are the perfect breakfast vehicle, so I decided to come back with a nice, simple recipe that everyone should have up their sleeve.

I found this recipe last May, when I was planning a staff lunch with some coworkers. We decided to host a breakfast-for-lunch (instead of dinner) staff lunch, and these pancakes were a HIT. I especially liked them because they were easy to make, and didn’t need any special ingredients – not even buttermilk, and they were SUPER fluffy and satisfying. I made a 12x recipe of these pancakes (because you never know how many pancakes you will need!), and they all turned out beautifully, and filled an entire roaster and then some. I’ve also made these a time or two in smaller quanities, and every time I make them, I am so happy with how easy they are and how flawlessly they turn out.

If you are a pancake fan, go make these! Breakfast, anyone?

Ingredients

Yield: 6-8 pancakes, depending on size

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
Oil or non-stick spray, for cooking

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Make sure the butter isn’t too hot when you add it or you could cook the eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mostly combined. The batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but with no visible streaks of flour. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat and spray with oil or cooking spray. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop and drop the batter into the pan. Cook until small bubbles form on the top surface of the pancake and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat. Serve while still hot with your favourite toppings!