Archive | Dessert RSS for this section

Chocolate Streusel Poundcake


I’m not a huge fan of the greeting card industry’s holiday Valentine’s Day, but any holiday that encourages me to eat excessive amounts of chocolate can’t be all bad. My recent, frequent, and increasingly difficult trips to the gym have been rather torturous, yet they’re obviously a necessity since I’ll be eating my weight in chocolate this week. I’m well on my way of setting a record for most chocolate consumed, and I owe part of that accomplishment to the 1.5 slices of this cake I had for lunch yesterday (followed by the 1.5 slices I had for dessert after dinner).

From the moment I saw this recipe from the NY Times, I was intrigued. I love the dense richness of a poundcake and was beyond fascinated with the thought of a slightly salty strussel on top (and bottom!). Needless to say I was beyond impressed with this recipe and there’s very little I would change (which is rare for me, I almost always tweak a recipe in some way).

If you’re looking for other chocolate ideas, here are my favorite chocolate recipe posts:

 Chocolate Streusel Poundcake

From the NY Times

For the streusel:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the poundcake:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup whole milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment on the bottom of the loaf pan.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate for the cake, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool while you prepare the streusel.

Prepare the streusel: In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Using fingers, fork or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed and forms large, moist crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scatter half the streusel evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until baked through.

Prepare the cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat melted butter, both sugars and salt together until combined. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, yogurt, milk and melted chocolate. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and top with remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake emerges with one or two crumbs, about 1 hour (start checking at 55 minutes, although could take up to 1 hour and 15 minutes). Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely before turning out and slicing.

Serve with whipped cream and/or fresh berries.



Gingerbread Stout Cupcakes


There’s a local cupcake store in Seattle, Cupcake Royale, which has some of my favorite cupcakes. They have exceptional seasonal/monthly flavors and whether I’m enjoying a blueberry crumble cupcake in the middle of summer or a boozy eggnog cupcake in December, I’m always a happy customer.

My last trip to Cupcake Royale involved buying one or two (or like ten) cupcakes, one of which was practically life changing: a stout gingerbread cake. Beer, ginger, and cream cheese frosting are in the top 20 of my favorite things, and it was all I could do not to inhale this delicious cupcake. I immediately made it my goal in life to replicate this cupcake.

My results definitely weren’t a match in flavor as I ended up with something that packed a lot more heat from ginger and had a delightfully forceful taste of molasses, but I am in love with them. Definitely not for the faint of heart as the flavors are in no way subtle. They’re quite bold, in fact. So bold some may call the flavor overpowering. I, however, find them very nicely intense.

FYI, I used Dragonstooth Stout, a beer made in Seattle, that has a very intense coffee taste to it. If you’re really into stouts or porters, feel free to use your favorite! The most common and easily accessible one is Guinness.

Oh, and these stayed surprisingly moist for 3 days. Best when they’re freshly made; however, a day or two in advance would be fine if you’re short on time.


Gingerbread Stout Cupcakes

Adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 4 ounces fresh ginger
  • 1 cup mild molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup stout or porter
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 24 capacity cupcake pan with 20-21 cupcake liners (recipe made 21 for me).

Peel, slice, and chop the ginger very fine with a knife (or use a grater)—or, pulse in a food processor until very fine (which is what I did, very easy). Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.

Bring the stout/porter to a boil in a saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and then mix the beer mixture into the molasses mixture. Stir in the ginger.

Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the batter. Add the eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan(s) and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a one or two moist crumbs.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until slightly fluffy and well combined. Add in vanilla extract, mix slowly, and gradually add powdered sugar. Pipe on to cooled cupcakes.


Cranberry & Orange Biscotti


I’ve spent a solid portion of the last 11.5 months looking for Christmas cookie ideas. Before the holiday season of 2013 had even ended, I was already dreaming up what kind of treats I could bake for the next year. While the White Chocolate & Cranberry Shortbread, Spiced Ginger Cookies, and Russian Tea Cakes I made last year are crowd favorites that I will be making again, I was eager to try out some new and different recipes.

There’s a substantial list of cookies and desserts I plan on trying out this year, one of them being biscotti. I’m not entirely sure where my desire to try biscotti came from since I don’t really like biscotti that much. They’re usually loaded with almond extract or almonds (neither of which I particularly enjoy) and what’s with the texture? I can rarely tell if they’re freshly baked or stale as they can get super dry and crumbly.

While I may not be rushing to order every biscotti I see at a café, this particular recipe has definitely made me a convert. Lightness from orange zest along with tartness from dried cranberries does an exceptional job of cutting sweetness from sugar. These are crumbly and crunchy, but still manage to be light, delicate, and somewhat soft. Goldilocks would be really happy with these. Not too sweet, not too tart, not to soft, not to crunchy. Win win!

These would be perfect alongside a cup of coffee any time of the year, but they seem to work especially well during the holidays. Best of all, they’re infinitely adaptable. Add half a cup of chopped pistachios for a lovely green and red combination. Or fold in some chunks of white chocolate. Or mix in toasted chopped pecans. Or even drizzle the finished product with melted white chocolate, as the recipe this is based off of specifies.


Cranberry and Orange Biscotti

Adapted from Epicurious

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer), beat sugar, orange zest, and butter for 2 minutes, or until slightly fluffy. Add one whole egg and mix until incorporated before adding the second egg. Reserve remaining egg white.

Gradually mix the flour mixture into the wet batter (add about 1/3 of the mixture at a time) and mix until just barely combined. Using a spatula, fold in cranberries by hand.

Divide dough in half, and place halves on prepared sheet tray. Using lightly floured hands, form each half into a loaf, approximately 1.5 inches high, 3 inches wide, and 7 or 8 inches long. Be sure to leave plenty of space in between, as they spread out a fair amount.

Whisk the remaining egg white until slightly frothy. Brush egg white mixture on top of each loaf. Bake for 35 minutes.

Leave loafs on the sheet pan and let cool for 30 minutes, or until mostly cooled. The cooling process helps from crumbling too much when you slice them for the second bake.

Once cooled, move loafs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs, diagonally, into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices cut sides up (or down, depending on how you look at it), on the baking sheet and return to oven. Bake 15 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on sheet pan. You want to leave these to cool on the sheet pan as they’re very tender, soft, and slightly crumbly when you first take them out of the oven. Leaving on the sheet pan to cool allows them to firm and crisp up.


Chocolate and Red Wine Cake


I spent St. Patrick’s Day this past year in Las Vegas. On a day where bars color their beer green, shots of Irish whiskey are in abundance, and everyone drinks a bit too much (because being 1/180th Irish is a great excuse to party), it just seemed fitting that I was in Sin City… a city where everything is in excess and there is never a shortage of alcohol.

Since I’m not a big gambler I spent most of my time eating (Wicked Spoon and Border Grill were the highlights of this past trip) and occasionally enjoying a refreshing cocktail, glass of wine, or beer (Vesper Bar is life changing). At one point I stumbled across a special for Bottomless Guinness at one of the countless bars on The Strip and decided why not? It seemed fitting for St. Patrick’s Day.

In case anyone wants to know, going to a buffet before sitting down at a bar to drink as much Guinness as you can consume is definitely not something I recommend. While what transpired that night is a secret—because, ya know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (kidding, it was a mellow night, my party days are over), I drank plenty of Guinness to last me a while… the thought of consuming any more is a bit nauseating.

My aversion to Guinness has sadly started to impact my baking. I’ve made an incredible Chocolate Stout cake a few times and thought how perfect it would be to bring to a potluck. I immediately began to think of good alternatives to stout. As destiny would have it I had opened up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon a few nights prior and it didn’t quite get finished (I guess that’s a sign of getting old, one glass is enough) so I figured using that in place of beer would be perfect.

Chocolate and red wine is a match made in heaven and the red wine taste in this cake, while incredibly subtle, was very pleasant. If you’re looking for a really bold, heavy, wine flavor this cake may not be for you. The wine just enhances the chocolate taste and adds a little bit of something special.

Chocolate and Red Wine Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup red wine (I used a berry forward Cabernet Sauvignon, but most red wines would work—I would stay away from an excessively sweet red though)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heavily and thoroughly grease and flour a 10 cup bundt pan, tap out extra flour, and place in freezer for a few minutes to set.

Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, add wine and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook until butter is melted. Add cocoa powder and stir until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a stand mixer (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), mix together eggs and sour cream. In a slow stream, mix in wine/butter/chocolate mixture until it’s just combined. Add flour mixture in three additions and mix just until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes (check at 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick—when it’s done you’ll want to see a few moist crumbs but no batter). Let cool completely in pan, remove, and dust with powdered sugar.



Whole-Wheat Banana, Nut, and Chocolate Chunk Bread


A while back I made banana and chocolate chunk bread…. and then dipped that in egg batter and pan-fried it, French toast style. I thought it was completely divine, but perhaps a bit rich and decadent for breakfast. And while I’m never opposed to something excessively indulgent, perhaps for the first and most important meal of the day, one should try to eat a bit more sensibly?

Some people seem to think banana bread is healthy enough as is, since, ya know, it has bananas in it. And fruit is good for you! While banana bread is a far more practical breakfast than a donut, there’s still room to make it a smidge healthier without making it dull. For starters, try substituting all-purpose flour with whole wheat. And then perhaps use honey instead of sugar, egg whites for whole eggs, and applesauce for oil.

Should you make all of these substitutions? Sure. With this particular banana bread recipe making all of the healthier substitutions results in a very good product. However, the texture was just a bit on the dry side. Still exceptionally good, but if you opt only to make a few of the healthier substitutions you may end up with something a bit more moist and rich.

… and yes, you could skip the chocolate, but why would you? This is pretty healthy so why not indulge a bit?


Whole-Wheat Banana, Nut, and Chocolate Chunk Bread

Adapted from AllRecipes

  • 2-3 medium to large very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey or 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs or 2 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 heaping cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
  • 1/2 heaping cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I prefer bitter-sweet)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mash bananas (you want 1 heaping cup of mashed banana). Mix in oil and honey (or alternatives).

Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition (if using egg whites only, add all at once).

Add vanilla, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix baking soda and hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter, mixing until combined. Blend in chopped nuts and chocolate. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just one or two moist crumbs. I usually check around 50 minutes to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.


Whole-Wheat, Zucchini Chocolate Cake (and One Ingredient “Ice Cream”)


For the past few months I’ve tried to live (nutritionally, at least) a somewhat balanced life. I’m not going to lie, some days I have a slice of pizza for lunch and a burger for dinner… but I’ll have raw veggies as a snack and a green smoothie for breakfast. It all evens out in the end, right?

That’s not to say I don’t make a conscious effort to eat healthy grains and lean proteins most days, but every now and then that just doesn’t happen. And I’m okay with that. Especially when I end a meal by eating a healthy version of cake.

Now, typically when one thinks of cake, one thinks of copious amounts of fat, white flour, and sugar. While those three elements add up to typically delicious desserts, more often than not it’s not going to be healthy. But, I’m pleased to say you can make and enjoy a cake that doesn’t have sugar or white flour, and is packed with whole-wheat and vegetables. Who woulda thunk?

Whole-Wheat, Zucchini Chocolate Cake

From Texan Erin Baking

  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped bitter-sweet chocolate (small chop)


From Barefoot Contessa

  • 4 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, and vanilla (the honey may be stubborn, but it will mix together eventually). Stir in the eggs and then the Greek yogurt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir, just until combined. Fold in the zucchini and the chopped chocolate. Pour into prepared pan and even out the top.

Bake in prehated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a smidge of moist batter (typically you would want to cook cake longer, but this particular recipe can dry out easily so you want to take it out of the oven before entirely cooked [especially since it will continue to cook once out of the oven]).

Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then flip out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Once cooled, prepare ganache by melting the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler. You’ll want to stir occasionally until everything is nicely melted together. If it looks too thick, add a few more splashes of cream.  Drizzle over the completely cooled cake.


One Ingredient Ice Cream 

As a bonus, here is a “recipe” for “ice cream”; use as many bananas as you feel fit (one banana is roughly one small serving of ice cream).

  • Peel bananas, slice into small pieces, freeze for 2 hours.
  • Place frozen banana slices in a food processor and pulse until consistency becomes creamy. Prepare to be shocked how the texture is almost exactly that of a rich, decadent ice cream.


Air-Runn Is 1 Year Old! Red Velvet Cupcakes!


Happy first birthday to my blog (which, coincidentally is the same day as my half birthday)! I cannot believe it’s been a year of blogging (although my lack of belief probably has to do with my immense lack of posts the first 6 months or so). I’ve really enjoyed having every single one of you as readers and I’ve equally enjoyed reading all of the other blogs I’ve come across… it’s nice to meet so many people from different states, countries, continents, and hemispheres who enjoy food as much as I do.

What’s in store for year two of Air-runn? I certainly hope to post more original recipes and I definitely hope to take better pictures (although, ahem, improving on something so mediocre probably won’t be difficult).

My first blog post was a cake recipe (orange chocolate chunk) so it seemed fitting I start my second year with another cake recipe.

One of my good friends makes some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had and she was kind enough to share her red velvet cupcake recipe (perhaps my favorite cupcake). The recipe originates from Bubble Room, a restaurant she goes to anytime she’s in Florida. She initially found the recipe published in a cookbook but has since made a few minor alterations. I’m not privy to all of her changes (undoubtedly she doesn’t want to share all the secrets to her amazing cupcakes) but I think I did the recipe justice.

Besides the fact that this recipe tastes divine, it was relatively forgiving and incredibly simple. For instance, when I had already scooped the batter into the lined muffin tins, placed them in the oven and realized I forgot to put sugar in them, the final product didn’t suffer when I had to scrape out the batter into a bowl, add the sugar, and re-pour into the muffin tins. Woohoo!


Red Velvet Cupcakes 

Adapted from a friend’s recipe, who adapted it from here

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup  buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°

Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together egg, vinegar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon into 12 lined muffin tins and bake 20-22 minutes (although I test at 18). When cupcakes are done, a cake tester (such as a toothpick) will come out with one or two moist crumbs. Let cool slightly, remove from muffin tins, and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with the following frosting recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter for a few minutes, until light and fluffly. Add vanilla, salt, and sugar, turn mixer to low (you don’t want to cover yourself in a cloud of powdered sugar), and mix until combined, light, and fluffy. Use immediately.