Tag Archives: cake

Fudgy Chocolate Cake with Dates

4 Mar

This past Christmas a good friend of ours brought us some dates back from his recent trip to Algeria.  I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I thanked him and then proceeded to hide them away at the back of my baking cupboard.  I’ve had a thing against dates that goes back to childhood.  My mother and grandmother would always sneak them into various sweets and desserts or try and get me to eat them straight-up.  It was torture.  Just the look of those dark brown sticky LARGE looking raisins really made my stomach turn.

But I’m happy to announce that at 39 years old I’ve finally matured and realised that dates aren’t all that bad actually.  I’m still not interested in eating them straight-up but can admit that added to certain dishes they can really enhance the taste and texture (including a mind-blowing Lamb and Date Tagine we ate in Morocco).


So a few weeks ago I dug in the back of my baking cupboard and got out the box of Algerian dates.  I decided I wanted to try to make a fudge chocolate cake and thought the dates could be a perfect way to intensify the flavour (and make it a little bit healthier?).  And the result was delicious.  And keeping with family tradition I did not tell my kids the secret ingredient in the chocolate cake they were so happily enjoying.

This recipe seems quite fussy with all of the different steps and bowls that have to be used but it really is quick to make and so worth it.  The addition of cinnamon with the chocolate and dates makes it a really deep and rich cake.  I’ve proclaimed my love of the chocolate and cinnamon combination here in the past when I made these Chocolate and Fresh Cherry Cakes with Cinnamon.

Read on for recipe… Continue reading


Japanese Sponge Cake (Castella Cake)

7 Aug


Here I am getting ready for a three week vacation to Canada. The bags still aren’t fully packed and the house not ready to be left for almost a month. And I’m feeling really relaxed. Did I mention we leave in an hour? I’m usually one of those people that has everything ironed and packed a week beforehand, the house spotless and in order and the kids cleaned and clothed and ready for the airplane hours before we leave the house. Did I mention the kids are still in their pajamas splayed out on the carpet reading comics as I type this? I blame it on the heat.IMG_0783

So the other day, instead of ironing clothes for five people for three week’s vacation, I decided to make a cake that I’ve been dreaming about since we were in Japan last year. It’s a typical sponge type cake that you find all over Japan and it has this soft and moist spongy consistency that is light and fluffy at the same time. Confusing I know. It’s thought that the cake actually originated in Portugal and was brought over to Japan in the 16th century (to the southern island of Kyushu).

Surprisingly enough there is no butter or oil in this cake. Which means it’s absolutely sin-free and healthy of course. It has a lovely pale yellow colour (thanks to the 6 egg yolks) and is so pretty when served on a plate with a side of peaches (which I saute in butter and brown sugar).

Read on for recipe…

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Chocolate Cherry Cakes with Cinnamon

13 Jun
Today I have a really fantastic and surprisingly quick and simple cake recipe.  Seeing as it’s full on cherry season over here I thought I’d bake something cherry inspired.
So the other day I donned my latex gloves and got to work pitting the cherries (I have a pretty serious allergy to cherries as you can read about here).  I had even considered wearing goggles but I was expecting the delivery man and just couldn’t imagine what he’d think about the already weird Canadian women once he saw me in a get-up like that.  And I’m happy to report that I got through the entire recipe with zero contact with the cherries and I didn’t end up looking like a monster as I did last year when I attempted the Cherry Lavender Jam.  My kids still have nightmares about that.
These deep chocolate cakes paired with the tartness of the cherries and the delicate spiciness of the cinnamon ended up being a really delicious combination.  I think these would be fantastic with raspberries, blackberries or even chopped peaches.  I made them in individual miniature pans but it would be just as nice baked in a large tart pan as well.

Read on for recipe… Continue reading


31 May

The other day I decided to make some of the husband’s favorite sweets, the famous Madeleine Cakes from France.  I know he is capable of sitting down with a platter of over 20 of these and devouring every single one within minutes.  It’s definitely his weakness.  That and orange flavoured Pimms.  And since I’m pretty sure I’d lose my mind trying to make those Pimms cookies I try and make these every so often for a guy that is seriously a saint.  He’s just so happy all the time and seems to make those around him happy as well.

The love of Madeleines has definitely been passed on to the next generation!


French Madeleine Cakes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.

2. In a bowl sift together all the dry ingredients.

3. With the electric mixer beat eggs and sugar together on medium speed until mixture has tripled in volume (about 5 minutes).  Then add vanilla and beat to combine.

4. Gently fold flour mixture into sugar/egg mixture with a spatula.  Be sure not to overmix!

5.  Mix a small amount of egg mixture into melted butter to lighten it.  Then fold into the sugar/egg batter in 3 additions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

6.  Spoon one tablespoon of mixture into buttered and floured madeleine pans (or even mini muffin pans).

7.  Bake in 375 F (190 C) degree oven for 11-13 minutes (or until edges begin to brown).

8.  Remove from pan and let cool.  Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

(Recipe found here on the Joy of Baking site)

Gingerbread with warm caramel sauce

5 May

Today was one of those days that I just craved something from back home.  It was a chilly and cloudy day and I was wandering around my kitchen trying to find inspiration for something to bake.  I opened up my baking cupboard and the first thing I saw was a little carton of Maritime Molasses and a tiny tin of  pumpkin pie spice.  I knew immediately what I wanted to make.

I remember througout my childhood we always went to visit Peggy’s Cove (a famous Nova Scotia tourist destination with famous lighthouse).  We always stopped at the Peggy’s Cove restaurant to have a piece of their famous Gingerbread.  

So today that’s just what I made.  It’s an easy cake to bake and the sauce whips up in minutes.  It is very moist  and rich with a tiny hint of the spicy ginger.  My kids love it and we almost managed to finish the whole cake.  Shame on us.

Click for recipe…
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Orange blossom cake with mandarine glaze

11 Mar

Today was a beautiful sunny day.  A bit on the chilly side but the smell of spring is definitely in the air.  And with that smell of spring comes the irresistable urge to clean and organise my house.

In between all this cleaning and organising I made some mini Orange Blossom Water Cakes with Mandarine Glaze.  A friend brought me the Orange Blossom Water a while ago and I’ve been really looking forward to baking with it.  I’ve never used it but have seen many Middle Eastern and Mediterrenean recipes which call for it.  It has such a pungent perfumy smell that becomes so mild when baked in these cakes.

Orange Blossom Water Cakes with Mandarine Glaze

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
small pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted)

1.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.

2. Beat eggs, lemon zest, brown sugar and white sugar until light and frothy.

3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Add buttermilk mixed with orange blossom water and melted butter.  Mix until combined.

4. Pour into buttered cake pan (or mini cake pans).  Bake in 350 degree oven (35-45 minutes for one large cake or 20-25 minutes for small cakes.

5. For glaze mix 1/4 orange juice with 1 cup powdered sugar.  You can also add a little splash of the orange blossom water and some grated mandarine peel.  Pour over cakes.


Coffee Cake (senza caffe)

23 Feb

It’s a little overcast today.  The kids are home on vacation for the settimana bianca.  My mom is visiting.  My friend brought me buttermilk from France. I had a craving for chocolate.  All of these are perfect excuses to make a good cake.  I found this recipe on the joy of baking website and I tweaked it ever so slightly (adding half sour cream and half buttermilk).  As always it’s really simple and the result so yummy.  I made the mistake of asking the kids if they want a piece of coffee cake and they all bolted while making gagging noises.  I guess they don’t understand that there’s no coffee in it.  Oh well.  All the more for us.

 And can I just talk for a second about the combination of cinnamon with chocolate?  It’s just so…harmonious together.  The cinnamon really deepens the richness of the dark chocolate I used.  It gives it a little umph if you know what I mean.  I had to google the spelling of umph. Get recipe here.

Beautiful cakes…

13 Oct

Beet Cake anyone?

9 Oct

I have fall fruits and vegetables on my mind.  And baking of course…

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