The Best Chocolate Cake

Before we begin, I need to issue a disclaimer:  this chocolate cake will change your life.  Seriously.  Overall, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cake because it always seems to be too dry and lack flavor.  This cake is the exception.  The credit goes to a queen in the kitchen – Ina Garten.  Her recipe for Beatty’s Chocolate Cake is the bomb.

Ingredients

Butter, for greasing the pans if you’re making cake (cupcakes liners if you’re making cupcakes 🙂 )
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, do 1 Tbsp. white vingar in a 1 cup measuring cup, then pour in heavy cream or whole milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Give it a stir, then add it to the batter.
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee – don’t use a flavored coffee unless you want that flavor in your cake 🙂

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans, or line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Sometimes I find it’s easier to stir the coffee in by hand.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes or cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.  Let the cupcakes cool for ten minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost your cake or cupcakes as desired, or just eat them plain.  They are THAT good!  Here are the cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting that I made for my brother’s birthday last year.  Yum.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 

Oreo Truffles

If you’re a fan of baking, you’ve probably seen these all over the internet.  There are SO many versions of these that you can do, but they all come back to one basic recipe that you can toy around with to suit your mood.  Mine is based off of this one, with just one small change 🙂

Ingredients

36 Oreo cookies (any flavor!)
1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
Candy melts (any color/flavor) or almond bark, melted
Sprinkles, crushed Oreos, crushed peppermint, or whatever else you’d like to decorate your truffles with (optional)

Directions

Crush the Oreos until fine in your food processor.  Pour them into a bowl, then add your softened cream cheese and mix until well combined.  I found that using your hands is the easiest way to do this.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls – a 1 T cookie scoop is perfect for this.  Place them on a cookie sheet covered in parchment or wax paper, then pop them in the freezer.  This will help the chocolate to set more quickly and will make your life easier.

Melt your candy melts/almond bark until smooth, then bring your truffles out of the freezer and coat them.  Sprinkle any decorations you’d like on them.  Now, put them in the refrigerator until firm (it won’t take long), then enjoy!  Also, be sure to store these in the fridge as you don’t want the cream cheese to spoil.

FYI, these are amazing with peppermint/mint Oreos and crushed candy canes on top. 🙂

oreo truffles

Thin Mint Brownies

You guys.  These brownies.  After I cut them I’m pretty sure I ate five.  They are so. stinkin’. good.  (Thank you, Six Sisters’ Stuff, for sharing these with the world!)  Since they’re minty and green (and, oddly, mint green 😉 ) they’re perfect for any St. Patrick’s Day festivities you may have on your calendar.  Don’t be put off by the multiple steps – they are super easy and totally worth the effort!  I can only imagine the other flavor possibilities that come with this recipe.

Ingredients

Brownies
1 1/2 cups melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted

Mint Frosting Layer
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract – I used a little less as some people aren’t huge mint fans in my house – the crazies 😉
Green food coloring

Chocolate Layer
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, or whatever combo you like!  I added in some of the Dark Chocolate & Mint Chips Nestle puts out at Christmas that I had leftover in my freezer 🙂
3/4 cup butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Now, make the brownie base:  whisk together the melted butter and cocoa.  Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Mix well, then using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour by hand until just combined.  Don’t over mix.  Spread the mixture in a greased 12×17″ cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool, then put in the freezer for 20 minutes.

While the brownies are in the freezer, make the mint frosting.  Beat the butter until smooth, then add the powdered sugar and milk, alternating between 1 cup of powdered sugar, then 1 Tbsp. of milk.  Once all of the powdered sugar and milk is in, add the peppermint extract.  Finally, add the food coloring if you like.  Spread the frosting on the brownie layer after it has had its 20 minutes in the freezer.  Once it’s spread in an even layer, place the pan back in the freezer for another 20 minutes.

Now, melt the chocolate chips and butter, either in the microwave or in a double boiler.  When the brownie and mint layer is ready, pour the chocolate layer on top and spread evenly.  Finally, place the tray back in the freezer for a final 20 minutes to set.

Once that 20 minutes is over, pull the brownies out, let them hang out for a few minutes, then cut them however you like.  Squares, triangles, anything.  And enjoy!

Thin Mint Brownies

Thin Mint Brownies - Triangles