Archive for the 'Chocolate' Category

Luau 1st Birthday Party!

Grace Cake 1I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?”  He replied, “maybe two?”.  Ha!  He is so optimistic!  I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”.  We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other.  We both turned to each other and just laughed.

Ella Cake 1This past weekend Ella & Grace turned 1 year old.  For those of you that don’t know who Ella and Grace are, they are two little girls, one of which I watch on a weekly basis and the other one I casually sit for here and there.  Their mom’s asked if I would be willing to cater their joint 1 year birthday bash.  How could I say no? The theme for the party: Luau!

Cupcake tower

It was one crazy, fun filled weekend!  I started last week by baking the cupcakes and smash cakes on Tuesday, made the fillings and butter cream on Wednesday, grocery shopped and prepped the food on Thursday, then cooked all day Friday! The party, complete with food and cake covered babies, was a hit!

Ella Cake 2On Friday night, Kevin and I delivered all of the food to Grace’s house to keep in the fridge until Saturday since mine was to be packed with cupcakes and two smash cakes.  We then went downtown Charleston and enjoyed walking around in the nice warm evening weather.  We stopped by a new frozen yogurt shop and each enjoyed a small treat.  It was a nice date. 🙂

Devils Food CupcakesSaturday morning we woke up early, enjoyed a nice breakfast of waffles on our front porch and immediately set our mode’s into high gear for the party.    By the time I finished icing all of the cupcakes and decorating the smash cakes I felt like I had absorbed so much butter and sugar just through my skin and I had not had one single bite!  We showered, dressed in our “Luau” appropriate clothes and loaded up the car.

Beach CupcakesKevin had made a special “carrier” for my ice cream cone cupcakes since they don’t fit securely in a cupcake carrier or in muffin tins.  Little did I know that in order for his contraption to work, I had to keep it pulled tight….it was constructed of aluminum foil, cardboard, and duct tape.  (Gotta love it!)  So I put the ice cream cone cupcakes in the cooler thinking that they would be fine in this contraption and make the trip.  There was only a dozen of them… why wouldn’t they make the 15 minute drive?  Hmmm….what do you think?


For those of you that don’t know, we drive a Jeep.  Yeah, a freakin’ Jeep!  Definition of “Jeep”:  a vehicle that finds every damn bump in the road, shakes on a smooth road, and is pointless to even turn on the A/C’.  Oh, and to make matters worse, we are undergoing MAJOR construction in Charleston right now so our roads are crappy.

Margarita Cupcakes

About a mile away from Grace & Ella’s party, I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?”  He replied, “maybe two?”.  Ha!  He is so optimistic!  I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”.  We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other.  We both turned to each other and just laughed. Note to self, bring the butter cream in a pastry bag and ice any future ice cream cone cupcakes at the destination!

Ice Cream Cakes(I tried to fix them the best I could with no extra icing to work with. 🙂 )

Grace Cake 2All of the other cupcakes, food, and the two smash cakes made it perfectly.  In the end all that mattered were that the smash cakes arrived untouched, which they did since I held them the whole way.  The party turned out better than I had planned and everyone had a great time!  The girls definitely enjoyed their cakes.  I wish I could say that I don’t want to see  butter cream for a very long time, but considering I deal with it on a weekly basis, I doubt that is going to be possible.

Dessert Table

The food menu:

Pulled Pork Barbecue served with homemade sauce, corn muffins, and buns

Slow-cooked Baked Beans

Horseradish Potato Salad


Broccoli Salad

Pico de gallo, guacamole and chips

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The cupcake menu: (All butter cream was European butter cream)

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (recipe can be found here)

Margarita with lime frosting

Devil’s Food with chocolate ganache and vanilla butter cream

Vanilla bean cake with vanilla butter cream

Ice cream cone cupcakes with devils food cake and vanilla butter cream

Smash Cakes:

Grace’s cake was strawberry banana with vanilla butter cream

Ella’s cake was blueberry with vanilla butter cream


Sea Shells– made using a plastic mold purchased from Michaels and melted Baker’s brand white chocolate bars

Sand dollars– made by rolling gum paste to 1/4″ thick, cutting with round cutter, and hand drawing the design

Hibiscus flowers, fish, and Sign– made by coloring and molding gum paste into desired shapes.

Sand- graham cracker crumbs

Vanilla Cake

Yield: Three 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet or 24 cupcakes


2 cups cake flour

1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons All-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup butter, unsalted

3 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I added 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in addition)

1 cup egg whites or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form

1 1 /2 cups milk


Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray nonstick cake pans, muffin tins, or sheet pan with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, all purpose flour, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the salt and vanilla.

Set the mixer to low speed and gradually add the egg whites, scraping often.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in two batches, starting with the flour.  Scrape down the bowl between each addition and beat until thoroughly combined.  Set the mixer to medium high speed for about 20 seconds then stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans or muffin tins.  For 9″ cake pans, bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cupcakes take 20 -25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.

Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes until flipping out of pan.  Cool completely before icing.


To make the margarita cake, add 1 tablespoon of key lime juice to batter and zest 1 key lime.  Omit the vanilla bean paste.

To make the strawberry banana cake, fold in 1 smashed banana and 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries to finished batter before dividing into pans.

To make blueberry cake, fold in 1 cup of pureed and strained blueberries to finished batter.

Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

Yield: Three- 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet, or 24 cupcakes


2 2/3 cups All-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup strong coffee


Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray pans to be used with non stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping between each addition.

Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl after each addition.

Gradually pour in the coffee.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans.  For 9″ cake, bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 20-25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.

Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes before flipping out of pans.  Cool completely before icing.

Recipes adapted from: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Strauss

European Butter Cream

Yield: enough to frost 24 cupcakes


22 ounces granulated sugar

9 ounces egg whites, or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form

20 ounces unsalted European butter, cut into small chunks, half cold half room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons vanilla powder


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla powder.  Whisk together over a pot of boiling water, whisking constantly until mixture is heated to 120 degrees and the sugar crystals have completely dissolved.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer and fit with whip attachment.

Whip the egg white sugar mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form and the bowl cools down.

Once stiff peaks have formed, set mixer to low speed and slowly add in your butter 5 ounces at a time.  Once you have added all of your butter set your mixer to medium high speed and continue to whip meringue/ butter mixture until the mixture has emulsified together and has achieved a smooth creamy texture.

If your butter cream is too warm, your mixture may become too liquid.  If this happens, simply refrigerate your mixture for 10 minutes, then try re-whipping again.  It may come together some days and others take a while depending on the temperature of your kitchen and humidity.


To make margarita frosting, add 1 teaspoon of lime juice to every 1 cup of European butter cream. Use green sanding sugar to “rim”cupcakes.

Source: Feast on this! original

Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 2-3 cups

1 cup heavy cream

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon light corn syrup


Place chocolate in a glass or metal bowl.  Set aside.

Scald cream in microwave safe bowl or in a saucepan over medium high heat on the stove.

Gently pour over chocolate and let set for 1 minute.

Whisk together chocolate and heavy cream until smooth and uniform in consistency.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the set up chocolate cream mixture.  It will have a very thick consistency similar to that of truffles.

Mix on medium speed until mixture begins to soften.  Add in 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup to help soften and smooth the mixture.  You may need to add more to get your desired consistency for icing cupcakes.

Pipe or smooth onto cakes or cupcakes.

Source: Feast on this! original recipe


Chocolate Intensity Multiplied

chocolate-intensity-21This past Tuesday was my friend Jodi’s birthday.  I knew I wanted to make something special for her but wasn’t sure what to make.  Cheesecake? Cake cake? Cookies? Cupcakes?  Ah, so many choices.  When I asked Jodi to name her favorite dessert she was speechless.  I mean, if someone asked you to name your favorite dessert you would probably freeze too!  So many decisions.   Mine, however, is a toss up between hazelnut tiramisu and dark chocolate.   She did mention that she loved molten chocolate lava cakes as well as anything else that was chocolate…any kind of chocolate…and that she was not allergic to anything.  Sweet!  This left me total freedom.


I set out to search for a new recipe.  While I knew of many tried and true, delicious desserts, I was having the hardest time deciding on one.  First I was going to make a chocolate bourbon pecan cheesecake.  Then I decided that I wanted to make a layer cake and decorate it.  Ok, scratch that.  What about take mini lava cakes to her house and baking them on the spot?  Too messy.  So after reading many cookbooks and cake books, I decided upon this recipe.  Chocolate Intensity.  Yes it lives up to the name.  Here is where my problem begins.  I can’t leave a recipe alone. Nor can I ever make a recipe EXACTLY as the recipe states.  I ALWAYS change something no matter what I make.  Don’t ask me why, I just do.


This chocolate intensity cake is now multiplied because it is THAT intense.  While most chocoholics would probably say that they could eat an entire cake, I beg to differ.  I AM a chocoholic and after just a few bites of this rich cake I am satisfied.  It is rich and dense but not sickening sweet.  It is creamy and smooth almost like a chocolate cheesecake, but it is not.  Definitely add the bourbon to the ganache.  Just trust me it is that good. This cake is also best served right from the refrigerator with a glass of ice cold milk.  With the addition of toasted pecans and golden caramel in the ganache this makes for one sexy cake.


While this cake is definitely perfect to save for a special occasion, it is also too good to wait to make.  Make it as soon as you can.  This is that cake that will have people talking and asking for the recipe…or maybe just moaning with ecstasy!

Chocolate Intensity Cake

Makes one 9″ cake
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, preferably softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brewed coffee (I used hot water and espresso powder)
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350º F
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment.

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat combine butter, sugar and coffee until the butter has melted and the mixture is boiling. Turn off heat.  Gently pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Add in the vanilla and salt.  Stir.  Slowly temper 1/2 cup of hot chocolate mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.  Tempering gradually will prevent from scrambling your eggs.

Strain the chocolate batter through a fine wire mesh sieve then pour batter into prepared pan. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Bourbon Ganache

makes enough to cover one 9″ cake
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp bourbon


Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the bourbon. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:

Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.

Refrigerate the cake before adding the topping.


Chocolate Caramel Bourbon Pecan Topping
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
6 ounces heavy whipping cream
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup MEC3 caramel topping, or any other caramel topping
2 ounces bourbon
Combine chocolate in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
In either a saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave safe bowl, heat cream to a boil.  Pour cream over chocolate and let stand 1 minute.  Whisk together chocolate and cream until mixture is combined.  Whisk in caramel topping and bourbon until blended.  Fold in chopped, toasted pecans.
Gently pour mixture on top of chilled cake.  Spread out topping as desired.
Refrigerate cake at least 2 hours before serving. Slice with a hot knife for “clean” edged pieces.
Cake and ganache source: The Cake Book
Chocolate Caramel Bourbon Pecan Topping Source: Original Recipe

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

chocolate-ganache-cupcake-3Happy Friday the 13th!  Today Kevin’s office is having a potluck lunch.  Every time they have ANY sort of food related function whether they are celebrating a birthday, a promotion, or a retirement, they all turn to Kevin for dessert.  No, he can’t bake…well he could if all of the ingredients and recipe were laid out in front of him, but anyway… I have been known as “Miss Mia” from day one of us dating and me sending in sweets to his office.  I don’t know why the guys in his office use “Miss Mia”, considering I acquired that name through Kevin helping out with boy scouts, but it works.  So they always turn to Kevin for dessert and ask what marvelous thing “Miss Mia” could send in.  This gets my gears turning and I try to come up with the most creative flavors or dessert I can think of at the time. While I am famous for my cheesecakes, I certainly can’t send them into the office every week.  That would get expensive!

Today, Friday, the office gets chocolate ganache cupcakes…or Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache and vanilla frosting…or Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate cupcakes with creme de menthe spiked chocolate ganache and Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Butter cream (well, frosting in my opinion).  Oh, and green frosting too since St. Patty’s Day is next week!


I can’t even give you one word to describe these cupcakes.  They are just that good. I had one last night at 10:30 after I finished icing them with the green frosting.  Oh my! SO scrumptious!  The cake itself is super light and fluffy.  The ganache is extremely creamy with a very nice light mint flavor and the frosting is like silk.  Normally I am not a fan of “American” butter cream or confectioner’s sugar and butter frosting, but this batch is so smooth and has the consistency of marshmallow fluff.  Delicious!

(Oh…check out the difference that lighting makes in your pictures.  The pictures above were taken with natural light this morning, while the picture right above the vanilla butter cream recipe were taken super early this morning in my kitchen lighting.  What a difference in shades of green!)

Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate Cake with creme de menthe chocolate ganache and Magnolia Bakery Butter Cream

serves 24


2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup strong black coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners.  Set aside.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat at medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter into cupcake liners filling 2/3 way full.

Bake 12- 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Source: Hershey’s Kitchens

Creme de menthe chocolate ganache

makes enough to top 24 cupcakes


6 ounces heavy whipping cream

8 ounces Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup creme de menthe


Scald heavy cream in microwave or on stove top.  Pour hot cream over chocolate chips.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt from the heat of the cream.  Whisk mixture together until just combined.  Add creme de menthe and continue to whisk until blended and uniform in consistency.

Let ganache sit on the counter for 10 minutes before topping cooled cupcakes.

When ganache is cooled, lightly spoon a few teaspoons of ganache on top of cupcake, spreading over the entire top of the cupcake.  Let ganache set until “tacky” before icing with butter cream.

Source: Original Recipe


Vanilla Butter Cream

makes enough for one 2-layer 9 inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6-8 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.  Fitted with the whip attachment on medium speed, beat until smooth and cream, about 3-5 minutes.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.  You may not need to add all of the sugar.  If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Use and store the icing at room temperature because the icing will set if chilled.  Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: More from Magnolia

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

chocolate-almond-biscotti22This past week I was leafing through recipes and stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s chocolate biscotti.  The pictures looked so amazing, I was practically drooling.  I loved this recipe because it did not require butter and therefore cut out a lot of calories.  Flavor was not sacrificed by doing this either.  Because of the addition of roasted almonds with almond and vanilla extract these little biscottis were bursting with flavor.  Dip them in dark chocolate for an extra treat.  They definitely satisfy the cookie and chocolate craving.

I enjoyed a few biscotti slices that were not baked twice while I cut the second log.  They were so delicious and had a nice crunch like a harder cookie but not as hard as a biscotti.  Yum!  The batch I made also yielded a different amount than in the original recipe.  It could be the way that I cut them or shaped them.  Whatever reason, they were still yummy. I also made my biscotti in the food processor.  I thought that this was MUCH easier than having to use the mixer, but that is personal preference.

Biscotti Dough

makes: 40-50

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped (I used roasted almonds)
3/4 cups chocolate chips


1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar

2 c. dark chocolate, if desired for dipping or drizzlingchocolate-almond-biscotti


In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment add in 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts.  Mix until smooth.

Gradually pulse in the dry ingredients, then flip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Fold in the nuts and the chocolate chips by hand until the dough holds together.  Take care not to fold in any extra flour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.

Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. Sprinkle the tops with the coarse sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.  I started checking my dough logs after 20 minutes and removed them when the tops began to crack and the dough was firm.

Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Dip or drizzle in dark chocolate if desired.

Source: David Lebovitz

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake


Rewind to the week before Thanksgiving.  My in-laws were heading to New York City to see their daughter Katy and my mother- in- law, Linda, thought we should do a “goodie” exchange along their way.  You see, they live in Florida and we live in Charleston, SC and are therefore a stop on their way via Amtrak.    This was the perfect opportunity to try out some new recipes as well as baking up some tried and true.  I spent all day that Friday preparing for our meetup.  I made two goodie bags each containing almond biscotti, gingersnaps, treasure cookies, and chocolate chip crumb cake, as well as a few old favorites.  Their train was to come through Charleston around 9:40 pm.  Kevin arrived home at 8:30 pm from work, had a snack, and we waited until it was time to leave.  We hopped in the car and arrived at the train station only to discover that a train was already there.  Oh, crap!  The train was early and we were both worried that we would miss them and therefore would be stuck with all of the baked goods that were made.  Kevin & I parked the car and raced into the station, finding Linda as well as my father- in-law, Rich nervously waiting.  In the end we were able to exchange hugs, goodie bags, and a few good laughs before the train pulled away from the station.


This chocolate chip crumb cake that I found in both Annie’s as well as the Brown Eyed Baker’s blog was a total hit!  I baked mine for about 20 minutes longer than the recipe suggested because my toothipick would not come out clean and the center was still a bit jiggly.  When I finally cut into the bread the center was still not done, but the result was a thick caramel inside.  It was SO good!

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

For the crumb topping:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 ½ cups cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tbsp. orange zest (optional) I did not add this.
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the topping after it is baked:
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips
confectioners’ sugar

Method of Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two loaf pans with foil & spray with non stick baking spray.  Set aside.

To make the topping, thoroughly mix the flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Drop in chunks of butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it reduces to the size of peas. Sprinkle vanilla extract over the top, and knead into the mixture using your fingertips, until moist, clumpy lumps form. Be careful not to overmix.

To make the batter, sift the plain flour, cake flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredient mixture. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for 3 minutes. Beat in orange zest, if using.(Again, I did not add this.) Mix in sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract. Alternately add in the dry ingredient mixture in 3 additions with the buttermilk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to ensure that the batter is properly mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans. Spread evenly and smooth the top with spatula. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake batter, making sure that the whole surface is covered. It looks like a lot of topping, but in the end the results are wonderful! Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I had to bake mine for 20 minutes longer.  It could be my oven, though. I also had to cover my loaves with foil to prevent burning for the extra time in the oven.) The baked cake should pull slightly away from the sides of the pan.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips on top.  Let cakes sit in pans for another 5 minutes or so. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the foil, then transfer to a wire cooling rack by picking up all sides of the foil so that you don’t have to turn the loaf upside down. Allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before slicing and serving.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

June 2018
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