Classic yogurt cake

I’m pretty sure that yogurt cake was the very first dessert that Jérôme ever made for me. It’s almost more of a snack cake than a dessert and is as simple as it gets – even the measurements are done in terms of your yogurt container! It’s definitely the first recipe that French kids learn to make with their parents or grandparents, and rightfully so: it’s quick and easy to make, it’s moist and fluffy every time, and it’s perfect for a small sugar craving after dinner or for a quick breakfast. It’s been a long time since we made one, but recently I was in need of something sweet and found myself without any chocolate in the house, and a fridge full of yogurt. I stirred up the batter in about two minutes flat, and 25 minutes later was rewarded with the crisp and browned-outside and moist and fluffy and slightly tangy-inside of this great dessert. Continue reading

Chocolate coconut milk cake

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Poor Jérôme is always being subjected to my endless food experimentations. I obviously do have dishes that I make time and time again, when I don’t feel like thinking too much or over-exerting myself in the kitchen. That being said, there is so much out there to discover and I have so many recipes ready to be tested in my Evernote, that I have a hard time making the same things all the time. In the beginning of our relationship, I couldn’t get over his French chocolate cake. More of a brownie, it was rich and simple and amazing. I still love it, but when he wanted to make one a few weeks ago with out one remaining bar of baking chocolate, I couldn’t help but scan my recipe list to make sure there wasn’t something better, newer, more interesting. I found this chocolate coconut milk cake, and once Jérôme was on board, I was in the kitchen making it. Continue reading

Plum and hazelnut cake

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I recently found myself with way too many plums in my kitchen. This happens a lot, because while I want to love fruit, I just don’t. I buy it hoping that I’ll actually eat it for breakfast but knowing that I’ll most likely choose toast with salted butter and speculoos spread any day of the week. I’d already used some plums the week before to make a delicious chutney and was craving something sweeter. I scanned my evernote and found the perfect recipe immediately. Brown sugar. Hazelnuts. Plums! Continue reading

Nutella, rum and hazelnut cake with boozy ganache and cream cheese frosting

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The best thing about loving to bake, cook and generally be in the kitchen? Getting to handpick and carefully concoct your very own birthday cake. I knew that chocolate would be involved. I also had some Philadelphia that needed using, but didn’t feel like a cheesecake. Cream cheese frosting it was. I also had some leftover chocolate ganache from macarons I’d made about a week earlier. Double frosting, I had no choice. I scoured my Evernote and finally decided on Bake or Break’s chocolate hazelnut cake, with a few adaptations. Continue reading

Red wine chocolate cake with whipped marscapone

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I love experimenting. I will admit to spending an ungodly amount of time each week skimming over recipes on the web, either in my reader, on various recipe sites or in my Epicurious app. Everytime I come across a recipe that seems worthy of my time, I send it to my Evernote and archive it for later. Some recipes have been waiting patiently for years and still haven’t been tested, while others are made the same day. I remember around the holidays seeing lots of recipes for fancy sounding chocolate combinations of brownies made with champagne, and I believe it was around this time that I came across the Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe for red wine chocolate cake. Continue reading

Olive oil, almond and blood orange cake with brown butter glaze

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So, I never used to think I liked olives. I guess the only exposure I’d ever had was the overly salty, pre-packaged kind that comes on top of pizza in America. When I came to France and went to the South for the first time to pay a visit to my friend, I was shocked at how different real, fresh, well-seasoned olives could be. We’d go to the marché and buy grams and grams of them, trying several different flavors and licking our fingers after each squishy, fragrant bite. Turns out, I have a penchant for green olives, usually marinated in a mixture of garlic, oil and basil.

And speaking of oil… who knew good olive oil could make such a huge difference in my cooking? I don’t think I even bought my first bottle of olive oil until I moved here. Granted, I didn’t do much cooking before coming to France, but when I did, it almost always consisted of vegetable oil if I needed any at all. I can’t imagine making a vinaigrette with generic oil, or marinating my steaks with anything other than delicious, rich olive oil. It just gives a unique earthy taste to whatever it touches.

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Chocolate and dark beer “stout” cake with pear cider-infused cream cheese frosting

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I know my better half pretty well, so when he had a craving for chocolate cake, I knew I could easily pull the old switcharoo, replacing his classic French cake, chocked full of melted dark chocolate and butter, with a new, boozier version. Because while food is my péché mignon*, alcohol is definitely his. Plus, what self-respecting adult wouldn’t be overly excited about a chocolate cake that involves strong, earthy dark beer? Add cream cheese and fermented pear cider-infused frosting, and you’ve got the equivalent of adding sprinkles and chocolate syrup to a five-year-old. Continue reading