Nana’s Chocolate Pound Cake

chocolate bundt cake

December was a difficult month for me to say the least. I lost a grandparent to cancer, which I talked about in my previous blog post, Orange Chiffon cake from 1948, but I also lost a job. I only had the job for a few months. I started out as part time and somehow ended up assistant manager… whoa! Although I liked the job, it wasn’t where my heart was. My heart belongs here, at home, with my baby boy ( he is now 4 =) ) and my blog. So when things started to get rough at work I saw it as a way out and took it.

It’s funny how sometimes God puts you in a situation to teach you more about yourself, isn’t it? Although I quit my job and was feeling guilty and worthless, I learned 3 very important things about myself:

#1 People are going to let you down sometimes – People are going to hurt you, it’s part of life. Sometimes people choose to hurt you on purpose and sometimes it’s just an accident. In the end, we are all people, we all make mistakes, and we all have our own struggles. So I’m slowly learning that I need to forgive and forget, let go and let God.

#2 Stick up for yourself, you’re worth it! –  I have learned that I need to stick up for myself, I’m worth it. This is something that I have struggled with my entire life. I feel like God has big plans for me and learning to stick up for myself is a must for the next door to open. I will tell you this much if that job was a test from God, to see if I would stick up for myself, I failed. I got a big F for failure on that one. But the good news is that we serve a God of second chances, a forgiving God. So I guess if God can forgive me then I need to forgive myself  and make sure I am prepared to pass the next text.

#3 Do what makes YOU happy – After losing my job, I had a long talk with my mom about everything. I told her how I felt like a failure and that my blog was not near as good as other ones I have seen. She said to me ” Emily, do you like to blog?” I said “Yes! I love it!” “so do it!” she said. Then she said to me ” Do what makes you happy! You don’t have to be good at it as long as it makes YOU happy. You will become good over time.” That kinda stuck with me. And it is so true. I have seen a huge improvement in my blog from when I first started till now. So I guess that means I am slowly starting to get good at it?? 😉

well, you know what they say. You live, you learn, and you eat cake… lots of cake. So enough with the life lessons and lets get to this cake recipe. This is another recipe of Nana’s. Last week was Orange Chiffon Cake from 1948 and this week is Chocolate Pound cake. This was one of my Nana’s specialties and also my sister and I’s favorite.

Chocolate Pound Cake

3 sticks butter (softened)

3 cups of sugar

3 Cups of Flour ( sifted)

5 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa (sifted twice)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Cup Milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

5 eggs

10X sugar to dust cake with ( optional)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees In a mixing bowl

In a mixing bowl, add sifted flour and cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. While stand mixer is still running add one egg at a time. Once eggs are mixed in slowly add mixing bowl of dry ingredients alternately with milk; add vanilla. Bake in a greased and lined bundt cake pan or angel food cake pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When cake is finished baking it will look slightly moist on the top, like it should continue baking for another 5-10 minutes, you want it to look like this. Allow cake to cool. Go around the edges of the cake with a butter knife and turn cake out on a plate, top side up if using an angel food cake pan. Dust cake with 10X sugar

* Instead of lining the pan you could grease the pan and dust it with cocoa, that’s how I did it.


Cookie Monday! French Macarons ~ Guest Post from Manysparrows.com

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Today I want to introduce you to my friend Christie. We have been friends since high school; which seems like forever ago. Her passion for Christ is mad clear in all that she does. She runs, cooks, blogs, and is a big supporter of anything beef. I actually think I still have a “Got Beef” sticker on my car window that she gave me shortly after we graduated! lol … Enough with the introduction; lets dive into this cookie recipe!

Take it away Christie:

Chris mo final

 

I wanted to break out of my cookie rut and try something different today.  The French Macaron has always intrigued me and while I’ve never tried one, I wanted to take a stab at making some.  Macarons in general are essentially made of almond, egg white, sugar and whatever you choose to fill them with.  They’re tiny little cookies with a crispy crust on the outside and a slightly chewy inside.  The creamy rich filling (whether that be a Swiss Meringue, ganache or jam) perfectly complements the pair of cookies.
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I decided to make the Classic French Macaron with Chocolate Ganache.  This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s French Macaron Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/355759/french-almond-macaroons

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The first step is to mix your dry ingredients.  Mix 1 ¼ cups of 10 x sugar with 1 ½ cups of almond flour  together.  Both were rather clumpy so I put them through my flour sifter to not only get rid of the clumps but to also evenly blend them.

photo 1

You can see here that it was pretty beneficial to sift the two ingredients.  The Almond flour had quite a bit of extra ‘chaff’ and I removed it from the blend to ensure a smooth texture for the cookies.

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Much better!  The 10 x sugar and almond flour happily blended together in perfect harmony!

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In a separate bowl, I used my electric mixer to whip three egg whites.  I beat them together until they formed a fairly white foam.  I threw in a pinch of salt as well.  While still beating the egg whites, gradually add in ¼ cup of granulated sugar, about 1 teaspoon at a time.  When all the sugar has been added and you thoroughly beat the mixture, your egg whites should form soft peaks and hang off of the beaters like so.

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The final step on the cookies is to slowly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites.  Add half of the dry ingredients and slowly fold it in until the dry is fully incorporated with the wet.  Do this again for the second half of the almond mixture and when you do, add in ½ teaspoon of vanilla.Grab a disposable piping bag and fill it half full with the cookie batter.  In order to make perfectly circular and fairly even cookies, you’ll definitely want to use a piping bag.  Line your cookie sheets with either parchment paper or a thin film of olive oil.  Carefully pipe your cookie sheet with the cookie batter and place in a 350 degree oven.

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My cookies took 9 minutes to bake, I pulled them just as the edges were starting to brown.  Leave the cookies on the tray until they have cooled (about 5 minutes) and then carefully remove them from the tray.  Let them continue to cool on wax paper

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This batch made about 60 small cookies (30 filled macarons total), not counting the 4 or 5 I ate along the way.

The chocolate ganache is very simple.  Start by boiling ½ cup of heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan.  In a separate heat-proof mixing bowl, add ¾ cups of dark chocolate chips (I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips) and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Once the cream starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and butter. Let the cream rest on the chocolate for 2 minutes before mixing.

Once all your cute little macarons have cooled completely and the ganache is still fairly warm, cookie assembly can begin.  I just put a small dollop of ganache in the center of one cookie and carefully smashed the second on top until the ganache came to the edges.

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Success!  French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache!  The family is gathering for dinner tonight and these will be a perfect treat after the meal.

French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Cookies:

1 ¼ cup 10 x sugar

1 ½ cup almond flour

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

Ganache:

½ cup heavy whipping cream

¾ cup 60% cacao chips

1 tablespoon butter

 

Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/355759/french-almond-macaroons

Ganache: http://www.marthastewart.com/343907/chocolate-ganache

History: http://www.mrmacaron.com/history/

 

 

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