The boys are back in town … or, in our case, the girls.
For six years, my husband has been a dorm parent in a boys’ dorm at the private high school where he teaches and we live. We were in one dorm for a year; and then, when we moved into our last apartment, another dorm for five. I LOVED those boys – and still do, of course. We knew at the end of last year with us moving it was likely my husband would be assigned to a different dorm. And he was. A girls’ dorm.
Most of my part in dorm parenting has been baking for the boys. It brings me a lot of joy, and I think it helps them feel a little more like school is home. I was a little hesitant about the girls’ dorm, wondering if they would eat like the boys do. I have been assured from every side that yes, they do.
So now I have 40 high-school daughters. And they wiped this platter clean the other night. Mr. V said one even said she doesn’t usually love chocolate, but she really liked this cake!
We’re living in a house now, so we’re not in the dorm with the kids, which is kind of weird after six years of being in one. But we’re still on campus and eating in the dining hall and trying to love these kids like our own. So I’ll still be baking up a storm!
Slightly adapted from Barbara Bakes. I love bundt cakes because they are so easy to serve and don't require as much frosting (I am not huge on frosting), but you could also bake this as a 9x13 or a layer cake, adjusting the time.
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
5 T cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup water
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1 T honey or corn syrup
3 T heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray with flour and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together butter (cut into slices), cocoa powder, salt, and water. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the butter mixture and stir until well blended. Add the remaining butter mixture and stir until uniform. Stir in sour cream and vanilla until uniform.
Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack or platter to cool completely.
Put chocolate chips into a microwave-safe measuring cup. Add honey or corn syrup and heavy cream on top. Microwave 30 second on high power, then stir together until the chocolate is smooth. If it will not all melt, give it another 15 seconds or so. (Do NOT add more heavy cream once the chocolate is hot; it will make it seize up.) Drizzle or spoon over top of the cake and let set.
I’m determined to make it through a bunch of the recipes I’ve Pinned this year. I have a mere 5,400+ Pins … and most of them are probably recipes. Because mostly I use Pinterest for its original intent: to have a visual bookmarking system.
Since I have a dorm full of high school boys waiting to be fed, I should have no problem finding someone to feed these recipes, right? Every Wednesday, Mr. V has a small group of boys (6), and then Thursday nights I aim to feed the whole dorm with a larger recipe (usually dessert).
I’m not sure if this coffee cake was a hit with the boys – I haven’t checked with Mr. V – because his small group is largely students from China and Hong Kong. The Chinese are not like Americans when it comes to sweets, I’ve found. But really, I don’t care. Because it’s AMAZING and I am so glad to have unearthed this recipe.
I also simplified the streusel and the frosting a little bit. And to be honest, I think I would like this even more without the frosting. I find buttercream to be too sweet for me – I prefer cream cheese frostings if any. But, sadly, the cake is not real pretty without it. Maybe if there was streusel on the top, too, it would help that? I may give that a try next time.
There is nothing really virtuous about this to make it breakfasty; the cake simply feels more like a coffee cake because it is dense, fruity, and has streusel. So tell yourself it’s breakfast, or be honest and serve it up for dessert.
(I had some for breakfast this morning. I won’t tell.)
2 T grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil or melted butter
Maple Buttercream Frosting
4 T butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T maple syrup
2 T milk
For the Filling
In a large saucepan, combines peaches, cinnamon, brown sugar, and flour. Cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes, until it melds together and the peaches are very soft. Try not to eat all the filling. Set aside to cool.
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan well.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over the batter, then turn mixer on low. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until batter is uniform.
By hand, fold in the peach pie filling.
Make the Streusel
In a bowl, mix almond meal, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with a fork. Drizzle oil or butter over the top, and then stir until clumpy and oil is mixed throughout.
Back to the Cake!
Pour half the batter into the greased bundt pan. Sprinkle two-thirds of the streusel mixture on top of the batter. Spoon remaining batter on top, then sprinkle with the remainder of the streusel.
Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn over onto a plate, patting on the sides to release the cake. Cool before frosting.
Melt butter in a big bowl, then add powdered sugar and cinnamon and stir. Add maple syrup and 1 T milk. Add more milk if needed to reach a good consistency. If you want a runnier frosting, cut down sugar to 1 1/2 cups. For a more spreadable rather than pourable frosting, add more powdered sugar.
I picked up an extra reveal for this month’s Secret Recipe Club at the last minute – and I am sure glad that I did! These little tea cakes come via Angela of Spinach Tiger. Angela’s site has a wealth of recipes. She’s a Nashville blogger, too, which makes me wish I still lived there so we could hang out! Or, you know, she could make me dinner. I wouldn’t mind having these chicken thighs with pavlova cups for dessert. I’m only 2 hours away, Angela! You let me know when!
Anyway, when I saw the link to her recipe for Tennessee T Cakes, it definitely brought a picture to my mind. I live in Chattanooga, after all, just an hour-and-a-half from Knoxville.
But the recipe really led to a lovely tea cake recipe, made famous by a baker in Nashville when Oprah named her cakes one of her favorite things in 2006. While a quick skim shows that it was a secret recipe but consisted of just flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla, Angela adds cream cheese to her recipe for a divine richness.
These tea cakes are not quite cake, definitely not the cookie type – they are gooey caramel deliciousness. They come together in a snap with ingredients you probably have around. Make some for a quick treat for the family!
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray or lining with papers (I use silicone muffin liners).
In a small saucepan, melt brown sugar and butter together on medium-low heat, stirring often. Once melted, turn heat to low. Add cream cheese and whisk until cream cheese is all melted and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
When the brown sugar mixture is cooled off, whisk an egg into it. Add flour mixture gradually and stir until all the flour is incorporated.
Divide batter among the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes*, until a tester comes out mostly clean and tops don't look gooey.
Sift powdered sugar over the tops. Cool and then enjoy!
*Angela said hers only took 16 minutes. My muffin liners are kind of small, so my muffins may have been taller and taken longer to cook. Start checking muffins for doneness around the 16-18 minute mark.
I talk a lot about “feeding the boys.” I even have a Pinterest board called “Goodies for the Boys.” But I realize if you’re a more recent reader to my blog, you might have NO idea what I am talking about.
We live in a boys’ dorm on a private high-school campus. Yep, IN the actual dorm. We live in the basement (which is why any decent pictures I’ve taken are probably outside). And once a week (at least), my husband is on duty. That means he’s in charge of check-in, monitoring study hours, and doing a last lights-out sort of run in the dorm. He also has a small group of 5 or 6 boys that he’s sort of responsible for. He keeps in touch with their parents and communicates with their other teachers. The small group meets once a week, too, in the morning of a school day.
You know who really appreciates home-cooked food? High-school boys (HOOOONGRY) who are away from their mamas.
That’s why I make a valiant attempt to cook something for his small group and also for the larger group when he’s on duty.
I thought he was on duty last night, but it turns out he had switched. I’d already planned to make this cake, though, so I went ahead and did it. And from what I hear, it was devoured in approximately 23 seconds. Mr. V and I taste-tested it and can tell you it really is delicious.
The cake batter is enhanced with extra eggs, making it, well, eggy, mimicking a sweet dough. With the brown sugar-cinnamon filling and glaze, it’s a lot like a cinnamon roll. But easier. And CAKE!
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and use a hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Use lowest setting to stir together.
Add sour cream, eggs, and oil. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth and thick.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Drizzle the rest of the batter over the top (it should cover most, but not all of the brown sugar).
Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large measuring cup. Stir in milk gradually, until the icing is pourable but not thin. Pour over hot cake when it comes out of the oven.
Let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. It tastes really good warm, but I don't think anyone will complain about it being room temperature, either.
The original recipe calls for a yellow cake mix. If you really don't keep flour and sugar on hand, it's fine to substitute the first three ingredients with one; however, I'm all for simplifying ingredients when possible. This way you avoid the additives in a cake mix.
So, you have a giant tub of plain yogurt. It seemed like such a good idea at a time. Sure, you’ll eat plain yogurt with honey and granola for breakfast every day for a week. And definitely not a doughnut, again.
The solution? Grab a couple lemons and make French Yogurt Cake. I’ve made it a few times before with different types of citrus. Orange yogurt cake with chocolate chips is amazing.
It’s easy yet impressive, and everyone will love it. Two mixing bowls, one loaf pan, a little saucepan, and voila. Wash the evidence and tell everyone you slaved over it for hours.
This month my assigned blogger was Six Kilos of Pumpkin. Emily Jane is a university student in Australia. She moved away from home “to be able to study,” and now she’s learning how to cook on her own. She doesn’t post too often, but when she does the quick synopses of her life are cute and remind me of my own college days.
1 c. turbinado sugar (can sub regular sugar or sucanat)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 to 3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. blackberries, crushed (if I did this again, I would probably strain the blackberries through a fine-mesh strainer to try to remove seeds)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans.
In one bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. In a large bowl, mix oil, avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir in sugar. This will seem like a big watery mess; that’s OK.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, combining until smooth. Pour into cake pans. I always whack my pans flat on the counter to release air bubbles, then make a shallow well in the middle by pushing batter to the outsides of the pan. This helps the cakes not to be as domed.
Bake 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pans; then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Beat together cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time (until it’s as sweet as you prefer). Add blackberries and vanilla and continue beating until well-combined.
Frost cake with frosting; garnish with additional blackberries if desired.
I went back and read each of those posts, taking tips from all of them. Joy the Baker and Not Quite Nigella actually made avocado buttercream for their cakes (Joy liked it; Nigella did not). I wasn’t feeling brave enough for that, so I decided to create a blackberry cream cheese frosting with the massive amounts of blackberries the kids and I picked at Crabtree Farms.
The cake is actually vegan; my frosting is not. So if you want to keep it vegan, you can always try the avocado buttercream.
The cake is fudgy and rich and I thought it went very well with the cream cheese frosting. If you have kids with an egg allergy, this would be a great recipe for a birthday cake!