Tag Archives: chocolate

These Witches’ Cauldron Halloween Cupcakes Are Wicked Delicious

Looking for a fun and spooky treat to make this Halloween? Look no further! These witches’ cauldron cupcakes are as eye-catching as they are delicious. I used my favourite one-bowl chocolate cake batter as the base, and topped each with a fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting. 

The addition of handmade witches legs also add a little trick to the treat. To make the legs, all you need is black card stock and striped paper straws. Simply cut out 48 black booties using the card stock, cut each straw into thirds and glue the boot upside down to the top of each straw. What else are you brewing up this Halloween season?

Witches’ Cauldron Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake Base
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk (can substitute equal parts dairy-free milk)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt
1 cup boiling water

Cupcake Frosting
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, or to taste
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
20 drops green food colouring
¼ cup whipping cream, cold
24 gummy fang teeth candy, halved
24 neon worms candy, halved
48 googley candy eyes, for topping
Halloween sprinkles, for topping
24 sets of witches legs (see headnote)

Directions:

Cupcake Base
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-tin cupcake trays with cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla extract until fluffy. Stir in the milk until combined.
3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Beat until batter is smooth.

4. Slowly whisk in the boiling water until well blended.
5. Evenly divide batter amongst prepared cupcake trays. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops bounce back to touch. Let cook completely before frosting.

Cupcake Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 8 minutes.
2. Scrape down the edges of the bowl. Add the vanilla and food colouring. Beat until colour is evenly blended. Add the whipping cream and beat for an additional 30 seconds.
3. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe as desired.

4. Top each cupcake with the fang teeth, neon worms, googley eyes and sprinkles. Finish with a set of witches legs.

Don’t let the scary fun stop there! We’ve got 25+ spook-tacular halloween desserts, plus more frightening cake and cupcake ideas!

The Best Keto Protein Bar Recipe That Totally Beats Store-Bought

Loaded with peanuts, peanut butter, eggs and butter, this decadent tasting keto protein bar is truly superior to anything you’ll find in a package. The base takes cues from a peanut butter cookie, baked until firm and chilled, then topped with a peanut caramel. Dark chocolate and more peanuts top things off before being frozen until set – but you can enjoy them room temperature if you’re on the go. Satisfy your sweet tooth and fill up on protein and fat with these rich treats!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Caramel Keto Protein Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake and Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours (including chill time)
Makes: 15 to 20 bars

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup natural peanut butter
⅔ cup granulated keto sugar (allulose or xylitol)
2 large eggs
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ tsp salt

Peanut Caramel
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup granulated keto sweetener (allulose or xylitol)
½ cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Chocolate Peanut Topping
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (99% for lowest sugar content, if possible), melted
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
Salt, to taste  

Directions:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl, mix to combine butter with peanut butter. Mix in sugar and eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Mix in peanuts, coconut flour and salt until combined and then evenly spread into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, until dry to the touch on top and set around the edges. Cool to room temperature, then freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel.

Peanut Caramel
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat and continue to cook until browned, about 5 minutes (this adds additional flavour and colour). Whisk in the sweetener, cream, molasses and salt. Without stirring, cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened.
2. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts and vanilla. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Both the cookie base and caramel need to be chilled and/or kept at room temperature, otherwise the caramel will soak too far into the cookie base.
3. Once the caramel has cooled to room temperature, remove the chilled peanut butter cookie base from the freezer or refrigerator. Spread peanut caramel evenly over peanut butter cookie base and freeze for 1 hour, until caramel is firm.

Chocolate Peanut Topping and Serving
1. Slice chilled cookie base into thirds and from there, slice each third into whichever size you prefer to make about 15 to 20 bars.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the bars evenly. Drizzle with melted chocolate before it sets, then top with peanuts and salt to taste.
3. Freeze until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes, and enjoy. Store leftover bars airtight in the freezer for up to 2 months or refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Don’t let your cooking streak stop there! We’ve compiled 14 tasty keto-friendly snack recipes, along with the easiest keto dinners to make this week. Heading out for dinner instead? Don’t sweat it. Here’s what to order at a restaurant if you’re on the keto diet.

Classic hot chocolate

5 Ways to Spice Up Santa’s Hot Chocolate This Holiday Season

We know that during the holiday season, your to-do list can seem longer than Santa’s. So, when you find time to cuddle up on the couch with a hot chocolate, ditch the powder and treat yourself to a decadent and delicious hot chocolate fit for the man in red himself.  Whether you want to stick with the classic or try something new, we’ve got you covered with five variations below.

Classic Hot Chocolate Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp 35% cream
1/4 cup good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Whisk cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Whisk dry ingredients from above, alongside 1/4 teaspoon of ground canela or cinnamon and a pinch of chili powder (preferably ancho). Set aside. Heat milk, cream and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Dairy-Free Chocolate-Covered Almond

Whisk dry ingredients from above, however mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar and not 2 teaspoons. Set aside. Heat 1 cup of almond milk in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of smooth almond butter. Whisk until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Mint

Whisk dry ingredients from above, however mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar and not 2 teaspoons. Set aside. Heat milk, cream and 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Caramel and White Chocolate

Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped white chocolate and 1 tablespoon of Dulce de Leche. Whisk until smooth.

Pumpkin Spice

Whisk 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped white chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Don’t want to make your own hot chocolate? Order a cup of hot cocoa at one of these 10 cozy hot chocolate spots.

chocolate-cherry

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Cookies are Twice the Fun

Why make one flavour of cookie when you make two?! Crafting two different cookie doughs might seem excessive, but when it comes to holiday cookies, the more the merrier! Here we paired a cinnamon-spiced chocolate snickerdoodle together with an almond cherry chip cookie for a festive flavour palette that is sure to impress. A drizzle of melted chocolate and holiday sprinkles make them cookie-exchange ready.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-sprinkles

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes: 24 to 28 cookies
Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1 cup + 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Chip Dough:
½ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
splash almond extract
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup dried cherries

Assembly:
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Melted dark chocolate
Sprinkles

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-chocolate-drizzle

Directions: 
Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1. Place the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the second dough.

Cherry Chip Dough:
1. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and mix until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries until combined.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-plate

Assembly:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the ¼ cup granulated sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Swirl to combine.
3. Scoop out 1 tablespoon-size balls of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixer and roll around until coated.
4. Place the coated dough ball on a lined baking sheet. Press the back of a tablespoon into the center of the dough ball to create a small indentation (like when creating thumb-print cookies).
5. Scoop out ½ teaspoon-size balls of the cherry chip dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the well of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough. Gently press both doughs down together until they are flush with each other.
6. Continue with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set. Cool the cookies on a wire rack before decorating.
8. To decorate, fill a piping bag, parchment cone, or zip-top bag with the melted chocolate. Snip the end to create a small opening, and drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles before the chocolate dries.

Looking for more treats? Try Anna Olson’s Best Cookie Recipes.

anna-olson-fudge-brownies

The Only One-Bowl Brownie Recipe You Need (With a Secret Ingredient!)

The secret to moist, chewy, fudgey brownies? Mayonnaise!  Everyone’s favourite sandwich spread is the key to success when it comes to the perfect brownie. Also worth mentioning is that mayo replaces the need for any butter, which means far less saturated fat.

Anna Olson’s One Bowl Chocolate Brownies

Makes: 1 9-x-13-inch (3.5 L) pan

Ingredients:

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
⅔ cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
⅔ cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
½ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and line a 9-x-13-inch (3.5 L) baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour boiling water overtop. Let the chocolate mixture sit one minute, then whisk to melt.
3. Whisk in the sugar, then add the mayonnaise and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.
4. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until evenly blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the brownies comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
6. Brownies slice best when chilled, but taste best at room temperature.
7. Once sliced, you can store the brownies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Want more baking recipes and tips? Find out how to fix your biggest baking fails here.

Super Easy S’mores Popcorn Perfect for Summer Weekends

From Oreos and Goldfish to Ben & Jerry’s, companies everywhere have come out with a chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow version of their signature treats to please customers everywhere. Somehow s’mores have become the Pumpkin Spice Latte of the warm weather season. To carry on with the trend everyone seems to be so fond of, I gave one of my own favourite snacks the s’mores treatment. I topped sea salt popcorn with drizzled milk chocolate, toasted marshmallows, graham cracker bits and a little bit of caramel, to create a treat that’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

s'mores popcorn in white bowl

S’mores Popcorn

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bag sea salt popcorn
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup light brown/golden sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup broken graham crackers

s'mores popcorn ingredients on counterop

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the bag of popcorn over the entire surface. Preheat oven to broil on high.

2. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and stir in the sugar. Cook while stirring until completely combined and smooth. Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Be sure to work fast as the caramel dries quickly and becomes difficult to spread.

Related: Scrumptious S’mores Recipes to Try This Summer

3. Divide the chocolate chips into two batches and heat them in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. Mix with a spoon until smooth and drizzle over popcorn. Repeat with remaining chocolate chips.

4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top and place the pan on the top shelf of the oven to roast the marshmallows. Be alert: you only want the marshmallows to be lightly golden and this can take as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Make sure you remove the pan from the oven before the chocolate gets burnt.

s'mores popcorn ready for the oven next to red bowl of melted chocolate

5. While still warm from the oven, sprinkle the graham crackers on top. Gently press to help them stick to the chocolate. Refrigerate for about an hour and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Published August 26, 2015, Updated August 1, 2018

anna-chocolate-cake

4 Must-Know Chocolate Rules for Better Baking

A chocolate dessert is a welcome sight at any time of the year, no special occasion required. While there’s a certain set of rules for making chocolate truffles and other candy, chocolate desserts like cakes, tarts, mousses and more requires some specific know-how. From knowing when to use baking chocolate vs. chocolate chips to decoding chocolate percentages, this information will help you deliver desserts that are as decadent as they deserve to be.

Rich-Chocolate-Mousse-Cake

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

1. The Difference Between Chocolate Chips and Baking Chocolate

There are two types of chocolate used in baking recipes and they have distinct characteristics and functions.

Chocolate Chips

Sold in a bag and measured by volume (i.e. 1 cup/250 mL), chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape when stirred into a batter or dough, like in Chocolate Chip Cookies. They often contain ingredients like soy lecithin that helps the chip hold its shape and stay in place within the recipe. That is why chocolate chips are not meant to be melted and folded into recipes like chocolate cake, frosting or brownies. You will find that when melted, the chocolate is thick and even grainy since the chips weren’t designed for this function.

Baking Chocolate

Sold in squares, bars or large chips called “callets,” baking chocolate is also called couverture chocolate. It is made to be chopped and melted to be used in baking. It is important to weigh your baking chocolate for recipes, and not measure it by volume. When melted, baking chocolate is smooth and glossy, making it easy to stir into your recipes. Chocolate sold in bars labelled as “chocolate” can be used in baking, but if the bar is labelled as a “candy bar”, then that is eating chocolate, not baking chocolate.

2. The Difference Between Dark, Milk and White Chocolates

Dark and milk chocolates are made up of cocoa solids (also called cocoa liquor), cocoa butter, sugar, flavouring such as vanilla, and sometimes emulsifiers like lecithin. Milk chocolate is milder than dark chocolate because it has fewer cocoa solids and more sugar and cocoa butter, making it melt more easily and taste a little sweeter.

White chocolate has all of the above ingredients except for the cocoa solids, so the absence of that bitter character makes it taste so mild and sweet. On the opposite end of the spectrum, unsweetened chocolate has no sugar and very little cocoa butter, so it is strong and very bitter.

Because these differences in cocoa contents, dark milk and white chocolates melt and re-set differently from each other. Because of this difference, they’re not interchangeable in recipes. Other ingredients such as the sugar, cream and butter would need to be adjusted if you planned on changing chocolates.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Classic Dark Chocolate Mousse

3. Chocolate Percentage Explained

In the world of dark chocolate, you may notice that it is called semisweet or bittersweet, or the package has a percentage on it. This percentage indicates the cocoa liquor content. The higher the percentage, the more intense the chocolate.

Semisweet needs a minimum of 35% cocoa liquor but typically falls between 40 and 65%. Bittersweet chocolate falls between 66% and 99%, but 70% is my preferred number for desserts that have a chocolate intensity and balance.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s White Chocolate Mousse Cups

4. Baking Chocolate Storing Tips

Be sure to store chocolate, well-wrapped in a cool, dark place, but be sure not to refrigerate or freeze chocolate. If you see a white “dust” on the surface of your chocolate, it is not mould. It is called bloom, and is simply a little cocoa butter rising to the surface of the chocolate, and is a sign of a temperature change at some point. It is perfectly fine to use.

Are you a chocoholic? Try Anna Olson’s best chocolate recipes.

Easy 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

This concept is nothing new, but I have yet to find an easier peanut butter cup recipe. So here ya go! (And personally, I think these cups taste way better than the brand name store-bought variety.) Note: We used Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut spread (crunchy) which is sweetened with agave nectar. Using a natural peanut butter on its own works as well — and you can add in your own sweetener if you like.

vegan-peanut-butter-cups

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter

vegan-peanut-butter-cups-1

Directions:

1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use a silicon muffin tray
2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips until silky smooth. Put 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of the muffin liners and then spread it out evenly with your finger or a spoon. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.
3. Then take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and put that on top of the hardened chocolate. Don’t spread this out with your finger as it will settle itself and stay mostly in the centre. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.

2-ingredient-peanut-butter cups

4. If your chocolate has become sludgier while you were waiting just put it back on the double boiler quickly to re-melt it. Then take 1 to 2 teaspoons more of melted chocolate and put that on top of the peanut butter. The peanut butter won’t be super hard but it will hold up for the rest of this process. If you’re rushed you don’t really have to put the peanut butter part in the fridge again.
5. You can push the melted chocolate into the sides a bit with your teaspoon to ensure it runs down to cover the peanut butter. This won’t necessarily happen, especially if you don’t refrigerate the peanut butter part, but I don’t mind them looking a little rustic and oozy anyway!
6. Smooth the top of the cups if you desire, but they might just settle nicely on their own. Then refrigerate this for at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or at room temperature if you want softer cups.

Looking for more vegan treats? Try our Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

The Cream Egg Brownie You Absolutely Need to Try

Who says cream eggs have to be round? Cake and Loaf Bakery has taken everyone’s favourite Easter treat and made it even better.

Inspired by Cadbury Creme Eggs, these Cream Egg Brownies are topped with a heavenly milk chocolate ganache, golden and white chocolate cream layered on top of a deep fudge brownie. In case your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied, there’s also a Cadbury Mini Creme Egg nestled inside the chewy brownie base.

It’s no wonder these beautiful bars have created a cream egg frenzy. The sweet squares have garnered a buzz around Hamilton, Ont., causing the bakery to quadruple production to meet the demand for their trendy treat.

Cream Egg Brownies

These tasty creations are the brainchild of bakery owners Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller, who started Cake and Loaf Bakery in 2011 . You may remember Josie  from her winning appearance on Season 2 of  Donut Showdown, where she impressed us with her sweet skills.

The pastry pair pride themselves on sourcing ingredients locally and baking their creations from scratch. If you’re in the Hamilton area, you can try this deliciously creamy layered dessert yourself. While you’re there, you can also enjoy their handcrafted Cream Eggs made with fair trade organic chocolate.

Cream Egg Brownies

Unfortunately, the recipe for their Cream Egg Brownies is top secret, but you can make their Donut Showdown winning doughnuts at home.

Get the recipe for Sriracha Peanut Butter Crunch Donuts.

Anna Olson’s Dainty Easter Egg Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This easy and unique dessert is an exciting take on chocolate covered strawberries and dazzles on your spring sweets table.  Anna shows us how to give the time-honoured treat an Easter spin for a play on chocolate eggs that’s fresher, juicier, and prettier, too. It’s the chocolate and strawberry combo we all know and love, presented in a brand new way. There’s not a tastier way to enjoy fruit this Easter.

 

Make Your White Chocolate Eggshell

Whole strawberries with their stems cut off are dipped in melted white chocolate, taking on the appearance of an eggshell and acting as a blank canvas for your Easter egg designs. If you like brown eggs, this would be a great place to melt down some unwrapped chocolate eggs to coat the strawberries in place of, or in addition to, the white chocolate. For ease of dipping, choose firmer strawberries, not overly ripe ones that may bleed or cause the chocolate to split.

Decorating Eggs with Royal Icing

Anna uses royal icing to decorate the white chocolate dipped strawberries. This is simply a mixture of water, icing sugar and meringue powder, and you can get Anna’s royal icing recipe here. The royal icing is neutral base can be tinted in any colour you wish; in this case, it’s delicate springtime pastels. To pipe, Anna uses a parchment cone, which is easy to make – she demonstrates the technique in this quick video.

Add Some Sparkle

The royal icing also acts like glue when soft for a shower of decorator’s sugar (more colour!). This adds texture and vibrancy to really make the chocolate dipped strawberry eggs pop. Head to your local bulk food store and see the Easter-inspired sparkles and sprinkles they have available.

Do-Over Your Design

Anna notes that if you’re not happy with your design, just wipe it off before the royal icing sets. You don’t even need to re-dip the strawberries. As long as the white chocolate is firm, you can remove any unsightly icing squiggles in a pinch.

Have an Egg Decorating Party

For an interactive Easter activity, dip a few pints of strawberries far enough ahead of time so that the white chocolate can set, about 4 hours at room temperature or about 30 minutes if you put them in the refrigerator. Then, lay out sprinkles, tinted royal icing and any other edible decorations at the table for kids to embellish their own eggs.

Double the Chocolate

Easter wouldn’t be the same without mountains of chocolate. So, if you’d like even more chocolate on your white chocolate dipped strawberry eggs, decorate with a contrasting dark chocolate or coloured white chocolate instead of royal icing. This imaginative recipe is versatile and adaptable to your favourite sweet drizzles.

Keep the chocolate and berries theme going this Easter with Anna Olson’s Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Torte, decorating the top with these chocolate dipped strawberry eggs for a real showstopper.

vanilla-chocoalte-cake

1 Easy Vanilla Cake, 3 Stunning Ways to Customize it

If baking is a science, then this is an experiment you’re going to love. We’ve created a one easy vanilla cake recipe that bakes up into a moist, buttery dessert. But the real beauty of this batter is that a few ingredients additions, and it can be transformed into an entirely different dessert. 

Bake this master recipe into a cinnamon swirl coffee cake, a chocolate and vanilla marble loaf or maybe even a rustic rhubarb upside-down cake. You’d never guess that each of these delectable desserts starts with the same batter.  Get ready to add this astoundingly versatile recipe to your baking repertoire. 

vanilla-cinnamon-bundt-cake

Basic Buttermilk Batter

Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Makes: 1 cake

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or sturdy wooden spoon, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
4. Add in one-third of flour mixture followed by one-third of buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with buttermilk. Mix until batter is just combined. Do not over-mix.
5. Proceed with any one of the three cake variations below.

vanilla-chocolate-bundt-cake

Variation 1: Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf
Divide Basic Buttermilk Batter (recipe above) evenly between two mixing bowls. In one bowl, mix in 2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp sugar; leave the other batter as is. Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Pour one-third basic batter into pan lengthwise, covering only one side. Pour one-third chocolate batter into pan beside basic batter for two long strips of cake batter. Repeat additions, forming a checkerboard pattern, finishing with chocolate batter. Run a small wooden spoon side to side through loaf to create the marble effect. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

 

vanilla-rhubarb-upside-down-cake

Variation 2: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
Toss 2 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb in a large bowl with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Let rhubarb and sugar stand for 2 minutes. Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan. Chop 2 Tbsp unsalted butter into small pieces and arrange over the bottom of cake pan. Add rhubarb to cake pan in an even layer over butter. Pour Basic Buttermilk Batter (recipe above) over rhubarb and smooth top. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate so the rhubarb is on top and remove pan. Cool, slice and serve.

vanilla-cinnamon-bundt-cake-sliced

Variation 3: Glazed Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of brown sugar with 2 tsp ground cinnamon. Pour half the prepared Basic Buttermilk Batter (recipe above) into a greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over top. Pour remaining batter into Bundt pan and smooth top. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool. To make the glaze, mix 1 cup icing sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and 3 Tbsp buttermilk. Add more buttermilk if necessary to reach a thinner consistency. Pour glaze over cooled cake. Slice and serve.

Eager to keep baking? Try these Best Birthday Cake Recipes.

buttertart crack candy

Saltine Cracker Toffee Gets a Maple Butter Tart Twist

Butter tarts rank with as one of the most classic and loved Canadian treats. The gooey filling and pecan crunchiness inside flaky pastry is hard to beat. These sweet, buttery flavours, combined with saltine crackers and creamy chocolate make an addictive, utterly delicious treat that’s perfect for holiday candy making and gifting. Give this sticky, sweet, crackly treat a try with dark chocolate and chopped almonds for a different take, or white chocolate and trail mix – the possibilities are endless. Deceptively easy to toss together, this will be your most-requested holiday treat, year-after-year.

butter tart crack candy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Serves: 24

Ingredients:
48 saltine crackers
1-1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups milk or dark chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line bottom of a 17×11-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange crackers in one layer on sheet (you may need to break some to fit), set aside.

Crack prebake

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Carefully pour mixture immediately over crackers (it does need to completely cover the crackers as the mixture will spread in the oven).

Crack choc chip

3. Bake until butter and sugar mixture has spread over crackers and bubbling, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven (rearrange crackers using a butter knife quickly if they shift at all during baking) and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evening; let stand 3 minutes, allowing chocolate to melt. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread chocolate evenly over cracker mixture and sprinkle with pecans. Cool for 20 minutes at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for at least 45 minutes, or until completely chilled through.
4. Once mixture has cooled completely, break into rustic pieces. Serve. Store covered at room temperature.

For another easy candy recipe to add to your holiday cookie tin, try this festive Canadiana-themed chocolate bark.

Pumpkin swirl brownies

Pumpkin Pie Swirl Brownies Are The Best Of Both Worlds

If you love brownies and pumpkin pie (and who doesn’t?), this recipe is one to try. It’s two classic desserts, fudgy brownies and spiced pumpkin pie, combined into one decadent treat. Such simple luxuries blended together make for a surprising combo that’s hard to beat, especially when it’s pumpkin spice time. Add to that a gorgeous swirled finish, and you won’t believe that something so pretty could be so easy!

pumpkin brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Cool Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Makes: 24 brownies

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, more for pan
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray or grease with a little extra butter and line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix to combine sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder. Transfer 1-1/4 cups of the batter to a medium bowl and to this stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until fully combined. To remaining batter in the large bowl, mix in cocoa until fully combined; reserve 2/3 cup cocoa batter and place in a small bowl.

Brownie batters

3. Spread all but reserved 2/3 cup cocoa batter into the prepared pan. Next, spread the entire amount of pumpkin batter evenly onto the cocoa batter. Overtop of batters, dot with reserved 2/3 cup chocolate batter. Use the tip of a paring knife or skewer to drag and swirl cocoa batter dots into the pumpkin and cocoa batter bases below, creating a marbled look.

Brownies unbaked swirl

4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely in pan before cutting into 24 squares. Serve. Freeze brownies for up to 2 months, or refrigerate for up to 1 week. To up the decadence upon serving, top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with cubes of the chilled pumpkin swirl brownies.

Brownie baked uncut

If you can’t get enough of these chocolate-meets-pumpkin pie Franken-treats, you’ll love our chocolate pumpkin Nanaimo bars, too.

Nanaimo bars

The History of Nanaimo Bars: A Beloved Treat

Located on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo, B.C. is a verdant, broody kind of place; a typical Pacific coast town, washed out in foggy greys and steel ocean blues. But this misty city is also the namesake for what might just be the sunniest dessert square the world has ever produced: the Nanaimo bar, a soft layer of yellow custard sandwiched between rich chocolate ganache and a coconut-graham crust.

Nanaimo bar

Nanaimo bars’ history likely predates the first printed recipes.

The first known recipe for Nanaimo bars appeared in the 1952 Women’s Auxiliary of the Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook and was labelled “chocolate square.” One year later, a similar recipe was published in Vancouver’s Edith Adams’ Cookbook, this time going by the name “Nanaimo Bar.” These are the bar’s earliest known publications, but Nanaimo Museum interpretation curator Aimee Greenaway figures they’ve been around much longer.

Nanaimo bars in the 1953 Edith Adams cookbook

This display from the Nanaimo Museum features the Edith Adams’ Cookbook, the first to print the well-loved recipe under the name Nanaimo bar.
Nanaimo Museum

“What’s always interesting with Nanaimo bars is the folklore,” she says. “You could get any number of different answers from people in Nanaimo if you ask them about the history of the Nanaimo bar.”
Greenaway particularly likes the stories from Nanaimo’s coal mining era. “Nanaimo was founded on coal — that’s really what developed it into a settlement,” she says. “The story was that families were sending Nanaimo bars on sailing ships from England to Nanaimo. That was kind of interesting, but we haven’t been able to find anything to back that up.”

Chelsea Barr, destination marketing officer with Tourism Nanaimo has heard similar tales. “You get stories all the time from grandmothers saying, ‘That was something my mom used to make me and it was in the lunchboxes of all the miners going into the mines,’” she says.

It’s certainly easy to imagine miners carrying Nanaimo bars to work, transporting sparks of custardy sunshine in the darkness of the mines. But neither Nanaimo’s historical miners nor current residents have an exclusive relationship with the dessert; over the last century, similar sweets have popped up across North America, going by names like “New York slice,” “London fog bar” and “prayer bar.” Still, when it comes to branding, Nanaimo is the winner, bar none. “Of course, we know that Nanaimo Bars originated in Nanaimo, or they would be called New York Bars, or New Brunswick Bars,” boasts the City of Nanaimo website.

The city has been instrumental in promoting the dessert. In 1986, then-mayor Graeme Roberts launched a contest to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe. In the years since, winner Joyce Hardcastle has enjoyed promoting the B.C. treat, appearing in numerous newspaper stories and even starring in a segment of Pitchin’ In with Lynn Crawford. “It’s kind of like being a celebrity, but for one item,” she says. The secret to her prize-winning recipe? “I wouldn’t say secret, because I say it all the time, but the trick is to use unsalted butter,” says Hardcastle. “It makes the bars a bit more mellow.”

Joyce Hardcastle and Nanaimo bars

Joyce Hardcastle pictured with her prize-winning Nanaimo bars,plus souvenir tea towels and mugs featuring her recipe, and a sampling from her collection of newspaper clippings.

Nanaimo bars are easy to make at home, but travellers with a sense of adventure (and a high-tolerance for sugar) can check out the Nanaimo Bar Trail, where sweet adaptations and variations abound. Tasting options include deep-fried Nanaimo bars and Nanaimo bar cupcakes, lattes, fudge and martinis.

For tired feet, sore from pounding the trail all day, Kiyo salon offers a Nanaimo-bar themed pedicure. “It is amazing,” says Barr. “Your feet will smell like chocolate for the entire day.”

Want to try Joyce Hardcastle’s ultimate Nanaimo bar? Get the winning recipe here!

S'more Pops

Get All the Flavour Sans Campfire with Fudgy S’mores Pops

Toasty, chocolatey s’mores are great for cool summer nights by the campfire. We love the Canadian flavours of graham crackers, chocolate and golden, toasted marshmallows so much that we created a whole new s’mores inspired treat. This one is for hot summer days by the lake or pool. Fudgey, frozen pudding pops are covered with toasted meringue and dipped in graham crumbs to create the ultimate summertime snack when there’s no campfire nearby.

S'more Pudding Pops

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes + 8 hours
Makes: 6 pops

Ingredients:
3 cups prepared chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup water
3 egg whites
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

S'more Pops

Directions:
1. Divide prepared pudding into 6 popsicle moulds. Let freeze for minimum 8 hours.
2. To make the meringue, heat 1 cup sugar, cream of tartar and water over high in a small sauce pan. Let the sugar fully dissolve and the mixture reduce slightly, about 4 minutes
3. Meanwhile, beat egg whites to soft peaks in an electric mixer. Add remaining sugar and whip.
4. While the motor is still running, pour a stream of the sugar mixture into the egg whites along the side of the bowl. Careful not to pour directly into the whisk or the hot sugar mixture with splatter.
5. Whip until peaks are stiff and mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
6. Place graham crumb in a small bowl.
Place a baking tray in the freezer.
7. Working quickly, spoon meringue on both side of one pudding pop. Using the back of the spoon, make swoosh patterns in meringue coating.
8. Dip the top of the pop into graham crumb to coat the top inch.
Using a kitchen torch, toast both sides of meringue until lightly golden. Avoid torching graham crumb.
9. Place pops on baking sheet set in freezer and repeat with remaining popsicles.
10. Keep in freezer until ready to serve. Or enjoy immediately.

S'more Pops

Craving more s’mores? Try our delectable Nanaimo S’mores.

Gorgeously Gooey Creme Egg Nanaimo Bars for Easter

Creme Eggs are one of the guiltiest pleasures around Easter, with a deliciously sweet centre covered with smooth milk chocolate. Everyone has their different way of eating them, weather it be licking out the middle or biting into it whole. Our way is the Canadian way: in the form of Nanaimo bars.

In this recipe, we start with the classic coconut base and swapped out the custard middle layer of the classic Nanaimo bar, replacing it with a cream egg centre and topping the chocolate layer off with some crushed mini eggs. The result is an ooey, gooey scrumptious Easter treat.

creme egg nanaimo bar

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves: 16

Ingredients:
Crumb:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cream Egg Centre:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar
4 drops yellow food colouring
1 drop red food colouring

Chocolate Topping:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup candy coated chocolate mini eggs, roughly chopped

creme egg nanaimo bar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the graham cracker crumb with the cocoa powder, coconut, sugar and salt in a bowl. Pour in butter and egg and stir to combine. Press mixture into an even layer in a greased 9×9-inch cake pan. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. To make the cream filling, combine corn syrup, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on high speed until fully combined and creamy colour. Add in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is thick and creamy. Remove about 1/3 of mixture and place in a separate bowl. Mix separated mixture with yellow and red colouring until colour is a rich even yellow.

3. Spread the white mixture over crumb into smooth even layer. Swirl spoonfuls of yellow mixture into white layer. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

4. Place chocolate and butter into a glass bowl set over a heated pot of water. Do not boil water. Stir until chocolate is melted and shiny. Remove bars from refrigerator and spread chocolate evenly over cream filling. Sprinkle chopped mini eggs over chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Cut bars into 16 even squares.

Looking for more treats? Try 10 Tasty Nanaimo Bar Recipes.

Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust Brownies

Sweet and salty, and inspired by a time-honoured ballpark snack, these decadent brownies are sure to satisfy. The salty peanut butter pretzel crust makes for an unexpected and welcome contrast to the dense dark chocolate brownie topping. A drizzle of melted white chocolate adds an extra later of sweetness and decadence.

peanut-butter-pretzel-crust-brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Serves: 9

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust:
2 cups fine pretzel crumbs (from 6 heaping cups whole pretzels)
1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter (natural or regular will both work)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
9 whole small or medium-sized pretzels

Topping :
1/3 cup white chocolate chips, melted

peanut-butter-pretzel-crust-brownies2

Directions:

Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust :
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil.
2. In a large bowl, mix all pretzel crumb ingredients until fully combine.

Brownies:
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, followed by eggs. Gradually mix in flour until fully combined.
2. Tightly pack into bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
3. Pour brownie batter over prepared pretzel crust and smooth out top.
4. Place 9 pretzels over surface of brownies, so each brownie will have 1 pretzel.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the brownie portion comes out with slightly sticky with a few damp chocolate crumbs.
6. Cool in pan for 30 minutes.

Assembly:
1. Cut brownies into squares, using the whole pretzel as your guide, for 9 brownies.
2. Drizzle each brownie with white chocolate.
3. Serve immediately or allow chocolate to harden, about 30 minutes. Once chocolate has set, store leftovers airtight in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Weekend Brunch: Black Forest French Toast Roll-Ups

Forks and knives are totally optional when serving this super-fun twist on French toast. This unique brunch dish is easy to make, can be frozen to enjoy later, and the filling options are endless.

Here, we start with soft white bread coated in a homemade chocolate ganache, topped with cherries and rolled up tight. The rolls are then dipped in a cinnamon-spiced, chocolate milk-based French toast mixture, then cooked in a pan until all sides are golden brown. Impressive, satisfying and sure to please a crowd!

black-forest-french-toast-roll-ups

Prep: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp butter
1 pinch salt

French Toast Roll-ups:
8 slices white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 cups of whole cherries (pitted)
2 eggs
2/3 cup chocolate milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/4 cup chocolate shavings (optional)

black-forest-french-toast-roll-ups2

Directions:

Chocolate Cherry Filling:
1. To make the ganache, place chocolate in a medium glass bowl.
2. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-high until it simmers with small bubbles along the edges, about 5 minutes. Pour over chocolate. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add in butter and salt and stir until combined.
3. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of cherries. Set aside the remaining whole cherries.

French Toast Mixture:
1. Using a rolling pin, flatten out each slice of bread.
2. Spread chocolate ganache towards one side of flattened bread slice. Sprinkle about 2 tsp of chopped cherries over chocolate and tightly roll up the slice of bread. Continue with remaining slices.
3. In a shallow dish beat chocolate milk, eggs and cinnamon to create the mixture dip for your bread.
4. Heat 1/2 butter in a large skillet over medium. Dip each roll into egg mixture and place in skillet. 5. Cook in batches of 3 or 4 and grease skillet with butter as needed. Turn the rolls as they cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes.

The Fixings:
Top with whipped cream, warmed cherry sauce, reserved whole cherries and chocolate shavings.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ice cream equals summer. But for those that can’t enjoy dairy versions, there’s an extremely healthy solution to satisfy your ice cream cravings.

This vegan peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream uses frozen bananas as its base, creating the smooth and creamy texture of regular ice cream, just without the cream (and calories!). You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven after you try this.

888_peanut-butter-banana-ice-cream2

Ingredients (1 serving):
2 sliced and frozen bananas
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
Pinch sea salt
Drizzle of agave (or maple syrup), optional

888_peanut-butter-banana-ice-cream

Directions:
1. Place frozen banana slices in a food processor and run the machine until it resembles a crumb like consistency.
2. Add peanut butter, cacao nibs, sea salt and agave, and whiz a little longer until you get a soft-serve ice cream consistency.

Tip: You can add many other things to this frozen banana ice cream base. Try candied nuts, almond butter or another favourite nut butter, cinnamon, frozen blueberries, chopped dates, candied ginger… The options are endless.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Chocolate Cowboy Cake With Fudge Frosting

Even if you can’t make it to the Calgary Stampede, you can bring a little bit of rodeo home to your ranch with this fun and exciting cake.

Nothing says ‘classic’ like a chocolate cake with a decadent fudge frosting. Add a little espresso powder to the icing for a little jolt of ‘Yeehaa!’ Sophisticated in flavour, with a rustic homemade presentation, this cake is perfect for celebrating your big rodeo win or your special cowboy’s birthday.

cowboy cake

The perfect blank canvas (well, chocolate canvas), this cake is a great base for any party theme you’re after. The sides and top are iced, not too perfectly,  to give it a rustic, approachable look. Bring the excitement of the Stampede to your cake by topping it off with little horse and cowboy figures, homemade bunting, and sugared rosemary sprigs.

Chocolate Cowboy Cake with Fudge Frosting
Cook time: 30  minutes
Makes: 4-layer, 6-inch cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
175g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
270g (1-1/2 cup) brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Frosting:
225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (50 g) powdered sugar
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
100 g dark chocolate (70%), melted and cooled
2 tsp espresso powder (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven at 350°F. Grease 4, 6-inch cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix until well incorporated.
4. Add in the dry ingredients and start mixing on slow. Gradually add the milk and sour cream/Greek yogurt.
5. Divide batter evenly into 4 cake pans. I used an ice cream scoop to make sure each pan had equal amounts of batter. You can also you a scale to do this.
6. Bake for 28-30 minutes until the cake springs back when you press the top gently. Let cakes cool before removing them from pan.

Cake icing

Frosting:
1. Beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and espresso powder and beat until smooth.
2. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

Cake Assembly:
Level the cake layers if they have a domed top. Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Apply a large dollop of frosting and smooth it out, right to the edges of the cake. Place the second layer, apply frosting, and repeat. It is okay if things get a bit messy. With an offset spatula, coat the cake with the remaining frosting.

Decorations
Sugared Rosemary Sprigs
What You’ll Need:
1 egg white
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Whisk egg white until it’s no longer stringy in consistency.
2. With a pastry brush, lightly brush a thin coat of egg white on rosemary sprig.
3. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let dry overnight.

‘Yeehaw!’ Bunting 
What You’ll Need:
Two skewer sticks
Twine/string
Nice cardstock/paper
Glue, pen, scissors

Directions:
1. Apply a small dab of glue at the end of each skewer stick and attach each end of the twine to a skewer stick.
2. Cut out 6 small triangles from cardstock. Write the letters of ‘yeehaw’ on each of the triangles.
3. Attach to twine with a small amount of glue.

Looking for more delicious cake ideas? Try our 25 Best Birthday Cakes.