Archive for August, 2012

This cake would have been AWESOME if it hadn’t gotten ruined.

After last week’s tomato cake, I wanted to move on to peppers, since we have an abundance of those as well. I searched around and decided on a Habanero Flourless Chocolate Cake. I had never made a flourless cake before, so I read a lot of recipes before deciding on a method. After researching, I wound up combining a basic flourless chocolate cake recipe with a similar recipe that incorporated the peppers. It’s the closest I’ve come to making up a recipe, so I was nervous about whether it would work or not. In the end, it worked out pretty well…aside from a glaring technical error.

Habanero Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 8 oz good chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 habanero peppers (seeded)

1. Chop up the chocolate in a food processor, put in bowl and set aside.
2. Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks. Add salt to the whites and beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, blend 3 habaneros with 1/2 cup water. Pour this mix into a saucepan, add sugar, and bring to a boil. Note: After removing the lid of the food processor, do not take a big whiff of the mixture. It’s potent!
4. Add boiling sugar to chocolate, then add butter, then egg yolks.
5. Gently fold in egg whites, a little bit at a time, until they are all incorporated.
6. Grease the bottom of a springform pan, place parchment in the bottom, and grease the parchment. Line the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil. Pour the chocolate mix into the pan.
7. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan, and fill the pan with water until it comes halfway up the springform pan.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

Hot peppas!

Eggs in the chocolate

This cake would have come out perfectly, except for one problem. I lined the pan with foil, but didn’t go all the way up the sides with it. As a result, I believe that some water seeped inside the pan and wound up ruining the cake. I baked it for an hour, and when I finally took it out of the oven, it turned out that the whole bottom of the cake was a gooey mess.

Initially, it appeared that only the bottom half of the cake was ruined, and maybe the top half was sufficiently baked. So, I inverted the cake onto a plate, peeled the parchment off of the bottom, and began to scrape off the chocolately goo. Turns out, it wasn’t just the bottom half of the cake that was ruined—it was the whole cake. When I was finally done scooping, all that was left was the thin outer shell. WOMP WOMP.

On the plus side, the chocolate goo was DELICIOUS. The recipe itself is excellent. It’s rich and chocolatey, and at the end of each bite, you get the heat from the habanero. It tastes like a Mexican hot chocolate, only in cake form. In the end, I took some of the chocolate slop, put it in a container, and threw it in the fridge. I went back for it the next day, and I have to say—even though it’s not a cake, it still tastes pretty good! Chilling it also helped to make the goo much more dense and much less mushy.

So, I will admit, this cake was a colossal failure, but I managed to salvage a little bit of it. I will definitely give this another try in the future. Next time, I may just bake it in a regular cake pan, or I’ll triple-wrap the springform to be safe. Regardless, take the knowledge I have gained and bake this cake yourself.


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The reign of zucchinis has come to an end, but there is a new vegetable in town: tomatoes. The Burt household is currently experiencing a surge—nay—a deluge of tomatoes. Everywhere I look, there are tomatoes looking back at me. This was the scene in the kitchen this morning.

Windowsill #1.

Windowsill #2.

Every day, I come home and there seem to be more. Sometimes, Michael will have them arranged in different piles on the counter. I don’t know the meaning of the piles, and I don’t ask. I’ve learned to just go with the flow when it comes to garden vegetables. In case some of you may have forgotten, NO, we do not live on a farm.

Anyway, with the number of tomatoes in my house, there was no chance of me not making some kind of tomato dessert. However, these types of recipes are few and far between. I found a lot of tomato sorbet-type recipes, but since they don’t involve baking, I’m not very interested in them. My searches also turned up quite a few tomato soup cake recipes, which I’ve always been curious about, but I needed something that called for fresh tomatoes. Finally, I found one that seemed like it might work. This Tomato Spice Cake recipe comes from a blog called Every Day in the Garden. I adapted it a tad.

Tomato Spice Cake

  • 1 cup tomato puree (peeled and seeded) – 4 roma tomatoes got me exactly 1 cup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 5 oz walnuts (I omitted these because I didn’t feel like buying nuts)
  • 1/2 cup AP flour (to mix with the walnuts, if using)
  • 1 cup sifted AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (I omitted this because I didn’t feel like buying cardamom)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp of orange, lemon or lime zest (I used lime)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

1. Prep the tomatoes. Cut a cross into the bottom of each tomato, then place them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and place immediately into a bowl of cold water. Peel, remove the seeds, and puree the rest. Add the vinegar to the puree and set aside.

2. If you’re using nuts, mix them with 1/2 cup of flour. Sift together the remaining cup of flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Combine this with the nut mixture. OR, just combine 1 1/2 cups of flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are pale and have thickened. Whisk in brown sugar until the mixture is thick.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the eggs, alternating with the tomato puree, then add the butter.

5. Pour into springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Dry, puree, wet.

This cake ended up coming out pretty well. I only had a couple of issues. Number one: I think I was probably supposed to line the springform pan with parchment, but I did not. I greased it with butter, but that didn’t help much when I was trying to get the cake out of the pan. Luckily, I did get it out without completely destroying it. It tastes pretty good—pretty much how you would expect an average spice cake to taste. No hint of tomato whatsoever. The texture is pretty high on the “spongy” scale. I don’t know if that’s because I did something wrong, or if that’s how it is meant to come out. I will admit, I whisked the hell out of my egg/sugar mixture, but I wouldn’t say that it ever got truly “thick.” Maybe that had something to do with it? Lastly, why do all of my cakes always come out so skinny??? The cake on the other blog looks to be about twice as tall as my cake. I have this problem a lot, which is why I usually shy away from layer cakes.

Verdict: this cake is tasty and comes in handy if your goal is to get rid of some tomatoes. But, you could probably substitute in some applesauce, which would take much less time, and it would probably taste about the same.

More confections forthcoming, unless we are hit with a hostile takeover.

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Either I’m just bored from reading the Internet all afternoon, or this is absolutely hilarious. I’m leaning towards the latter. Click to enlarge.

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Chocolate zucchini cake is probably the most ubiquitous dessert that comes up when combing the internet for zucchini recipes. As such, I had a number of recipes to sift through and ultimately chose one from a blog called Mostly Foodstuffs. This one swayed me largely because it is a bundt cake, and I am relatively confident in my bundting abilities. So, on we go.

Chocolate Zucchini (Bundt) Cake

  • 3 cups grated zucchini (drained)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups veg or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these)

This recipe used a cream cheese frosting, but I made a chocolate ganache instead.

1. Whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined. In another bowl, sift flour with cocoa, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, mixing until just barely combined. Fold in the zucchini, breaking up any clumps, and the nuts. Be careful not to over-mix.

2. Pour batter into a greased, floured 9″ bundt pan, and bake 45 minutes to an hour or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert and finish cooling on a rack or plate.

3. When the cake is cool, cover with icing (or ganache).

Things looked pretty promising when it came out of the oven.

After I poured the ganache over it, it looked even better.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how it tasted. I took it to a party that night and things ended up getting a little rowdy. Instead of eating it, I wound up playing numerous rounds of beer pong. Then, I forgot to bring any home to sample. A few other people tried it and told me it was good, but unfortunately I have no personal opinion to add about this cake. If it tasted half as good as it looked, I’m sure it was okay.

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Boy, do I miss the 90’s.

Not only is this a great commercial, but it actually makes me want to go shop at the Gap!

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