BWD: Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

I was very excited to pick today’s Baking with Dorie recipe for Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes.  I am a big fan of chocolate cake, and mini desserts, so this was perfect for me!  Thankfully I was feeling well enough today to tackle this recipe and make a big batch of homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs.  Quite the productive day for a change!

We had one of my very best friends and her daughter over for dinner tonight to enjoy the spaghetti and the mini bundts.  Dinner of course was comical with a 2-year old and 6-year old chowing down on pasta and cracking each other up.  When it was time for dessert, the kids opted for yogurt, so that left the cakes for us adults!  So while the kiddos chased each other in circles around my house, we sat in the dining room enjoying these divine little cakes.  Rather than make the chocolate glaze for the cakes, I topped mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberries.  YUM!  We all especially loved the nuts that are baked in the middle of the cakes.  These were a hit with the husband, my friend, and even my picky-as-of-late palate.  I would definitely make these again…they are so cute, and so delicious!

Check out the Baking with Dorie blogroll to see how the other fabulous bakers did with these cakes.  Thanks everyone for baking along with me!  You can find this recipe on pages 188-189 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, or keep scrolling down.  The recipe for September 13th are the Chocolate Chunkers on pages 70-71.  Can’t wait for those…they look amazing!

Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

For the swirl:

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp sugar

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
7 ounces premium-quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled

For the glaze:

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Getting Ready:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 6-mold mini Bundt pan.

To Make the Swirl:  Toss the nuts, cocoa, and sugar together in a small bowl.

To Make the Cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more, then beat in the vanilla.  Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled – it will smooth out soon.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until incorporated.  Add the milk, and when it is blended into the batter, add the remaining flour mixture, again mixing just to incorporate.  Finally, add the melted chocolate and mix to blend.

Fill each of the mini Bundt molds with a little batter, then divide the swirl ingredients evenly among the molds and top off the Bundts with the remaining batter.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the cakes to rest for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the rack and let them cool to room temperature.

To Make the Glaze:  Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water on or in the microwave oven (which I think is more convenient for such a small quantity of chocolate).  Stir in the corn syrup.  Using a small offset spatula or a table knife, spread the shiny glaze over the tops of the Bundts, then scatter the nuts, if you’re using them, over the glaze.  Let the glaze set at room temperature; it will take about 15 minutes.


Red Wine Balsamic Grilled Chicken

We are always looking for new and delicious ways to prepare grilled chicken.  Normally I grab a packet of marinade mix, marinate the chicken, and the husband slaps it on the grill.  I read the ingredients on the back of one of those packets a few weeks ago and was horrified.  I am now trying to make all of my marinades from scratch, and was very excited to stumble across this recipe.  It’s been on my menu plan almost every week for awhile now, but I’ve never gotten a chance to make it.  Let me tell you, this was great!  The marinade goes together so quickly, add adds so much flavor and moisture to the chicken.  You can whip this up in a few minutes in the morning before work, and just throw it on the grill when you get home.  Unfortunately for us, our grill ran out of gas as soon as the husband turned it on, so I did end up pan frying these, and they were still great.  We will definitely be making these again soon…hopefully on the grill!  I served this with this Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf…YUM!

Red Wine Balsamic Grilled Chicken

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 3 lbs
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
Juice of 1/2 a sweet lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried mined onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

-Pound chicken breasts down to uniform thickness throughout (about 1-inch thickness throughout)
-Place in large, deep dish and top with remaining ingredients.
-With tongs, flip chicken and move around to coat evenly.
-Cover and place in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
-When ready to cook, remove chicken from fridge and place on sideboard to remove chill while starting grill.
-Preheat gas grill on high for 10 full minutes.
-Clear grates, turn heat to medium-low and place chicken on grates n a diagonal.
-Cover and cook untouched until nice grill marks form, about 5 minutes.
-Flip and continue cooking until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
-Flip one more time, on opposite diagonal, 2 minutes before cooking is complete to obtain grill cross-marks, if desired.
-Remove from heat and let meat rest, covered, on cutting board for 3-5 mins before cutting and serving.

Source: Good Things Catered

BWD: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

Today’s Baking with Dorie recipe for Brown Sugar Bundt Cake was chosen by Chaya of Chaya’s Comfy Cook Blog.  Check out her blog for the recipe for this cake, or you can find it on page 179 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

For as much as I enjoy cake decorating, I do not enjoy frosting at all as it is way too sweet for me.  I’m the girl who always asks for the middle piece of the cake to avoid the frosting.  So, I was really excited about this frostingless cake!  And, as is normal with Dorie’s recipes, I absolutely loved it!  The recipe as written called for pears and prunes, but since the husband and I are not fans of either, I substituted apples and raisins.  This was very simple to throw together…the most tedious part was cutting up the apples.  The cake was so moist and the brown sugar flavor is divine.  I will most certainly make this again!

This is the second recipe I’ve made with Chaya in the last several days (she also chose the Sloppy Joes recipe I made last week), and once again, she chose a winner!  To see how the other BWD bakers did with this, check out the blogroll.  In two weeks, we’ll be making the Milk Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes, which was chosen by yours truly!  I cannot wait to try it!

CEiMB: Sloppy Joes

This week’s Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe for Sloppy Joes was chosen by Chaya of Chaya’s Comfy Cooking.  Check out her blog to see what she did with this recipe, and many other great recipes!  Chaya and I are in several blogging groups together, and always has great tips and plenty of encouragement. 

I have never really had homemade sloppy joes.  I’ve always been a Manwich kind of girl.  Since the husband is not a Manwich fan, and really doesn’t care for sloppy joes in general, I never make them unless he is out of town.  I showed this recipe to the husband, and he said he would give it a try.  Let me tell you…these were fantastic!  The husband ate 2 sandwiches on Tuesday night, and ate three more on Wednesday night!  Even the toddler enjoyed these.  I’d say we hit a homerun with this one.  I put the the red bell pepper in there despite my hatred of peppers, and I really didn’t notice it in there.  Great way to sneak in some veggies without really tasting them.  I did omit the jalapeno since I didn’t have one, and used chili powder in its place.  Thanks, Chaya, for picking such a great recipe this week!  This will definitely make our dinner rotation, especially since the whole thing took less than 20 minutes!  Check out the CEiMB blog to see how the other members did this week.  Next week’s recipe is for Salmon Cakes with Ginger-Sesame Sauce.  I won’t be making this one as we’re not big fans of salmon or ginger.  I will do a rewind recipe and try something out that the group made before I joined!

Sloppy Joes

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 red pepper, diced
1 can black beans, preferably low sodium, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whole-wheat burger buns

Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Source:  Adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Kreiger, page 90

SMS: Chocolate Strawberry Truffle Torte

I am very excited to be hosting this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe for the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte!  I joined this great group a few months ago, when they were already almost halfway through the book.  I missed out on some great recipes, but was so excited to see this one hadn’t been made yet.  As soon as it was my turn to choose a recipe, I knew this is the one I would pick.  I love chocolate.  I love raspberries.  I love chocolate and raspberries together.  This just HAD to be good! 

However, my attempt for chocolate raspberry goodness was thwarted this morning.  I bought my raspberries yesterday evening to ready myself to get started this morning.  I opened my raspberries and found mold on almost every single one.  At least I bought two containers, certainly BOTH couldn’t be moldy.  But the second one was too.  I admit I cried (damn pregnancy hormones).  Then, I remembered my other favorite chocolate/fruit combination…chocolate covered strawberries!!  And we had strawberries in the house (we always have them…the toddler could eat an entire container in one sitting!).  I did cut this recipe in half as I wasn’t sure the husband would enjoy this, and I’m not feeling all that great lately (damn pregnancy hormones!) and made it in my adorable 4″ springform pan.  Overall, this is a simple recipe to throw together.  Melt chocolate and butter together, whip the heck out of some eggs, mix it all up, add strawberries in the middle, bake, and refrigerate!  The only other substitution I made was to use 1/2 tsp of orange extract for the rum…I thought we had rum in the house, but sadly, we did not.

The final result?  YUM!  This is very, very chocolatey, but very, very delicious.  As I expected, the husband wasn’t a huge fan (he’s more of a milk or white chocolate kind of guy), but that’s okay, more for me!  It really did taste like a chocolate covered strawberry.  Yummy.  I kind of laughed at my pictures though…doesn’t it look like a hamburger cooked to medium-ish?  You must try this!  I posted the recipe below, but you can also find it on pages 206-207 of Melissa Murphy’s fabulous The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  Melissa does suggest serving this with her Raspberry Sauce (on page 176) for some extra indulgence.  I did not make the sauce, but will post the recipe for that one as well.  Don’t forget to check out how the other bakers did this week!  Thanks for baking with me this week!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte 

8 ounces best-quality bittersweet (64-68%) chocolate
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp rum (I used 1 tsp orange extract)
3 large eggs
1/2 dry pint fresh raspberries (I used strawberries)
1 Tbsp best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, for sprinkling


Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Turn an 8-inch springform pan upside down and cover the bottom and sides with aluminum foil.  The foil should come up at least 2 inches on all sides, so the water from the water bath will not leak through.  Lightly butter the inside bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Line the bottom with an 8-inch round of parchment paper.

  1. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering, not boiling, water, gently melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth.  Heat until it is just melted; don’t let it get too hot.  When the chocolate is fully melted, stir in the rum.
  2. In an electric mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering, not boiling, water, heat the eggs while stirring unti just warm to the touch.  Remove from the heat. 
  3. In the electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs until tripled in volume, or when they reach soft peaks.
  4. Fold half of the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated.  Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended but with no streaks remaining.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the prepared springform pan.  Scatter the fresh raspberries evenly over the batter, and then pour the remaining batter over the berries.  Smooth with a spatula.
  6. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it.  Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake uncovered for 5 minutes.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil or an upside-down cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes more.  Remove to a wire rack, uncover the pan, and cool in the water bath for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the pan from the water bath.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 1/2 hours.
  8. Using a sharp knife, carefully loosen the cake from the edges of the pan.  Release the springform ring to unmold the cake.  To release the bottom, invert the cake onto a flat plate lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and remove the bottom and the parchment round.  Turn the cake right side up onto a serving plate and dust with sifted cocoa powder.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

Slice with a hot knife and serve.  The torte keeps tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Raspberry Sauce

2 (12-ounce) packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, or 2 1/2 dry pints fresh
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice until it comes to a simmer.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool briefly.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender, pulse the raspberry mixture until smooth.   Strain the mixture into a resealable conatiner and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Raspberry sauce will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.  Shake well before serving.

CEiMB: Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach

I love shrimp, pasta, and spicy food, so when it was my turn to choose a recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly, I knew exactly what to pick – Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach.  Fra Diavolo is, essentially, a spicy tomato sauce, which is right up our alley!  This recipe is a cinch to throw together on a busy weeknight…the longest part was letting the sauce simmer for 8-10 minutes.  We really enjoyed this!  I did overcook the shrimp a bit , so it was kind of rubbery.  We’re not big fans of spinach, so I was hesitant to add it to the sauce, but decided to stay true to the recipe and give it a shot.  I really couldn’t taste it much at all, and we got the added benefits of having it in the sauce.  I would like to try this again with chicken instead of shrimp to see how that tastes.  Thanks, Ellie, for another great healthy, fast, and delicious meal!

I posted the recipe with my adaptations below.  You can find the original recipe on page 162 of Ellie Krieger’s So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.  Thanks to all of the CEiMB members who cooked along with me this week…I hope you all enjoyed this as much as we did!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach

3/4 pound Ronzoni Smart Taste angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp 4S seasoning salt from Penzey’s
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (3 ounces), coarsely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente and according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softenend, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the shrimp and spinach and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add the drained cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well until combined.

BWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sorry for posting this a day late…things have been VERY crazy here at The Rookie Baker house for the last week or so.  We’re finally settling down and I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen!

This week’s Baking with Dorie recipe was for Blueberry Crumb Cake and was chosen by Tina at My Domestic Bliss.  Check out her post for the recipe and some great pictures of this cake!  You can also find the recipe on pages 192-193 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Every Tuesday, my firm has a cookout where the company provides the main dish, and then we sign up to bring an appetizer, dessert, or side dish.  I almost always sign up for dessert because, well, I love dessert!  I normally go with a tried and true recipe, but decided to go out on a limb this week and bring this cake.  I finished baking it at 11:30 last night, and really wanted to start eating it right away!  It looked so delicious right out of the oven.

This cake was a huge hit at work, and at home!  It was bursting with blueberries, and the crumb topping really took this over the edge.  I will definitely be making this again!

To see what the other bakers did with this recipe, you can check out the blogroll here.  Our August 16th recipe is for Brown Sugar Bundt Cake…YUM!