Showing posts with label chocolate cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate cake. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strawberry Sorbet with a Hint of Mint

LUCY BURDETTE: We had the most incredible crop of strawberries this year. We couldn't keep put up with eating them, so we froze quite a few, mixing in a little sugar. I wanted to use some before they became afflicted with freezer burn and ended up in the compost heap. Since we were about to celebrate John's birthday with his favorite chocolate cake, I found a recipe for strawberry sorbet on the website, which I tweaked with less vanilla and some mint. I thought it would be a treat for the people who don't eat chocolate, and a nice touch added to a slab of cake!


6 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
I squeeze of lemon
A sprig of mint

The strawberries you use for this recipe can be fresh or frozen. If frozen, let them thaw enough to separate. But make sure they are delicious, not the cardboard kind you get out of season. Grind the strawberries in a food processor until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a pan, combine the water, sugar, vanilla, lemon, and mint. Heat the mixture and simmer until the sugar melts. Discard the mint.

Stir the sugar mixture into the strawberry mixture and refrigerate for several hours until very cold.

Prepare in your ice cream maker as the manufacture directs. We loved the hint of mint!

I found with using frozen strawberries that I probably could have done without the ice cream maker step by freezing the mixture briefly. I don't think this would work with fresh strawberries, but let me know if you try it. If you freeze this overnight after making, it will come out hard as a rock, so let it thaw for a bit before serving.

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Chocolate Cake! @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: About a month ago, I did a talk and signing with my friends Barbara Ross and Liz Mugavero. Barb's husband was coming along, and it was his birthday. I thought he deserved a cake for being a good sport. I asked what kind he would like, he answered (quickly!): Chocolate with White icing. I've made plenty of chocolate cakes for my family, but never were they iced in white. Here was an opportunity to try a different chocolate cake along with the different icing. I found this recipe on Pinterest from a blog called "add a pinch". It was described as the best chocolate cake ever. 

I made adjustments for a lower sodium cake as you'll see below and also left out the suggested espresso powder, as I didn't have any on hand. It was very good, and tall, and probably a tad less rich than my usual. 


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, good quality
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (to reduce the sodium content in the cake, I used 1 teaspoon regular baking soda and 1 teaspoon no sodium baking soda)
2 teaspoons low-sodium baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Two eggs
1/2 cup unflavored, preferably organic, vegetable oil like canola
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water, boiling

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare the pans by buttering well, adding a circle of parchment paper and buttering that as well. Pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor or KitchenAid mixer. Then add the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla. Mix that in well with the dry ingredients. Boil the water and add it to the cake mixture, taking care not to splatter outside your machine!

Distribute the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes and then remove them from the pans and cool completely before frosting. You can make the cake a day ahead of time, just cover it well until ready to frost.

For the white icing: 

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 to 4 cups confectioners sugar
Milk, as needed for thinning

Beat the butter until soft and thick. Beat the vanilla in. Gradually beat in the confectioner sugar until the frosting is the consistency and sweetness that you prefer.
Birthday boy

My family is so crazy about the chocolate frosting that I usually make, so I tried this cake with that icing too. I found the vanilla buttercream overly sweet, but the birthday boy and guests loved it. A good choice if you don't want a double chocolate cake. The super-serious chocolate eaters in my family still think this cake is the best ever though...

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Welcome Guest Marty Wingate & #GIVEAWAY

I so enjoyed Marty Wingate's delicious English cozy "Empty Nest" that I asked her to be a guest here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.  A chocolate cake featured quite prominently in the book and every time it was mentioned, I drooled at the thought of a delicious piece of cake and a cup of tea! I managed to convince Marty to share the recipe with us today!

By Marty Wingate

Julia Lanchester finds it difficult to resist chocolate cake – especially the kind made by Nuala Darke, who runs the tea room in Smeaton-under-Lyme, the village where Julia manages the Tourist Information Center.

I set my Birds of a Feather mystery series in this fictional village in the real county of Suffolk, England. Birds infuse the stories – how could they not, when Julia, the protagonist, is daughter of the celebrity ornithologist Rupert Lanchester (he’s got his own television show). But the books (#1 – The Rhyme of the Magpie; #2 – Empty Nest; #3 – now under constructions) are also filled with quirky characters, a bit of romance, food, and – of course – a murder, which Julia feels compelled to investigate.

Julia loves to eat and she’s one of those people who can eat constantly (it seems) and never gain an ounce. Although all authors put a lot of themselves into their characters this one trait is, sadly, where Julia and I part ways.

So, on to the chocolate cake, which you will read about in Empty Nest (along with Nuala’s other tea room treats, such as cheese-and-bacon scones). The recipe below is my own version of a cake that is served in many of the National Trust cafes around Britain – it’s incredibly chocolately and amazing good. Be sure to check the size of your cake pans – they should be on the small side, only 8 inches in diameter. I hope you will try the recipe out and also read about Julia’s escapades. I’m just finishing up #3, which will be released early in 2017. 

Nuala’s Chcolate Cake

5 ½ ounces dark chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped *
2 cups brown sugar, loosely packed
1 scant cup whole milk
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
3 Tbl. cocoa
pinch of salt
6 oz. (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
3 large eggs, beaten
½ tsp. vanilla extract

12 oz. dark chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1 ¼ cup cream

For the cake:
1. Set the oven to 325 degrees F and butter/oil/spray two 8-inch cake tins. Line the base of each with parchment paper.
2. Put the chocolate, half the sugar, and about two-thirds of the milk in a saucepan. Set it over low heat and gently stir until the chocolate has melted and the sugar dissolved. (It should not get hot, only warm.) Set aside.
3. Sift together: flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. Put the butter and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and beat.
4. Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture in three stages, alternating with the remaining milk. Fold in the warm chocolate mixture, finishing it by hand.
5. Divide between the prepared tins and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed. Cool the cakes in the tins for about 10 minutes, then turn out and peel off the parchment.

For the ganache:
1. Put the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of just-boiled water, off the heat; stir until melted. OR microwave in a glass bowl on low in 20-second increments, stirring each time until melted (it gets warm, but not hot).
2. Once melted, put the cream in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, and pour into the melted chocolate. Using a wooden spoon, first stir, then beat (be careful not to slosh it on yourself!) until combined and glossy. Cool. Just as it’s finally cool, if it seems too runny, use a wire whisk and beat it.
3. When the cake and ganache are at room temperature, place the first layer on a plate (put a blob of ganache on the plate to help the layer hold still), spread some ganache, then set the second layer on. (I find it easier to set bottom-to-bottom so there’s no gap between the layers.) Cover the cake and leave in a cool place to set.
*I was delighted to find that Nestles sells a bag of dark chocolate morsels – more chocolatey than the semisweet chips. This is what I used, even though chocolate chips take a bit more time to melt than if you chop a block yourself.

Prepare the ingredients

Divide the batter

Cover with ganache


And there's a GIVEAWAY!

In the meantime, here’s a giveaway offer from my other series – the Potting Shed mysteries (about an American gardener who moves to England and digs up more than weeds). I have a copy of the audio version of book #1, The Garden Plot – free to the lucky winner who will be randomly chosen. To enter the drawing, leave a comment below – and be sure to include your email address. I’ll contact the winner.

And visit my website ( to sign up for my occasional newsletter with news about books and England.

You can find all my books – including Potting Shed #5, The Bluebonnet Betrayal (coming out August), in all ebook formats – Kindle, Nook, iBookstore, Kobo, GooglePlay and more!

Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village.
Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and the American Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wickedly Decadent Chocolate Dump Cake for #Halloween from author @DarylWoodGerber

I just learned it's 
National Chocolate Day! 

But it's also my day for a Halloween post, and I had something all planned. So guess what? 

You get two recipes for the price of one! 
Two Halloween treats. One that's plenty of chocolate!

Let's party! 

First of all, do you have a few Halloween-themed mysteries to read this coming week? 

If not, try Stirring the Plot. 
[Yes,  I know Fudging the Books is my latest, but it's Halloween!]

Or try Krista Davis's The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer! 
Try our friend Janet Bolin's Night of the Living Thread or 
Kylie Logan's The Legend of Sleepy Harlow!

And now for today's menu:

Wickedly Decadent Chocolate Dump Cake


Brie Pumpkin Appetizer! Fun for all ages.

I love Halloween. It's a time to enjoy seeing all the kiddies in their costumes, or dress up yourself - do you dress up? I used to love to do so. Maybe that's why I was an actress before I became a writer. Which of my costumes do you like best? I was definitely into "glamor." That's my little sister in the witch hat. [Witch hats play prominently in STIRRING THE PLOT.]

It's also time to watch scary movies (not me - I'm not a scary movie girl), and time to eat! Salty or sweet. Which do you prefer? [Here are some recipes from Stirring the Plot. Click the titles for the links, shared previously on Mystery Lovers Kitchen.]


Or do you just like to party???

I also love seeing the decorations in my neighborhood and in my local stores.  They are getting spookier by the year, I think, but I don't  mind. They're fun!

What do you do for Halloween? Do you party? Do you trick or treat? Do you wait for trick or treaters with a bowl full of goodies? Whatever you do, enjoy the "creativity". The kids sure do!

To make the Wickedly Decadent Chocolate Dump was an accident! I was browsing through my cabinet when I found some cocoa nibs. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I bought them when I learned my husband needed to eat sugar-free and thought, aha!  But they aren't quite chocolate. 

What are they? Cacao nibs are cocoa beans that are roasted and separated from their hulls and then they are broken into smaller pieces. You can find them at health food stores and can eat them as a snack or add to baked goods.

They would go great in granola. But they're nuttier in texture than chocolate. So I decided to add them as a "nut" texture to this dump cake. Added to the mix, they made the texture of the cake wickedly fun! They also added a good visual oomph to the frosting, too!



1 pkg. chocolate cake mix  (*regular or gluten-free – I used Pamela’s gluten-free brand)
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
¾ cup safflower oil
¾ cup milk
½ cup cacao nibs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Dump all the ingredients except the cacao nibs into a bowl. Mix. Now gently mix in the cacao nibs. How easy is that?

Pour into greased bundt pan.  Cook 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. The top should spring back if pressed lightly with your finger.

Cool 20-30 minutes in the pan, then slip a knife around the outside edge and around the edge of the center tube.  Turn the cake over and let cool completely.

Drizzle with chocolate glaze icing and top with more cacao nibs,  if desired. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

And, now, here's the recipe for a Brie "pumpkin" appetizer. So easy and so yummy. 
The kids had a great time helping me "carve." 

I found this recipe in the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook. Whenever I research cookbooks for the next in the series, I scan bookstores and Amazon and other book sites looking for fun covers and  then I browse the pages, and often I buy the book. This is in my collection - great for kids! By the way, I keep a list of the cookbooks in all my Cookbook Nook books on my website, under "more about the Cookbook Nook World" so you can reference them. Here's that link: cookbook list.


I have to share a tidbit... When I went looking for the link for the Betty Crocker Halooween Cookbook on Amazon, guess which book was recommend right below it?  Mine!  

Pumpkin Brie

This couldn't be simpler!  

8 ounce round of Brie
1/4 cup apricot jam or marmalade
Crackers and apples for display

Remove a round of Brie from the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature. Using a warm knife, "carve" your pumpkin face, removing a portion of cheese about 1/2" deep for the mouth, nose, and eyes.  Using a teaspoon, fill the cheese cavity with apricot jam or marmalade. Serve with "orange" crackers and apple slices. A tasty treat for all ages!

Savor the mystery!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
s Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

FUDGING THE BOOKS, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is HERE!  Click to order.

New in February
Click to order.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!