Sunday, July 31, 2016

Blueberry lemon icebox cake

A divine, no-bake blueberry lemon cake that is perfect in the heat of the summer! No need to turn on the oven here - the freezer does all the work for you!
It has been 90+ degrees every day this past week. We have high humidity so the weather has been absolutely miserable. So miserable, in fact, that you start sweating the minute you go outside.

Naturally, I have had no desire to turn on the oven or stove. My husband came across this fabulous icebox cake in our latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine and bookmarked it. Since the temperatures have been so hot, it was a perfect time to try this cake.
I had never made an icebox cake prior to this so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've seen plenty of other versions out there that use pudding or frozen whipped topping as the "frosting" and filling of the cake. Apparently the graham crackers turn cake-like after being frozen.

While this is a fancier version of an icebox cake with lemon curd, lemon cream and homemade blueberry chia seed jam, you can certainly take some shortcuts. You can use store-bought lemon curd or lemon pudding and pre-made or store-bought jam. My family was a huge fan of this cake and will try to make different icebox cake recipes soon. Until the weather cools down a bit, I'll stay away from the oven for a while.

Blueberry lemon icebox cake
  • 8 ounces mascarpone or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup lemon curd, divided
  • 16 graham crackers, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberry chia seed jam
Directions
Line a standard 9"x5" loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper and allow an overhang on al sides.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk the mascarpone/yogurt, powdered sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed until it is fluffy, about 4 minutes. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the cream. Turn the mixer on high speed until you achieve medium peaks.

Transfer about 2/3 of the mixture to a large bowl and fold in 1/2 cup of lemon curd. Cover and refrigerate the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Place a single layer of graham crackers on the bottom of your loaf pan. You may need to break some crackers in half. Spread about 1/4 of the lemon cream mixture on top of the graham crackers. Then top it with 1/2 cup of the blueberry chia seed jam, then some lemon curd. Repeat all the layers - graham crackers, lemon cream, jam, lemon curd. Top with a final layer of graham crackers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Uncover the cake and unmold from the pan (using the parchment/plastic overhangs to help you). Add the remaining mascarpone mixture to the top and sides of the cake and freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Thaw slightly before serving. It will help to use a hot knife to cut and serve. Keep the leftovers covered and frozen. The cake will keep for at least a week. 

Yield: One 9"x5" cake; about 8-10 servings

Source: Bon Appetit; July 2016 issue

Friday, July 29, 2016

Skating Fridays

Rinks I've Visited


As a follow-up to last week's post, I thought it would be fun to keep a tally of all the rinks where I have skated. I believe I've skated in 21 rinks in 10 states across the country (including the one from last week). I'm keeping a list on my phone so I don't forget and can keep track as I continue to travel.

Some fun places where I've skated:
  • Location of former Winter Olympics
  • Paul Wylie's home rink
  • Brian Boitano's current rink
  • Kimmie Meissner's home rink

I hope to keep adding to this list and even get some international locations on there too!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blueberry chia seed jam

A 5-ingredient jam that requires no canning experience or special equipment. All you need is a saucepan and a spatula and you can have a fresh blueberry jam! Goes great on ice cream! 
Can I tell you a secret? I am deathly afraid of canning. I used to be petrified of baking with yeast but have since gotten over that fear. Now it's canning. It just seems like it's a very involved process where you have to disinfect jars, buy fancy equipment and then have to store everything in spaces that I don't have to spare.

I'm intimidated by the candy thermometer aspect and either over or under cooking too. Maybe one day I'll get over my fear, but for now, I am steering clear of real canning.

In the meantime, you and I can make this jam. It only requires 5 ingredients and no fancy equipment or thermometers. You don't need to boil any jars or add pectin here. Just 5 wholesome ingredients and a little patience and you'll have your jam in no time.

This blueberry chia seed jam will appear runny when it's done. Never fear though - after it cools in the fridge, the chia seeds will plump up and thicken your jam. You can spread it on toast, bagels, pancakes or anything your heart desires.

Blueberry chia seed jam
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chia seed
Directions
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, cook the blueberries, lemon zest lemon juice and maple syrup until it comes to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the blueberries burst, about 5 minutes. Lightly mash about half of the blueberries to release their juices.

Increase the heat to medium-high until the mixture begins to boil. Stir occasionally until the liquid has reduced down to about half (about 5-10 minutes).

Take the pan off the heat and taste. Add more maple syrup if needed. Return the mixture to a boil and stir in the chia seeds. Cook for one more minutes.

Turn off the stove and take the pan off the heat. The jam will appear to be runny; this is normal. Transfer to a heatproof container and allow to cool before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely. Jam will thicken once it has cooled.

Keep the jam stored in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least 2 weeks.

Yield: About 2 cups

Source: Bon Appetit, July 2016 issue

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lemon curd

A simple lemon curd that only requires 5 ingredients! You won't need to separate eggs, use an electrical appliance or temper anything. Just one saucepan and a whisk and you're good to go! 
Have you seen the prices of store-ready lemon curd? My grocery sells one of those small glass containers for something crazy like $5. You can easily make this for much cheaper, and I will bet that it tastes way better. Plus, you don't have to ingest any crazy ingredients like shelf stabilizers.

This is a super simple, 5 ingredient lemon curd that requires no thermometers, tempering or even separation of the eggs yolks from the whites. All you need to do is dump everything into a saucepan and stir, stir, stir. Before you know it, you'll have lemon curd.

If you like your lemon curd a little sweeter, add more sugar. The version I have is perfectly tart and full of lemony goodness. It is a great filler for donuts, cake, or as an add-in for ice cream.

I hope you'll try making your own lemon curd. Once you find out how easy this is, you'll never buy the store kind again.

Lemon curd 
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons / 1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Directions
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Turn on the stove to medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens.

Allow to cool before transferring to a container to cool completely. Store the lemon curd in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least 1 week.

Yield: About 2 cups

Source: Allrecipes.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

Skating Fridays

Visiting Other Rinks 


I'm not sure how many of you follow me on my Eva Bakes Facebook page (if not, you should!), but I have been doing some traveling for work this year.  I've flown with my skates and skated at 3 new rinks during my travels in 2016. I've posted photos from those rinks on my Facebook page and have thoroughly enjoyed skating in different venues across the country and meeting different skaters.

This week I am traveling again for work and have already pre-paid for freestyle ice at another rink. This particular rink's ice is paid in a time block. I paid a set price for a 4-hour time block and can skate for any portion of it (or stay for the full 4 hours). Regardless of how much time I am there, I still pay the fixed amount. I have never encountered this type of practice ice before but find it intriguing. I hope to meet other adult skaters on this trip.

Do you travel with your skates?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Addie's chocolate biscuits

These easy, no-fuss chocolate biscuits come from the 6 year-old daughter of the chef of the famed Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Split the biscuits and top with Nutella for an extra special treat!


We were visiting my in-laws recently when I decided to flip through some of my mother-in-law's food magazines. I came across a story about a 6-year old girl who liked to cook with her dad. Her father, as it turns out, happens to be the chef at New York City's Gramercy Tavern. And the little girl's name was Addie.

I was instantly drawn to the story since it involved a famous chef and a girl who had the same name as my daughter. To top it off, the two girls are the same age. When I told my Addie about this little girl, she asked me to make her chocolate biscuits.

I halved the original recipe because I didn't need to have 12 biscuits around the house. Addie's dough was also divided into two halves - one plain and one chocolate. Since my household is mostly made up of chocoholics (namely Addie and I), I decided to forego the plain biscuits. Do you blame me?

The biscuits were perfect - nice and flaky and not too sweet. I spread a thin layer of Nutella to jazz mine up a bit. These would go really well with some sausage and scrambled eggs on the side. Or perhaps just more chocolate and sprinkles? No matter how you serve them, just make sure you bake some.

Addie's chocolate biscuits
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter, frozen
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 5 Tablespoons hot cocoa mix (I used Penzey's)
Directions
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into the bowl. Gently fold in the butter by hand. Slowly add the milk and knead gently until everything just comes together. Add in the hot cocoa mix and knead until no dry spots remain (do not overwork the dough; it should look spotty with some white and brown spots).

Flatten the dough to about 1/4" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or using the top of a cup or mug. Re-roll any scraps and cut until all the dough has been used.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until the biscuits are golden. Split and serve with Nutella or your favorite fruit spread.

Leftover biscuits should be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature. They can be reheated and will keep for a few days.
.
Yield: About 6 biscuits

Source: Barely adapted from Rachael Ray magazine, June 2016 issue

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Banana banana bread

This no-fuss banana bread recipe is a perfect way to use up all those frozen bananas in your refrigerator. With a dash of cinnamon, this banana bread is wonderful for breakfast or a snack throughout the day!

My family and I just returned from a trip and had nothing in the refrigerator to eat. We arrived home late one evening and did not have time to hit the grocery store. I had nothing good to eat for breakfast so I had to make do with some instant oatmeal. Addie had a granola bar. It was uninspiring and boring to say the least.

I remembered that we had frozen some overripe bananas before leaving for our trip, so it was definitely time to bake some banana bread. I wanted to try a recipe that I hadn't attempted before.

I found this recipe in my recipe stash and made 2 minor changes. I subbed half of the flour for whole wheat and then added some cinnamon for an extra flavor punch.

Initially, I thought that this bread would be a bit too dry, but I was proven wrong. The bananas provide some moisture and natural sweetness to the bread, and the exterior had a nice crunch. The interior wasn't dry at all, but instead remained intact and produced a few tender crumbs. This would be great as a slice of French toast too - just slather on some Nutella and wake me up later.

Banana banana bread
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (can substitute all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium overripe bananas, mashed
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the brown sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Turn off the mixer and fold in the mashed bananas by hand.

Transfer the banana mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold everything together very gently and until no dry streaks remain. Do not over mix. The batter will be very thick.

Transfer the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake in your preheated oven for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool before serving. Bread should be stored in an airtight container and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days. It can also be frozen and thawed.

Yield: One 9"x5" loaf; about 8-12 servings

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes magazine; December/January 2014 issue

Friday, July 15, 2016

Skating Fridays

A Better Week (and a Double Salchow video)


Last week was very frustrating for me. Things weren't going well, and I had an epic fall from the "mohawk of doom." I've put that behind me and tried to focus on the positive this week.

I've been running my new freestyle program and am pleased to say that I actually have been finishing on time with the music. I've had to change my 2nd spin from the originally intended one because I'm not getting enough speed. A few times, I've ended about 3 seconds late but only because there were other skaters in my path and I've had to take significant detours around them. Had the ice been clear of skaters, I would have finished on time.

In addition, I am making progress on the double salchow. I've been trying to isolate the problem areas and committing to fixing them. My takeoff has improved tremendously, and I am actively crossing my legs. Now my problem is that I am opening up too early so I am landing 1/2 of a rotation short. I know this will fix itself over time, as I had similar issues with my axel when I first learned it.

Here is a video that I took this week:


I am relieved that this has been a better week for me and hope that this trend continues. Two more months until my first competition, so I have a little bit of time to iron out all the inconsistencies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jam crumble bars

These crumble bars can be customized with your favorite fruit preserves or jam! Whether it's raspberry, strawberry or something else, these bars are sure to please a crowd.

My family and I were recently invited to a party. One of the coaches at the rink (who is K's primary coach and sometimes helps me) was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary. She invited her close friends, family and some additional friends and coaches from the rink to come over for a catered brunch.

I didn't want to show up empty handed so thought about making something that would withstand the heat. They have a beautiful back patio where most of their guests would gather, so I had to make something that wouldn't melt and could be easily grabbed with one hand.

I brought an entire batch of these jam crumble bars and used a luscious raspberry jam for my filling. Several people came up to me during the party and commented how they loved the bars. Luckily, I saved a few slices for us to try at home because these were almost gone by the time we left the party.

It was a wonderful afternoon, and Addie even found a girl to play bubbles and squirt water guns with. My shy little girl actually made a new friend, and she was sad when it was time to leave. I hope that my husband and I are lucky enough to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary one day. If so, it will be in Hawaii!

Jam crumble bars
Base layer
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fruit preserves or jam*
Crumble topping
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard 9"x13" pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks until the butter reaches small pea-sized pieces. In a small cup or bowl, whisk the milk and almond extract together. Add it to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Use your hands and knead the dough together until no dry ingredients remain.

Transfer to your prepared pan and spread it evenly. Press down on the dough with your fingers.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is just beginning to become golden. While the crust is baking, prepare the crumble layer.

In the same large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and oats. Then cut in the butter as you did previously and knead with your hands until no dry spots remain. Set aside.

Once the crust is done baking, keep the oven on, but remove the pan from the oven. Spread the jam directly on top of the hot crust. Then evenly distribute the crumble on top of the jam.

Bake in the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing and serving. Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for several days.

Yield: About 18-24 bars

Source: Striped Spatula

Sunday, July 10, 2016

No bake graham cracker cookie butter bars

Too hot to turn on the oven? Then make these no-bake graham cracker cookie butter bars. With 5 simple ingredients, you can have a satisfying dessert without using your oven!

This summer has been hot. Seems like just yesterday when I was wearing sweaters and boots. Spring was a non-event here because we skipped the mild weather and went straight to 80+ degree weather. Summer arrived in April around here.

With the high temperatures, I haven't had the desire to turn on the oven. Can you blame me? But as always, I was craving dessert. I wanted something amazing but didn't want to spend too much time making it. Enter these bars.

I happened to come across half a box of graham crackers and a full container of cookie butter in my pantry. With 3 additional ingredients, I was able to make these no-bake bars.

While the bottom base layer was a tad thick for my liking, these were full of cookie buttery goodness. There is NO doubt that these are cookie butter bars. The base tasted like a fully baked shortbread-ish layer while the chocolate provided a nice decadent top. You could also throw in any add-ins you like for extra texture and crunch (chocolate chips, nuts, or even potato chips would be a fun salty addition).

If you're not in the mood to turn on the oven of if it's just too hot, make these bars. Just make sure you store them in the refrigerator so the chocolate layer doesn't melt.

No bake graham cracker cookie butter bars 
Base
  • 8 ounces graham crackers (can use regular, honey or chocolate varieties)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cookie butter (Biscoff)
Chocolate layer
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Directions
Generously grease or line a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until you get fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and cookie butter and pulse until the mixture holds together when you press on it.

Transfer the mixture to your prepared pan and spread it out evenly with a spoon or spatula. Press down on the base layer so the mixture stays intact.

In a microwave, melt together the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the cookie butter and mix well. Pour this on top of the graham cracker base and smooth out the top.

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. If you white chocolate seizes, add a little bit of cooking oil and stir. Drop dollops of the melted chocolate on top of the semi-sweet chocolate. Use a knife or spatula and drag it through the chocolate layers for a pretty presentation.

Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Bars should remain in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: About 16 bars

Source: A Simple Pantry

Friday, July 8, 2016

Skating Fridays

Frustration 


Last week was very frustrating. I've been running my new freestyle program pretty consistently but was still ending about 5 seconds late (even after the changes my choreographer made). Either I'm skating too slow or there are still too many transitional elements.

On top of that, I haven't made any progress on getting the double salchow more consistent. The opposite is now happening - it's getting worse. I'm always landing forward and doing a 3-turn checkout. My takeoff is fine, but I am missing the "snap" and not rotating all the way through the ice.


Finally, I took a hard fall during a warmup exercise. Two of the coaches skated over to me since I hadn't gotten up after a minute. I fell during a mohawk and landed on my left knee.

It's been a difficult week at practice, but I guess things can only improve from here. Although I'm grateful that I have the ability to participate in this sport, I hope that things turn around soon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

German chocolate cake

A stunning German chocolate cake for your next special occasion - this super chocolate-y cake is layered with a luscious coconut and pecan-studded frosting that you'll want to double!

My husband's birthday was coming up, and this year he requested a German chocolate cake. He and his family are 100% German, so it made sense to finally try my hand at one of these desserts from his heritage.

The cake was reminiscent of my favorite chocolate cake recipe, and the frosting was something new to me - it was a boiled concoction that was thickened by egg yolks and cornstarch. Almost pudding-like, if you ask me. Mix in some coconut flakes and pecans and you're set. My only complaint was that the frosting didn't make enough to cover the sides, so I have a rustic cake here to share with you. Rustic. Yeah. That's what I'll call it.

The chocolate cake was just about perfect, and it complemented the frosting well. The frosting was a bit too coconutty and nutty for my tastes, but I am strange and normally don't like those ingredients anyway. My husband adored this cake and has been eating a little bit every day.

Happy (belated) birthday to my dear husband! I hope you enjoyed the cake as much as I enjoyed making this for you. XOXO

German chocolate cake
Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting
  • 1 and ½ cups evaporated milk (1 standard 12-ounce can)
  • 1 and ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten with 1 and ½ teaspoons water
  • 3/4 cup (1 and ½ sticks) butter or margarine
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 and ½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut
Directions
Bake the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and line three 9-inch baking pans and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt (I used a silicone spatula to mix the ingredients together). Then add the milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla (again, I mixed by hand). Turn the mixer on and mix the ingredients together on medium speed until well combined.

Turn the mixer off and slowly add in the boiling water and mix by hand until it is mostly combined. Then turn the mixer on low speed and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Evenly distribute the batter among the 3 baking pans. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:  In a small saucepan, whisk together the evaporated milk and cornstarch. Add the sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla over medium heat, whisking constantly. Allow the mixture to come to boil and continue whisking for another 10 minutes or until the frosting thickens to pudding-like consistency. Once the frosting has thickened, take the saucepan off the heat and add in the coconut and pecans. Mix well.

Set the frosting aside and allow to cool for at least an hour. It will thicken even more as it cools.

To assemble the cake, place one cake piece down on a cake platter or plate. Add some frosting on top and repeat with all layers. This frosting does not make enough to cover the sides of the cake, so I recommend doubling it if you want a completely frosted cake.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.

Yield: One 9" cake; about 8-12 servings

Source: Ever so slightly adapted from A Dash of Sanity

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tunnel of fudge cake

A decadent, brownie-like cake with a layer of fudgy goodness in the middle! This cake is for serious chocoholics and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or extra glaze on top.


One of our neighbors invited us over for wings one weekend. Our girls would get a chance to play in the sprinkler outside while the grownups would hang out. I couldn't go empty-handed and had brought many different types of brownies to their house before. I didn't want to repeat a dessert but had chocolate on the mind.


Finally, I remembered this tunnel of fudge dessert that I'd had bookmarked for a long time. The perfect occasion for this never came up until now. Our neighbors would have about 14 people over to their house, so this cake seemed like a great item to bring.

Don't be intimidated by the amount of ingredients or steps in this cake. Most or all of the ingredients are things you probably already have in your pantry. All you need is a Bundt cake pan and you're golden.

This cake was definitely the hit of the party. It was rich, decadent, and super chocolate-y. The cake itself is reminiscent of a dense, fudgy brownie. The middle was slightly underbaked, which yielded the fudge-like interior. And the glaze? Well, I could have easily eaten that with a spoon and called it a day. I did have a lot of extra glaze left over, which I served on the side and allowed guests to spoon on top of their plates. If you don't want all the extra glaze, then I recommend cutting that part of the recipe in half.

Make this cake. You wont regret it.

Tunnel of fudge cake 
Pan prep
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cake
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 and ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Glaze
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Prep the pan: Mix together the cocoa powder and butter. Using a pastry brush, even coat the insides (all the nooks and crannies!) of a 12-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the cake: In a small bowl, place the chopped chocolate. Pour the boiling water over it and allow it to sit for a minute. Then whisk together until combined.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, gently whisk together the eggs and the vanilla extract and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the sugars and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down and add the egg mixture until just combined. Then add the chocolate mixture until just combined. Next add the dry ingredients until just combined.

Transfer the batter to your prepared Bundt pan and bake in your preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the edges of the cake start to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool for at least 1 and 1/2 hours before inverting onto a cake plate to cool completely.

Make the glaze: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup and chocolate together in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Keep stirring until it becomes smooth. Add in the vanilla and stir until combined. Take the saucepan off the heat and set aside for at least 30 minutes or until the glaze has thickened.  Drizzle the glaze over the completely cooled cake.

Cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for several days.

Yield: About 12-14 servings

Source: Annie's Eats

Friday, July 1, 2016

Skating Fridays

Chin Up 


I met with my choreographer recently to make some tweaks to my new freestyle program. I have been running it every day during freestyle and have been ending about 10 seconds too late each time. I wanted to see what changes we could make to the program so I finish on time.

She made me do a full run-through during a very crowded session, and I almost ran into 10 kids. One actually fell as she tried to avoid me.

I finished and skated over to her. Silence. I looked at her. More silence. Hmmm... this is not good.

Finally, she spoke. "You need to skate lighter. Your knees are too bent." I told her that I tried my best and worked hard to get the program where it was, and she had the perfect response: "Your skating definitely looks like you are working hard. It should be effortless."

Touche.

While we did make some revisions to the program and cut out certain sections, she stressed the importance of keeping my chin up and upper body upright. My slouched shoulders added to my heavy frame, and even adding "pretty" arms didn't help my overall hunched lines. Her suggestions:

  • Stay light on the toes
  • Make every movement meaningful and stretch it out
  • Feel like you are spreading butter on toast - back and forth, with effortless movement
  • Finish each stroke completely - particularly crossovers and during footwork; end each stroke on a clearly defined edge before moving to the next one
  • Chin up and project outwards
I tend to rush, which makes the program seem heavy. My music is light and spirited, yet my skating tells a different story.  I need to remember to take my time and tell the audience and judges my story - one about hope and achievement.

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