BEETS!! A nice purple color. Keep the juice to dye Easter Eggs and throw away the beets. AT least that is what I usually do. Except this time I used the beets and threw away the juice {It was after Easter}. I NEVER buy beets fresh or otherwise. I have tried them. I don’t care for them. Or brussel sprouts! But I am willing to try new things. Like Nigel’s Beet Cake.


    200g/7oz butter, plus extra for greasing
    250g/9oz cooked and peeled beetroot {I used canned beets}
    200g/7oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
    4 tbsp hot espresso
    135g/5oz plain flour
    1 heaped tsp baking powder
    3 tbsp cocoa powder
    5 free-range eggs, separated
    190g/6½oz golden caster sugar {About 1 cup fake sugar}
    crème fraîche or double cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Spray a 20cm/8in cake tin {Since I made ½ of the recipe I used a 6”} generously and line the bottom of the tin with a round of baking parchment.
Blend the beetroot in a food processor to a rough purée.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, then add in the hot coffee.
Stir in the butter in small pieces and leave to soften. Then allow to partially cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks until frothy and then stir into the chocolate and butter mixture.
Fold in the beetroot.
Whisk the egg whites until still peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the sugar.
Fold the sugar and egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour and cocoa mixture.
Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for about 30/40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan.
Remove and serve with whipped cream or dust with powdered sugar.


    The cake was moist, somewhat dense, but airy at the same time. No beet taste, but rather bland. I would add more cocoa and a smidgeon more sugar. I dusted with some powdered sugar but later I added some chocolate ganache. That sweetened up the treat quite nicely.

    Original Recipe

BTW this weeks theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is Rootie Patootie! which means we needed to use a ROOT VEGGIE for our dish. Which is why I made BEET cake!! So click on over and see what other roots appeared on our menu this week.

Today is the last day for I heart Cooking Club to cook/bake with Donna Hay. We started using Donna’s recipes the first of October 2013 and enjoyed all of it for 6 great months. I have been using several of Donna’s cookbooks for a few years so it was fun to make more than just one or two a month.

We could pick any recipe we wanted to say Good-Bye. What better than a dessert. The end of the meal. The end of lots of meals. The end of IHCC and cooking with Donna!

I’m not ashamed to admit that BRWONIES are in the top three of my favorite desserts. The others being cheese cake and bread pudding. So here are Donna’s basic and speedy brownies


    8 oz melted butter
    1 1/3 c sifted AP flour
    2 1/4c sugar {I subbed one cup Splenda for one cup of sugar}
    3/4c sifted cocoa powder
    4 eggs
    1/4 t baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor. {I used a blender}
Pour the batter into a lined 8″ square cake tin and bake at 370 for 50 min. {I baked mine a little less because we like fudgy brownies.}

These were good brownies. Cakey on the outside, fudgy in the center. Just right.

The recipe is on page 160 of Donna’s off the shelf:cooking from the pantry.

How are the other IHCC members saying good-bye to Donna? See for yourself by visiting CATCH YA LATER, DONNA HAY.

March 31 thru’ September 28 we will cooking with NIGEL SLATER! Great recipes coming!! Come join us!!

Somehow when the words BROWNIE and CAKE are used in the same sentence it is enough to make one’s heart beat fast and entice one to make a recipe more than just one or the other. After sitting down and calming one’s heart!! And while I really wanted to make the whole cake I knew we didn’t need it, so I made 1/2 in a 5″ springform pan.


Now, picture a moist, fudgy cake layered and topped with dark chocolate ganache.


PERFECTION!! I only made one change in the recipe, contributed by Marcel Desaulniers, I used DARK chocolate (63%cacoa) rather than the semisweet chocolate called for. I think I liked it better! AND — it’s healthier!!!! {YEAH, RIGHT!!} Oh, and did I mention it has COFFEE in the filling? It is a subtle flavor enhancing the chocolate. Cannot beat that!!

You can find the recipe in Dorie’s Baking with Julia on page 282.

Check with the other DORISTAS for their chocolate goodness.

I know I have said it before. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert. Ever! The creamy concoction of cream cheese, flour, eggs with various and sundry other ingredients depending on whose recipe you use. I have my faves – Junior’s is always good. AB has a good one. And I have one I found EONS ago that has become my go to. Dorie’s is also good. I haven’t found a cheesecake yet I don’t care for. This weeks Tuesday with Dorie/Baking With Julia recipe was a cheesecake with an ingredient I have not used before – Mascarpone Cheese. It is not something I buy very often. Not unless I have a recipe that actually calls for it. I had a potato recipe that called for 2TBL so when I bought it I knew eventually I would use the rest. So thank you BwJ for this weeks cheesecake.

I usually make 1/2 or 1/4 of baking recipes these days because with just the two of us we don’t need a lot of sweets. But we were going to friend’s for dinner so I made the full recipe. Instead of one cake I made 12 bite-sized and a 4″. Perfect!


While good, it wasn’t my fave. And it rose so much it just about overflowed all my pans.


You can see it cracked. A lot! So no party for this cake.


The recipe called for all the chocolate to completely mixed into the batter until no white showed, but I like a swirled cheesecake so I only mixed it some. It didn’t affect the taste, just how it looked.

I don’t think I will make this one again. But visit with the other Doristas and see how they liked it.

The recipe is on page 256 of Dorie’s Baking with Julia and was contributed to the book by David Ogonowski

It is cold outside. There is ice on the trees. For the first time in many years. Matter of fact, we have actually had four Winter Events this year. All in the space of one month. ONE MONTH!! THAT is unheard of in the Deep South. Louisiana with snow/ice. FOUR. TIMES!!


So what am I drinking? Lots and lots of hot tea. Oh, and this HOT CHOCOLATE from Donna Hay


Such a simple way to get warm. Simply pour very hot milk over some chopped chocolate. How easy is THAT?? Of course I couldn’t leave it at that. I added some cinnamon. Just a pinch. Just enough to make the hot chocolate even better!! Yes!


The idea of how to make Donna’s chocolate is on page 138 of new food fast. What are the other peeps of IHCC drinking? Check it out at…..


So I joined a new baking group – Avid Bakers Challenge. Do I need another group? No, but it looks like fun. Baking once a month from King Arthur Flour website. I always try to have time to bake from KAF but never seem to have the time to go through all the wonder recipes. I have made some of their breads but not much else. So this group will make me do what I want to do. And for the first month we are baking one of my favorite treats – brownies. But not just any brownie -


    chocolate cheesecake brownies

A layer of brownie covered by a swirl of cheesecake and chocolate brownie. And that’s the other fave of mine – cheesecake. So if you can combine the two I am in dessert heaven.

I only made 1/2 of the total recipe and made them in a 7″ x 7″ pan. I did have some brownie batter left over so I made 3 small cupcake brownies.

After baking for 40 minutes they were mostly done, but with brownies, that is okay. I like fudgey brownies. I like them gooey in the middle.

I still need swirl lessons so they aren’t pretty but they were wonderful. Definitely a repeat when I need a brownie – with and without the cheesecake swirl.

Click on over the to ….


…and check out the other brownies from this months’ challenge. The link for the recipe is on the blog post.

AS far as I’m concerned, there is nothing better than a nice quick bread. I usually make banana nut because I always have at least 20 bananas breeding in the freezer. I was just about to make up a batch when Chaya posted her choice for this weeks Wednesday with Donna Hay. As luck would have it – it was a variation of Banana Nut Bread. GREAT choice, Chaya.


Bananas. Chocolate and Hazel…. wait, I don’t have (and really don’t like) hazelnuts. But I love and had plenty of PECANS in the freezer. So here we are with banana, PECAN and chocolate bread!!

The only real difference between this bread and the one I usually make is the addition of 1 cup (90g) chopped dark chocolate. Which of course I didn’t have enough of so I subbed the remainder with bittersweet chocolate shavings {thanks, Mom} and increased the sugar just a smidgeon. Perfect!!! The cake was good. And even after a week it is still moist. Yes, a WEEK!! I have had a cold and couldn’t taste ANYTHING so I saved about 4 sliices JUST FOR ME!! Definitely taste the chocolate in this one.

The recipe is from Donna’s Blog so yo can try it quite easily.

And while you are buzzing around the NET hop over to
Chaya’s blog
Kayte’s blog,
Gaye’s Blog, and
Sarah’s blog for their breads.

And if you want to join us we have a weekly recipe and post it on Wednesdays (DUH!!) No pressure, just leave one of us a comment!!

Mine is chocolate! Deep. Rich. Velvety. Chocolate. And right now it is off limits.

Annie looked it up for us: Guilty Pleasure

    A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment. Fashion, video games, music, films, and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.Wikipedia

So this month it is my Guilty Pleasure for Let’s Lunch.


    Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

I found these on Brown Eyed Baker’s blog and they looked perfect for something I couldn’t shouldn’t eat!! Bittersweet chocolate, COFFEE, a dollop of ganache on top before they were baked, with buttery chocolate frosting. Perfect! And because I wanted to make them MORE GUILTY I added Honey Caramel to the tops of the cuppys before I baked them. And THEN I drizzled them with a little of the Honey Caramel because….well, why not?! {We found a place called Honeyville while we were traveling thru’ Colorado this summer. Lots of Honey based goodies – wine, chocolate, caramel, even honey!!}Oh. My! Oh. My! Thanks, BEB, I think! The ones I didn’t eat were soooo good! And, yes, not a bit of guilt with the FIRST one!! The recipe makes 12 cuppys so make sure you have 11 friends over for them. Otherwise…….

BTW My other guilty pleasures include Fried Twinkies, Walking Dead, and really bad B-movies of the scary kind!!

Let’s Lunch is a monthly cooking/baking group. Every month we have a theme (Last month’s was PIE) and we all just make what we want to fit the theme.

So check out the Guilty Pleasures of the Lunchers below!

Cheryl’s Japanese Crisp Choco Bites
Lisa’s Mars Bar Slice
Emma’s Homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Grace’s School Cafeteria Peanut Butter Bars
Dark Chocolate Whoopie Piesfrom Spice Box Travels
Annabelle’s Figs and Ricotta with Honey
Anne’s Purple Yam Jam
Lisa’s Nutella Cookies
Lucy’s Cheesy Apple Casserole
Tammy’s Pulled Pork
Lsa’a Capt Crunch Sammy

I think that is everyone. Hope I got every one’s name right. Looks like the perfect lunch!!

Using wonton wrappers for desserts is not anything new. I have used them before. Fried and filled with chocolate. So I was ready to use them again when Chaya made her pick for this week.


What you have are layers.

    Wonton Wrapper
    Apple slice
    wonton wrapper

Which is then brushed with butter and baked.

These sounded really tasty, but they were disappointing. Maybe Donna used larger wrappers but there wasn’t enough filling to get much flavor and too much wrapper around the outside. And while the outer edge was crispy the middle was a little leathery.

I filled some with apple and chocolate, some with apple and butterscotch chips (Thank you, Kayte) and some with apple and cinnamon chips. All of the fillings were tasty, there just wasn’t enough to get lots of flavor.

I don’t think I will make these again. At least not in this size.

If you want to try them you can find the recipe on Donna’s website.

And check with Gaye
Kayte and
Chaya to see if they liked them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am always on a quest to find just the right recipe. And I have tried one or two or three. There was even a cookie with Espresso in it but I didn’t make those. Now that I am So Much More Sophistocated (Yeah, Right!) I have learned to use Espresso and like it. Especially in these!!


    Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Using Cadbury’s Dark Chocolate and regular Semi-Sweet chips I added just one 1 Tbl to half the recipe and ended up with 3 dozen cookies. I wish I had added just a tad more espresso. The chocolate seemed to drown out the taste and one was left with just a hint of a coffee aftertaste. But for me, that was okay because I really don’t care for coffee much. I made them more for the Hubs. I would make these again, however.

Peggy of Galettistais this week’s host and the recipe will be on her page.

And please visit the other members of Baking with Julia for their cookies. Maybe they will share!

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