Gâteau au Chocolat Épicé

IMG_6434I’ve always loved the exotic combination of chilies & chocolate.  The two flavours are perfect together, and have been used together for far longer than I’m sure the history books show.  Whether it’s adding a bit of cocoa to a robust chili con carne, or having a chili infused piece of chocolate, it all works for me.

I was working on a Mexican menu for an event once, and needed to finish with a cake.  Starting with a basic flourless cake recipe, I added different amounts of various spices until I finalized the recipe with this mix.  Because it is flourless, it stands well as the gluten-free dessert selection on a buffet.  It is a grown-up cake, and is good as part of a menu that requires something less sweet, that is also intriguing.

Usually I serve the cake precut into wedges, with raspberry coulis and a bowl of whipped cream alongside.   When you’re done, remember to thank the Mayans. Continue reading

Citrus Chiffon Cake with Glaze

IMG_3490Here we are in the middle of a beautiful spring.  The grass is rampant, the front field hosts a herd of deer in the evenings, and the outdoors beckons.  While walking today I heard the cries of eaglets, searched and found the large nest in the top of a nearby Douglas Fir.  On our daily hike with the dogs, we found tiny Fairyslippers in the dappled light.

We start to eat lighter foods, the grill gets cleaned up and ready for a season of easy, fresh eating.  So as we enter the season of great salads, and al fresco (in the fresh air) dining, it’s nice to know we can still enjoy baking that compliments these lighter meals.

Chiffon cake is so light, and the orange and lemon flavours in this recipe go well with the season.  Of course, they also go well with the deep dark days of winter that can use a little cheering up!  Keep it on file, and make it when you need a little something to brighten your day. Continue reading

Hot Milk Cake

If you’re going to have one cake recipe, I would suggest that it be this one.  It’s great in trifle, as a decorated slab cake, cupcakes, and layered.  I’ve even used it for a jellyroll.  It’s got just the right amount of crumb and moistness.  Found in my mom’s original Joy of Cooking, it was the first cake I ever baked, and even now, when I have baked many, many cakes, this recipe gets used the most often.  It makes a lovely unassuming cake for a tiered wedding cake, but is lovely simply split in two, spread with raspberry preserves and dusted with icing sugar. Continue reading