Irish Soda Bread

I’m not Irish, but I love bread.  Actually I just plain love carbs, especially the Beelzebub of the food world white carbs.  White bread, white potatoes, pasta.  Surprisingly not white rice, I prefer brown.

I am attempting to incorporate more whole wheat into my diet.  But I don’t like whole wheat pasta.  It is just not right.  And whole wheat bread can sometimes be dense, dry and flavorless.  So I am making a personal compromise.  Like with this recipe.  Instead of using all white flour, I substituted half for whole wheat flour.

Also I have given up alcohol for lent.  I didn’t realize how many opportunities I have to drink.  At home with dinner, or dinner out with friends.  Happy hour with coworkers.  Celebrating good news or toasting to lost loved ones.  I say all this to maybe explain why I chose to plump the raisins for the bread in Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey and water, as opposed to just water.

I really like this recipe.  It is from my coworker Molly.  And it is super tasty with salted butter.  Yummy!  Butter is something I will never give up or substitute.

Irish Soda Bread
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 3 ½ cup flour (I used ½ white flour, ½ whole wheat flour sifted)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz raisins (plumped, I used a water/whiskey mixture)
  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk
  • Slightly less than 1 stick butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Drain liquid from raisins and add to flour mixture. Stir until coated.
  4. Add butter melted.
  5. Add buttermilk.
  6. Place on wax paper.
  7. Knead dough, adding flour, till dough does not stick to your hand.
  8. Place dough into 9 in frying pan
  9. Bake for 45 minutes till golden brown. (Check at 40 minutes .)
  10. When done, flip it out and let it sit.


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Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

I love chocolate mousse- it is light and airy yet rich, almost buttery from heavy cream.  I have also been known to dog a piece of chocolate cake or two.  This triple chocolate mousse cake seemed like a perfect marriage of the two.

Triple chocolate mousse cake and ice wine

Triple chocolate mousse cake and ice wine

I have avoided making this cake for a least one year.  My co-worker friend made it for her anniversary (or maybe hubby’s birthday) and brought in a couple of pieces for me.  I died.  She made it again for their housewarming.  This time Manchild, my beloved, (a moniker he came up with in high school) had a chance to taste.  He is not a fatty about desserts but he loved it.

She warned me, it was rather labor intensive.  I prefer lazy desserts… brownies and blondies are one pot wonders.  Cakes are pretty simple too.  But cookies…ehhh.  Pies….uhhhh.  Too much work.

Cake with cocoa

Cake with cocoa

But I had to make this mousse cake.

Last month was our anniversary.  I thought this was a special enough occasion to make it.

Cake and ice wine

Cake and ice wine

It did take a couple of hours, but it was more than worth it.  It was rich, intense, smooth and delicious.

Next time I will smooth out the edges with a large knife or offset spatula, to get those purty pics.   But this was very tasty as is.  We enjoyed it very much!

  • Base layer-
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ¾ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs, room tempature and separated
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt
  • ⅓ packed (2⅓ oz) light brown sugar, crumbled to remove lumps
  • Middle layer-
  • 5 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • Top layer-
  • ¾ tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 6 oz white chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1½ cups heavy cream chilled
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving (optional)
  1. For base layer
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch wide round springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla; set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites gently until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (center will spring back when pressed gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. The cake will collapse when it cools. Do not remove cake from pan.
  5. For middle layer
  6. Combine hot water and cocoa powder in a small bowl; set aside. In a large heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly 2 to 5 minutes.
  7. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 2 to 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.
  8. For top layer
  9. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, stir in gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).
  10. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  11. Garnish the top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa powder.



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Pound cake

My grandmother is a typical Southern woman.  Proud of her cooking and baking.  Thinks nothing any restaurant can make comes close to her cooking.

She really is a great cook and baker.  She used to regularly make birthday cakes for her daughters and us grands.  My mom’s request would be coconut cake, with coconut freshly grated by my grandmother’s antique Moulin grater.  One year my birthday came around and she asked what I wanted.  I said anything but pound cake.  So of course, surprise, she made pound cake.

This is a time that I am happy my grandmother is not computer literate.  What I am about to say would break her heart.


Buttery pound cake

Buttery pound cake

I do not like her pound cake.  But to be fair, I don’t like most pound cake.  It’s usually too dense and at times dry.  Thick, dry cake.  Terrible.  This is not the case for Gussie’s cake.  It has a lemon taste to it.  But there is absolutely no lemon in it.  It’s probably psychological.  Whatever.

One year my cousin gave me a recipe, knowing my issues with pound cake. And, gasp, I really like it.  And so do most of my friends.


Pound cake

Pound cake


This time I decided to make it in loaf pans, just to switch things up.  But I think I will stick with the bundt.  It’s what I am used to.  In fact, I can’t recall my family every making a loaf pound cake.  I am not sure if that’s a regional or cultural thing.


Slices of pound cake


Whatever it is, it’s not natural for me.  To be honest, I thought it tasted different.  But I think that was me being silly.  It was yummy as usually.


Want some?

Want some?


The loaf does make a purty picture though.    Thanks again to Thien for da bomb pictures!

Pound cake
A simple and easy cream cheese pound cake
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese
  2. Add sugar gradually
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mixture may appear curdled.
  4. Add flour gradually. Fold in vanilla.
  5. Place in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cooking times may vary, so check at 5 minute intervals. A cake tester should come out clean.


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Jewish Apple Cake

My summer season CSA ended last week and yet again there were apples.  Over the past 6-8 weeks, there has been apples with every share.  I have been swimming in apples.

We had a wedding to attend in October.  The groom, in addition to being gluten intolerant, is Jewish.  And his mother is a fabulous baker.  So I thought maybe she had the bomb Jewish apple cake recipe.


She did not.


But said that her good friend did.  Her friend asked for my address so she could send it to me.  I asked “My electronic address, for email?”.

“No, your street address.”

I thought, well who knows when I’ll see that.  I mean who uses snail mail.

But she really did mail the recipes, with notes and her phone number in case I had questions.  How wonderfully sweet!

These fabulous photos were taken by my dear talented friend Thien.  Maybe one day, I’ll be as good as she is. Thanks Thien for the help!


Jewish Apple Cake  (adapted from recipe)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-8 large tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons sugar
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan. Combine cinnamon and 5 tsp sugar, set aside.
– In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 cups of sugar.  Stir in vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla.  Mix well.
– Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared pan.  Top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 cinnamon sugar mixture.  Pour remaining batter over top and layer the remaining apples and cinnamon sugar.
– Bake for 70-90 minutes


My notes… It took sooooo long for this cake to finish.  Maybe because I was hungry, waiting to go to breakfast, but after while I lost track of the 5 minute increments.  So it will definitely take 90 minutes if I use the same stove (not that I’m moving or getting a new stove).  I think next time I may diced the apples and mix into the batter instead of layering.


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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween.  I love it all.  The decorations, costumes, colors, trick-or-treating, scary movies.  As an adolescent, I would go overboard.  Decorating the living room window, so all the neighbors could see.  Painting my nails orange and black, alternating colors of course.  Trick-or-treating, later in life than I should have.  Group outings to see Saw 1, 2 and 3.

But since moving out for college, I have yet to decorate, I can’t stand the feeling of nail polish on my fingernails.  I don’t have anyone to go see horror movies with.

But sometimes I do get dressed up for parties.

Halloween- Gamma Rays


This year I got a little pie pumpkin in my CSA share.  I probably should have figured it was for food and not decoration since it was in my share of food, but honestly had plans to put it in the hall like our neighbor.  But the stem got all dry and shriveled.  So then I realized, I need to use this for food.  Slow motion.

I roasted the flesh and used in a corn spoonbread.  But the best part was having seeds to roast!

Pumpkin seeds- beauty shot


The joy in roasting pumpkin seeds for me in part deliciousness but part nostalgia.  It is an activity my mom and I would do.  Plus it’s a twofer activity- get a carved pumpkin for decor and seed for snacks.


Pumpkin seeds- close up

And they are so simple to make.   Scoop, clean, dry, season, roast and eat!

What are you penny thought on pumpkin seeds?


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Clean flesh from seeds.  Pat dry.  Lightly oil and season to taste.  Bake for about 20 minutes until just lightly golden. 

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Football Cupcakes and FAMU/DSU game

Saturday was the first day of fall and what a beautiful way to start the season.  I am anticipating my SAD (seasonal affective disorder) to kick in- so dramatic- and I was going to write about that, but maybe I’ll do that at a later date.

I was invited by my friend Karimah to a Florida A&M University versus Delware State University game, with tailgating before.  I love to support the HBCUs, being a two-time HBCU grad.  To contribute to the festivites, I decided to make football cupcakes.  I turned to my tried and true Foodgawker and found a site called Thursday Night Baking that had a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  You can find it here.


Football cupcake


The cupcakes were so yummy!  Only thing I may change for the next time is the baking time.  I used two different pans, one lighter than the other, and the bottoms of the lighter pan cakes were just beginning to burn :-/.  So I will check at 18 minutes instead of going the full 20.


Football cupcakes


The weather was perfect, tailgating was great, FAMU won the game and the cupcakes were delicious.  What more can a greedy girl ask for.  Check out pics from the game below.



A toast for good luck


DSU halftime show



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