Barry's Chocolate Cake

February 28, 2010 08:48 by Suzy

Our good friend Barry is a wonderful cook and the official chef of most of our neighborhood parties.  He splurged and bought a Big Green Egg last year, and we reaped the benefits of that purchase all summer long.  I think houses in our neighborhood should get a 10-20% bump in price, just for the privilege of having Barry down the street.

This recipe is a neighborhood favorite.  Whenever Barry makes it, we all start singing "Barry's great!  He made us chocolate cake!" like that old Bill Cosby routine.  So when Bridget at Bake at 350 announced that Chocolate was the theme for February, this was the first recipe to come to mind, and Barry was kind enough to share.

Barry's Chocolate Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 3.9 oz package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm brewed coffee
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

8 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.

Cake mix and other goodies

Mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil and coffee; beat for one minute. 

Chocolate Cake Batter

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. 

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fresh from the oven

Pour into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Chocolate ganache

Prepare ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream to a simmer, then pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Barry's Chocolate Cake

Pour over cake.  Enjoy.

If you would like to move to my neighborhood and meet Barry, let me know.  You won't regret it.

Check out all the other Flavor of the Month chocolate recipes at Bake at 350!

Football Fridays - Top 5 Favorite Players

February 26, 2010 15:22 by Suzy

I was going to write about the NFL Scouting Combine, but that seemed so dry and boring.  A bunch of NFL hopefuls subject themselves to countless physical challenges and mental tests, and get ogled in their undies by coaches and scouts.

So instead, I decided to list my Top 5 Players of all time...

#1 Joe Montana

Joe Montana

The first football player I ever fell for...the first Super Bowl I ever watched (1981, against the Bengals)...the first team I ever loved.  Joe will always be #1 for me.  Plus, he proved he had a great sense of humor when he hosted Saturday Night Live and played "Sincere Stu" in the funniest skit ever..."I am happy to meet her."

#2 Brett Favre

Brett Favre

How can you not love Brett Favre?  I know he can be a prima donna (what good player doesn't?) and his retirement decision/indecision has become a constant joke, but I love him anyway.  He loves the game so much, is tougher than anyone, and he is so fun to watch.

#3 Eddie George

Eddie George

I fell for the Titans because of Eddie George.  Yes, he was (and is) gorgeous, but he was such a great player and I loved the whole underdog attitude of the team.  And the Music City Miracle?  It was totally a lateral!

#4 Steve Young

Steve Young

It took me a long time to like Steve Young, since he took the job of my beloved #1 Joe Montana.  He did grow on me though...he played in the shadow of one of the greatest and brought his team to the Super Bowl.  I also love him now on ESPN.  He's a great analyst, is very smart and has a quick wit and great sense of humor.

#5 Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

Yes, he had problems early in his career.  He has more than proven himself to his team and the world.  He has such passion for everything he does and is one of the most intense players I've ever seen.  ("What time is it???")  He has done a lot of good things in Baltimore as well, and he really seems to care about his city and the fans.

Honorable Mentions:
Tom Brady (yummy)
Kurt Warner (one of the good guys)
John Lynch (another intense player who gave it everything he had)

Man, I miss football.  Only 195 days until opening kickoff!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Round 2

February 21, 2010 18:24 by Suzy

As much as I loved my last batch of Cinnamon Raisin Bread, it was a bit heavy for my taste.  So I found another recipe on the King Arthur Flour site, with much better results.  This is a much lighter, softer loaf and the spiral has a more intense cinnamon flavor than the loaf with cinnamon mixed throughout the dough.  This makes some incredibly delicious toast.

About the photo; I had a little trouble getting the rolled dough into the pan, so my spiral is a little messy on the ends.  Not as pretty as it could be, but just as good!

Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Seriously, is there a better combination than cinnamon and raisins?

Cinnamon and raisins

Cinnamon Spiral Raisin Bread
adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour

1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 heaping cup raisins (optional)

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Dissolve yeast with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water.  Let sit until bubbly and expanded, about 10 minutes.

Proof the yeast

In mixer bowl, combine the dissolved yeast with the remaining water, flour, salt, sugar, butter, dry milk, and potato flakes.  Mix with dough hook for about 4 minutes, then add raisins gradually while mixer is running to evenly distribute throughout the dough.  Continue mixing for another 3 minutes, until dough barely cleans the sides of the bowl.

Dough, pre-rise

Place dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm place until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Dough, post-rise

While dough is rising, prepare the filling by combining the sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Cinnamon sugar mixture

Transfer dough to lightly greased work surface and gently pat into a 6" x 20" rectangle.

Spread out dough

Brush dough with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon mixture.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Starting with a short end, roll dough into a log.  Pinch ends and seam to seal.

Place gently into a greased loaf pan and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm place until dough is about 1" above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

Place in pan

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after the first 15 minutes.  (I just realized that I reversed this; I tented it for the first 15 minutes!  I'm guessing it might be a little prettier when done the right way.)  Loaf should be golden brown.

Remove loaf from pan and brush top with butter.  Let loaf cool completely before slicing.

Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Rolls

February 14, 2010 10:54 by Suzy

One of my favorite food blogs is The Pioneer Woman, with Ree Drummond.  She is so funny and always has great recipes and beautiful photography.  This is one of her recipes, but only a half batch.  Her recipe makes 8 pans of cinnamon rolls (you're supposed to make them for friends) but I couldn't imagine having that many cinnamon rolls at once, so I split it.  Big thanks to Beth at 990 Square for featuring this recipe a few weeks ago, or else I wouldn't have found it!

Oh. My. God.  These are so good.  Beware of diabetic coma.

Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt

1 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon

1 lb powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon melted butter

Combine milk, vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan.  Heat to 150 degrees; remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. 

Heat milk, oil and sugar

Put in mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes. 

Sprinkle with yeast

Add 4 cups flour and mix to combine.  Cover bowl and let sit for one hour.  Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix.

Early stage of dough

You can continue making the cinnamon rolls now, or you can cover the bowl and keep in fridge for up to three days.

Sprinkle countertop generously with flour.  Dough is very sticky, so don't skimp on the flour.  Roll into a rectangle, pretty thin. 

Roll out on countertop

Drizzle melted butter all over dough. 

Spread with melted butter

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Starting at the opposite side, roll the dough tightly towards you.  Pinch seam to seal. 

Roll tightly

Slice into rolls about 1 inch thick.  Place into greased 8" or 9" pans.  Cover pans with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Sliced cinnamon rolls in pans

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Just baked cinnamon rolls

Combine all icing ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Add more milk as needed to make the icing thick but pourable.  Drizzle over warm rolls.

Cinnamon rolls topped with icing

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

February 6, 2010 17:07 by Suzy

What to do on a snowy Saturday...

Snowy day

while JD is doing this...

JD shoveling snow

I know...Baking!


Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Adapted from a recipe at King Arthur Flour


1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

1 heaping cup raisins (I would probably use more next time; up to 2 cups)

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 110 degrees)

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the milk and butter to about 120 degrees.  Put in a large bowl and add the raisins, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir together and set aside.

Cinnamon Raisin dough

In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and yeast in the warm water.  Set aside until bubbly.


When the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture and mix well.  Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  (I only needed about 5 cups for this.)


Dough, pre-rise

In a mixer with a dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.  (If you don’t have a mixer, knead by hand about 8 minutes)  The dough will be sticky.  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat on all sides, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 60-90 minutes.


Divide dough in 2 pans

Deflate the dough, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface, and divide in half.  Shape into loaves and place in two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.


Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned.  Cover with aluminum foil if loaves get dark too quickly.  Turn out on wire rack to cool.  Cool completely before slicing.  Makes delicious toast with lots of butter!


Sliced cinnamon raisin bread