Tag Archives: Cake

Hot Fudge Pie: What Would Jessie Dish? Week Six

What exactly is hot fudge pie? Before I baked this dish, I was not sure about this week’s recipe from my grandmother Jessie’s recently discovered files.

One thing for sure was that my grandmother liked hot fudge, chocolate, desserts, and sweets, in general.  I recall that she enjoyed a good hot fudge sundae, frequently with coffee ice cream, at the old-fashioned ice cream parlours, which were once common across Chicago.  She liked the Ting-a-Ling, very close to her last residence, a near-north-side condo.  I imagine Jessie visited many of the south side institutions, e.g., Cunis’s, Cunag’s, Gertie’s, or the original Dove Candies – which has become a superstar of the American-commercial-high-end-ice-cream-bar-and-chocolate scene.  When I visit Chicago, I do try to make it to Margie’s Candies, which still serves a traditional hot fudge sundae, featuring their home-made ice cream, in huge white plastic scallop-shell dishes.

In Key West, Florida in the 1950s, Jessie wrote about what happens from eating too much hot fudge pie and such (on the reverse of the above photo).

The hot fudge sauce at these ice cream parlours came in a small stainless steel pitcher (the size of a small creamer), always served very hot and separate from the sundae, with its whipped cream, chopped pecans or other nuts, and, of course, a cherry on top.  It was a revelation to see how a sundae-eater consumed the hot fudge sauce:

  • all in one pour on top of the sundae,
  • poured judiciously and intermittently as he or she ate the ice cream and whipped cream,
  • poured onto the spoon to coat ice cream, one bite at a time, or,
  • in the most audacious move of them all, drunk from the pitcher itself.

These techniques indicated one’s personality, we speculated.

Oh, right, this post is not about hot fudge sundaes. (I do promise to write-up a classic recipe from one of my cookbooks, Lost Desserts, by Gail Monaghan, which features a very special recipe for hot fudge sauce from a Los Angeles eatery, with the perfect viscosity and a truly profound chocolate-fudge flavour).  The hot fudge pie in question is a bit perplexing, as it is neither a pie nor a cake nor a brownie; it is in between a chocolate molten lava cake (the dessert of the 1990s), a self-saucing chocolate cake (very big in the 1970s), and a very moist brownie (timeless!).

For the hot fudge pie recipe… Continue reading

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Individual Impossible Bundt Cakes or Chocoflan: Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Flan-Cakes


I remember hearing in management meetings at one job that men generally need to hear the same thing three times from other men and an amazing seven times from women.  While I do not know if this is strictly true, I came across the recipe in this post three times before making it finally; however, the sources were both women and men – for whatever that is worth in this equation.

First, I watched Rick Bayless prepare ChocoFlan a couple of years ago on Mexico One Plate at a Time.  I always enjoyed going to his restaurants, the first few years they were open in Chicago, when I still lived there.  I never met him or even recall seeing him at Frontera Grill or Topolobambo, but I made sure to watch his television program whenever I can, as he is intelligent, funny, and unsurpassed by any chef specializing in the many diverse regional cuisines of Mexico. (When I wrote that, I was wondering if people might think, “Tostados, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, salsa, and guacamole – are those the diverse regional cuisines?”  Or, “Is chimichanga a region?”  Of course, I quickly realized that you, my dear sophisticated readers, would never think that!!).

The Mexican Hot Chocolate cake batter goes in first.

I saw the episode in July, 2008, when I looked up the recipe and saved it electronically for the day I would need a magical-preso-reverso-chocolate-cake-and-flan for a party.  So then I noticed the mini version on Krissy and Daniel’s fun site, The Food Addicts, and then I thought, the time is nearing when I will now  make a smallish version of the cake.  I checked out their original source from The Food Network, Marcela Valladolid.

After my recent foray into the Bundt-baking world, I remembered my mini-Bundt pans I had bought for a Dorie Greenspan recipe I have yet to make. So I looked up the recipe source Krissy and Daniel featured a week later (the third step) and decided to use most of Rick’s instead, given they were virtually identical and Rick’s descriptions were more detailed.  However, I did use Marcela’s flan ingredients (one less egg but four ounces of cream cheese, in order to use up the latter, sitting around in the fridge!).

Next comes the flan topping.

I adapted it by adding cinnamon and cayenne to make it into a “Mexican Hot Chocolate” version.  This adaptation I decided to do for a Moroccan-Indian dinner party, as the cayenne and cinnamon complemented spices in the dishes the hostess was preparing.  I suggest trying my version, if you like a more lively cake  – remember my “2 x C3” Cocoa-Cayenne Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese frosting?

Impossible?!? The layers have switched places.

More on the fun of the Flan-Cake – and the Recipe
Continue reading

A Lucious Tender Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake: Mysteries Revealed and Resolved on the Bundt Pan

Life is so complicated, isn’t it? Who knew about the controversy swirling around the origins of the Bundt pan/cake, meandering like a chocolate tunnel through a marbled cake?

Apparently, there are conflicting claims for the origin of both the cake and pan. The US introduced the so-called “Bundt” (derived from the German “bundkuchen”) in the 1950s. It seems that a group of women from a Minnesotan chapter of Hadassah, the Jewish women’s organization, approached NordicWare to manufacture this pan. I was very surprised by the Jewish connection.

I always associated Bundt cakes – made from mixes, of course – with their culinary cosmic twin, the Jello mould. Another association for me was the Bundt cake as quintessentially suburban, having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago. But this cake has a venerable history, long before its alleged invention back in the 1950s. It seems that the American addition of a “t” to the name is a valid claim for originality, as far as its orthography is concerned.

The history of the Bundt and the recipe Continue reading

A Sweet-Sassy Finish to the 2010 Olympics: Cayenne-Cocoa Cupcakes with Citrus-Cream Cheese Icing

Cayenne-Cocoa Cupcakes with Citrus Cream-Cheese Frosting

Just before the Olympics started, I baked cupcakes for my friend K’s birthday. The one I chose was a variant of Martha Stewart’s one-bowl cocoa cupcake recipe and La Martha’s cream-cheese frosting.

Citrus olympic rings

Citrus rings bid adieu to the 2010 Olympics

I decided to adapt this never-fail one-bowl very-hypenated recipe to make it spicier (cayenne) and create more depth in the cake (my favourite addition of espresso powder). As I had made Martha’s recipe before in addition to a Mexican hot chocolate cupcake, I decided to synthesize the two for this sassy-zesty variant. To top it off – literally and figuratively – I adapted a classic cream-cheese frosting by adding both lime zest and juice.

With all those words beginning with “C”, the math geek in me decided to rename this combo as “2x C3″: Cayenne-Cocoa Cupcakes with Citrus-Cream-Cheese Frosting. If you are seeking an unexpected yet perfect end to a Mexican/Latin American or spicy Asian meal with chili and lime, look no further.

Baked cupcakes cool

This easy-to-make batter bakes up light and moist

Cupcake gender issues – and the recipe Continue reading

Peppermint candy cane cheesecake 2009

Xmas cheesecake 09

The peppermint cheesecake, just decorated.

For a small island dinner hosted by our friends Jim and Kip (including Kip’s sister as well as her niece visiting from Vancouver), I created the holiday-suitable Peppermint Candy Cane Cheesecake. I adapted it from two reliable trustworthy sources, Dorie Greenspan for the cake, and Nick Malgieri for the chocolate-wafer-cookie-almond crust. The mint extract/lemon in the cake in addition to the topping were adapted from a cheesecake recipe on the Canadian Living website (http://www.canadianliving.com/food/).

My thinking was that the minty aspect of the cake would be refreshing – even though it is a cheesecake – after a holiday meal. The crumbled candy cane circle complemented the minty cake and looked seasonably appropriate in the photos I saw online.

The cake could not have been more creamy and smooth – maybe not quite the texture for those of the more-substantial-granular-cheesecake school (or alumni of MSGCS??) – but rich, luxurious, and classic. The tangy sassiness – or should that be sassy tanginess? – of the lemon and peppermint in the cake was a welcome counterpoint to the silky texture. Another textural highlight was the wonderfully crunchy crust, which was neither mushy nor too-tough-to-cut, as has been the case with some other cheese cakes I unfortunately have met in my past.

Cheesecake interior indicates great height

The peppermint candy cane cheesecake recipe Continue reading