Asian-Inspired Ground Chicken

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Kaliningrad Asian-Inspired Ground Chicken

The other night, I wanted to make something new and easy and filling.  I had some raw ground chicken hanging out in my refrigerator and all the rest of the ingredients in my pantry.  I got out a large straight sided frying pan and 20 minutes later, dinner was on the table.  At the same time this was cooking I made brown rice in my pressure cooker and threw together a tasty kale salad with green apples, fennel and cucumber.  

The second time I made this, I prepped all the vegetables and sauce and even the garnish and left it for a few hours until we were ready to think about dinner.  Because everything was prepped, it took ten minutes or less to finish the chicken part of the meal.  My brown rice had been made earlier so dinner was simple and effortless.

Asian-Inspired Ground Chicken

Serves 6

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Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil (or another neutral oil) 
  • 1 cup peeled and diced brown skinned onion
  • 3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh garlic (I do this by hand)
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (mine was a mix of light and dark meat) 
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup tamari sauce
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth (I make this with Better than Bouillon, my best friend)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
  • Pickled red onions if you have them 
  • Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions

Heat a 12-inch saute pan on medium heat.  Add the oil and cook the diced onion for four minutes until softened, add the garlic and continue to cook another minute more.

Add the ground chicken and while it is cooking, break it up into smaller pieces with your spatula.  When it is cooked throughout, season with the ½ tsp black pepper.

Mix the chili sauce, cayenne, tamari, dark brown sugar, sesame oil and broth together in a small bowl with a whisk.  Pour over the cooked chicken in the skillet and stir well.  Bring to a low simmer and then add the cornstarch mixed with water and stir until thickened. Taste and add more pepper if needed.

I put this over cooked brown rice and then sprinkled with red pickled onions and toasted black and white sesame seeds.  Easy peasy.  I know this would be equally good over basmati rice, cooked barley, quinoa or really any grain.



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Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

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Lovely Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

I love lemon anything and I adore poppy seeds, so when I saw Dorrie Greenspan’s recipe for Poppy Seed Tea Cake it wasn’t a question of IF I would make it – but WHEN.  She is three years older than me (!) and an excellent cake lady.  A huge draw for me was that this cake is made by hand with a whisk.  For some reason, I shy away from the food processor or even my mixer and love making things the old fashioned way.

My first go around was good – everyone at the table loved the cake, but I knew I could tweak the formula to have more of a lemon flavor without adding more sweetness.  And I decided to buy fresh bulk poppy seeds since poppy seeds can change flavor over time. I keep the leftover poppyseeds in my freezer, always. 

Basically I ended up decreasing the amount of sugar in the cake, added more lemon zest and lemon juice, took away the vanilla since I wanted a strong lemon flavor, then added a bit of lemon simple syrup to brush on the warm cake and decreased the amount of glaze by quite a bit.  

The second rendition was for Jakey Boy’s birthday in February.  Even though this is a loaf cake I gussied it up with slices of lemon and some raspberries and colorful birthday candles. To say that everyone seemed pleased with the result is an understatement!

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf


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Cake Ingredients
  • 78 grams, (5 ½ tablespoons) salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour (192 grams)
  • 1 tsp non aluminum baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (210 grams)
  • Two lemons (Finely grated zest of both lemons plus 3 Tbsp of lemon juice)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream, room temperature 
  • ⅓ cup (47 grams) poppy seeds
Lemon Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated  sugar
White Glaze Ingredients

⅓ cup confectioners (powdered) sugar 

1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Lemon peel (for skinny lemon curls) 

Instructions

Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rub the inside of an 8 ½ inch loaf pan with my homemade Pam (pay attention to cover the corners of the pan, the sides and the bottom too).  This cake tends to stick to the pan so it pays to be careful to use my pam substitute I posted or butter and flour the pan.

Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.  Put the sugar in a large bowl, add the lemon zest and rub together with your fingers to infuse the sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time and whisk each one as you add it.  Whisk in the lemon juice and then the heavy cream until smooth.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, whisking to gently stir the dry ingredients into the batter.  After the flour is mixed in, pour the cooled butter and stir gently with the whisk.  The batter should be smooth and shiny.  With a flexible spatula, fold in the poppy seeds, and then scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake until the cake has risen and is cracked, 55-65 minutes.  A tester inserted in the middle should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for eight minutes, then rock gently and go around the perimeter with a butter knife to loosen.  Unmold the cake, turn it right side up and cool for 10 minutes before brushing with the lemon juice/water syrup.  Cool all the way.

Using about a half a lemon, I make the lemon peel curls with a special tool called a zester with a channel knife.  I use this tool for any citrus curls I want for garnish. 

For the white glaze, whisk the powdered sugar with enough lemon juice so it is the consistency of maple syrup.  Drizzle from a spoon onto the cake and sprinkle with lemon curls.  This cake keeps at room temperature for four days or can be frozen, unglazed, for a month.

 

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Oatmeal Pancakes

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Perfect Oatmeal Pancakes

I am always trying to incorporate whole grains into my meals these days, which for me is not hard since I oddly LOVE most beans and grains.  It recently occurred to me to use my “bullet” grinder to make oatmeal flour and to use this in place of wheat flour when I can.  Let’s be clear – I have no aversion to gluten but I also like more whole grains.

These pancakes are not sweet and I make a batch then package them in smaller amounts, say three pancakes to a pouch in the refrigerator. That way, I can pull out a serving when one of my grands visits or when I want breakfast and don’t want to think about it too much.  I ended up grabbing a packet of these just last week when I had an early morning plane flight and knew I would be hungry before diving into the sandwiches and fruit and cookies I had packed for the plane.

Oatmeal Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes – about 3 inches in diameter each

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal – grind in a food processor or blender
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce (I always have homemade but jarred will work)
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk or whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh berries or frozen defrosted berries.  Be sure they don’t stick together!
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil or other neutral oil-use more for additional batches if you like
  • 1 tsp butter 
Instructions

Heat a heavy cast iron pan on medium low heat while you prepare the batter.

Place ground oatmeal, salt and soda in a medium bowl.  Whisk together the egg, applesauce and milk and stir until combined.  If it seems too thick, add more milk a bit at a time.  Gently fold in berries.

When the skillet feels warm enough, add the oil + butter and gently heat until hot but not smoking.  Place 3-4 pancakes in the skillet at a time.  Let them rest on one side for at least four minutes, then gently flip with a spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove to a platter and repeat, adding more oil/butter if needed or wanted.

These are great served with fruit syrup, jam or honey.  I imagine they would taste great with tiny diced pineapple or peaches or plums in place of the berries as well if those fruits are in season too!

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Summer Vegetable Slaw

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Spectacular Summer Slaw

My sister Susan mentioned the original version of this slaw, (Poolside Sesame Slaw) published by Smitten Kitchen.  Her photos looked so appealing and after reviewing the dressing ingredients (miso, tahini, sesame oil, etc.) and the raw chopped colorful vegetables –  I had to make it.  

It has been three weeks since I had this the first time and I have since tweaked and changed the formula for my taste buds and for the other senior citizen who lives in my house.  Said male does not like certain spicy flavorings (i.e. sriracha) or fresh ginger in large amounts.  I have to say that even with the changes I made, I really love this slaw.  Today we had it stuffed inside homemade flour tortillas.  It is good alone, with sliced grilled chicken or tofu or seafood or meat – cook’s choice.

My only requirements when making this is that I use a variety of colors.  Personally I love yellow and red sweet peppers but my daughter is allergic to all but green peppers.  I punched up the color with purple cabbage, carrots, snap peas, fresh corn kernels and radishes.   Use whatever is raw and in your refrigerator.  This makes an excellent bring-to-a-picnic salad.  I now keep a tub of the salad separate from the dressing and a bag of salty peanuts and/or toasted pumpkin seeds to add at the end.  

Summer Vegetable Slaw

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Dressing Ingredients*
  • ½ tsp peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini (I always use Soom tahini)
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive or neutral oil such as grapeseed 
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

*Full disclosure: I did not measure a single ingredient here—fuller disclosure, I am good at guessing amounts after all these years of cooking.  You decide.

Slaw Ingredients 
  • 4 cups thinly sliced mixed veggies: peeled carrots, English or persian cucumber, celery, yellow or red bell peppers, sugar snap peas and/or snow peas, fresh kernels of corn, radishes.  As long as you get 4 cups total, use any quantities you desire of each individual vegetable.
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red or napa cabbage. 
  •  I add some thinly sliced dinosaur kale or spinach just because
To serve 
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts 
  • Handful chopped fresh chopped herbs if you like to add at the end 
Dressing Instructions:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar whisk until smooth.  Taste and add more of anything you need.  You should have about ¾ – 1 cup of Miso Sesame Dressing.

Salad Instructions:

Holding back the peanuts and herbs until you begin to toss the salad.  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and combine with half of the dressing, adding some or all of the remaining dressing to taste. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. 

Do ahead: The dressing and chopped vegetables (except the cilantro, which might wilt faster), can be stored separately and will keep for up to five days in the fridge.  Mine never lasts that long.

 

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Mothers Day Vegetable Salad

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Mother’s Day Salad

I hosted Mothers Day brunch this year, partly out of necessity and partly out of “where can we go with 12 people, three of whom are under the age of 4?”  Instead, I pretended that I was still in the catering business and made all the old comfort foods I used to create for Bar or Bat Mitzvahs.  My house smelled like a synagogue.  That is a good thing.  I always cook to excess so that my family can take home enough food to have for dinner, my gift to them. 

A smoked fish and bagel platter was a must and it was fun to drag out my old huge tray and fill it with homemade hummus (made with homemade beans, thank you very much).  Whipped cream cheese, cucumber, Greek olives, tomatoes, red onion, marinated artichoke hearts, and jammy eggs.  

Indulgence at its best!

Recently I spotted a recipe in the Washington Post from Ellie Krieger.  The photo looked so colorful and appealing that I marked it “to make.”  There is really nothing special in the salad except that the flavors taste of spring and cutting ribbons of carrots elevates the salad a notch.  I switched out the herbs and simplified the preparation too. 

I cut corners and prepped all the veggies the night before, put them in a sealed container, and made the dressing.  I used frozen peas, rinsed the night before with lukewarm water then drained, dried and added to the rest of the vegetables.  The next morning I chopped the fresh dill and then tossed everything with the dressing about a half hour before we ate.  

I only used half of the dressing and kept the rest refrigerated to have the following week on a different salad.  

Mother’s Day Vegetable Salad

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and both ends removed
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed with white and light green parts only
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped dill weed, stems removed before chopping
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches asparagus (I used the fatter asparagus and peeled the stems)
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed and drained 
Instructions

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrot into ribbons, pressing the carrot against a cutting board for leverage to get the widest ribbons possible. If the ribbons are very long, cut them into bite-size pieces, 2 to 3 inches long. You should get about 1 cup. Halve the scallions lengthwise, then cut them across into 1-inch long pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the carrot and scallions together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the carrots and scallions and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Fill a large, deep skillet about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until firm-tender but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath (keep the water in the skillet boiling) and chill completely, then transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the asparagus to a medium bowl.

If using fresh peas, add them to the boiling water and cook until they are firm-tender, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice bath. (Add more ice if it has melted.) Drain. Transfer the peas to the bowl with the asparagus.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots and scallions to the bowl with the asparagus and peas. Add two tablespoons of the marinade to the salad and toss to combine. Add the fresh dill and retoss.  Taste and season with additional salt, if needed; garnish with fresh dill, and serve.

PS: The next time I make this, I will add some thin slices of fresh radishes from my garden too.  I am thinking this would be a great salad to bring to a picnic – put the veggies and dill in one container and bring a jar of the dressing, then combine a bit before you eat.

 

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Rhubarb Scones

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Rhubarb Scones

As an Iowa girl, I grew up with a patch of rhubarb to the side of our screened-in porch and I have fond memories of eating stewed rhubarb in the spring and early summer.  I especially love the sour taste of rhubarb when juxtaposed against something sweet..so when I found a quasi recipe for rhubarb scones, I had to try them (or my version at least).  

Despite the fact that these are quite different from most of the scones I bake – I love how these turned out.  They are lighter, not very sweet and not as pretty as other scones since the little pieces of rhubarb poke out when baked.  Nonetheless, I will sacrifice the beauty for their taste and seasonality. 

I made these when my grandsons slept over after the eleven year old’s birthday.  He in particular loves breakfast breads or scones in the morning – even though he will tell you he is not a morning person.  Neither am I, truth be told.  I could easily stay up until midnight and be fairly productive the next day. I do arise around 6:30 AM though and I get things done, but if I could live in an alternate universe I would sleep until 8:00 AM, then go to bed again after midnight.  Asher gave these a thumbs up!

But I digress.  Here is the recipe for a very easy, make-by-hand, rhubarb scones.  Make them while you can still get fresh rhubarb!  I might try adding a little grated fresh orange zest to these too!


Rhubarb Scones

Makes 8-9 scones

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Ingredients: 
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Scant ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick cold salted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cold kefir, buttermilk or half and half
  • 1 ¼ cup fresh rhubarb, cut into smallish pieces (⅓ inch approximately)  
  • 1 Tbsp sparkly white sugar (to top the scones before baking)
Instructions:

Preheat the oven  to 375 degrees with the shelf in the middle.  Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment.

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a stainless steel mixing bowl and mix together.  Add pieces of butter and mix in using a pastry blender or two forks until coarse crumbs form.  Combine the vanilla and kefir/buttermilk and pour into the mixture, stirring until it starts to come together.  Add the diced rhubarb at the end, which might help moisten the dough.  If it is really dry, add another tablespoon of kefir.  Mix just a bit until it is one piece with very little dry flour. 

Pat the dough into a 11 x 6 even rectangle.  Lightly sprinkle the top with sparkly sugar.  I do run a rolling pin over the top so it is even.  Cut the dough into nine pieces with a 3-inch oval cookie cutter, then re-roll the scraps to make the final one or two – or cut the dough into 8-9 squares/rectangular pieces.  

Gently place the scones on the parchment lined cookie sheet, at least two inches apart, and bake for 20-22 minutes until just starting to brown.  Remove the scones on the parchment to a cooling rack.  Leftover scones store well at room temperature in a sealed container for three days or in the freezer for up to a month.  Gently reheat before serving if you want them to taste fresh!

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Very Lemony Couscous

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Lemon Couscous

Oftentimes, when I prepare dinner for myself or for others, I struggle with what to serve as a starch or side dish.  Rice?  I make that a lot in different forms.  Pasta?  Of course, but that gets tiresome.  Potatoes?  My favorite.  But last week I was searching for something light and different and happened upon a recipe for lemon couscous that I made and loved, as did my crowd of eaters.

This is simple and superb alongside fish.  It has a small list of ingredients that you most likely have at home already.  The trick for me is keeping Israeli couscous on hand just in case…

Very Lemony Couscous

Serves 6-8 

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Ingredients
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • ¼ stick of salted butter
  • ⅓ cup finely diced white onion
  • Grated zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock (I made mine with Chicken Better than Bouillon)
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan/Reggiano cheese (Grate with the microplane grater.  I save about ¼ cup of this to sprinkle on top of the finished dish)
  • Lemon curls and grated black pepper for the top
  • Chopped parsley to garnish if desired
Instructions

Heat a 4-quart saucepan with the butter, onion and lemon zest over medium heat.  Cook it on low so the lemon infuses the butter and the onion becomes aromatic but not brown.

Add the Israeli couscous and toss with the mixture in the saucepan to coat.  Keep stirring together for three minutes or so.

Pour in the chicken broth, add ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  

Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix in.  Taste and add more salt or pepper.

Serve in a shallow bowl with some more lemon curls and parmesan cheese.  

Leftovers taste great and I recommend making extra so you can enjoy it again.

 

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No Cream Cauliflower Soup

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Cauliflower Soup with Croutons

Cauliflower is my friend and one of my “go to” vegetables – I prepare something cauliflower centric at least once a week.  When I saw a similar recipe to what is here in the where can i order Clomiphene online New York Times Food section, I put it in my “to make” folder.  No cream but it tastes creamy!  I loved it and will make it again time and again.

I didn’t add fresh rosemary to the olive oil – to me, rosemary has such an overpowering flavor.  BUT I might  infush the olive oil with a little saffron next time to liven up the color and drizzle on top at when serving. This was a hit with the adults and kids in our family!  Make it this winter before you move on to summer vegetables.  You won’t regret it.

No-Cream Cauliflower Soup

Serves 6

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Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil – I use the oil I brought back from Tuscany
  • 1 medium yellow onion, skinned and diced ½ inch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon but I make it a little more dilute than suggested on the jar)
  • 2 ½ lbs cauliflower, cored and broken into 1 ½ inch florets
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Wedges of lemon to serve
  • Good olive oil to drizzle on top for serving
Instructions

In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium low.  Add the onion and slowly cook until tender – about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook a half minute, being sure the garlic does not burn.

Add the stock, cauliflower, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender.

Remove from the heat and reserve a few cooked pieces of cauliflower for serving. 

I usually blend the soup with an immersion blender right in the stock pot.  Transferring it to a blender is too much effort and mess!  The soup thickens as it cools.  Taste and season with additional salt/pepper.  

Serve hot, swirling a bit of olive oil on top and a piece or two of cooked cauliflower that you reserved.  I pass lemon wedges and accompany this with a nice salad and rustic bruschetta.  Cauliflower soup keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for a week.  

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Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

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Colorful Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

In mid-September, I helped plan a stick-to-your-ribs kind of salad as an accompaniment to fish and Lemony Red Lentil Soup for the evening meal prior to Yom Kippur.  The original quinoa side dish appeared on one of the pressure cooking sites I like to frequent, and it seemed intriguing.  I love edamame beans, this seemed easy and could be made one day ahead of the meal.  

The directions seemed fairly straightforward and simple, although I had never cooked quinoa in a pressure cooker.  The recipe stated that the quinoa would cook in one minute.  I measured the water and rinsed the quinoa, sealed the cooker but put a silicone sling and bowl to hold the quinoa inside.  (Full disclosure, the recipe did not call for this modification but I figured I was the Queen of Pressure Cookers and the sling and bowl would make cleanup a snap).  It seemed to be taking a long time to have quinoa come to full pressure…and then my smoke alarm went off with the “lady” saying there was smoke in the kitchen.  I took the cooker off the stovetop and opened it (it hadn’t started to pressurize).  The silicone ring had burned and the bottom of my pot was blackened and a mess.

Not to worry, between baking soda and salt and Oxiclean, I got the pot back in tip top shape. I regrouped and made the quinoa the old fashioned way and it was simple.  Everything else came together easily and the result was more than I hoped for.  My three grandkids and the five adults loved this dish, and I will be making it many more times this fall and winter.

Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Makes 10 servings

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Salad Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well until the water runs clear
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans, defrosted and dried  
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on a box shredder
  • ½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced the same size as the edamames
  • 1 bunch (5-6) green onions, cleaned and sliced thinly – use the white and light green parts only
  • 2 ½ cups finely shredded raw red cabbage
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Garnish Ingredients
  • ½ cup roasted salted peanuts
  • ⅓ cup fresh chopped herbs-we used basil, dill and cilantro combined 
Instructions:

Combine rinsed quinoa and water and salt to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes until water is absorbed.  Take off the heat, fluff and let cool

Add the rest of the ingredients to the cooled quinoa.  Gently add the dressing and taste to see if you want it spicier or sweeter.  You can stop here and keep the salad in the refrigerator for a day before serving. 

Top with chopped herbs and salted peanuts right before serving.

Cooks note:  I really thought this was going to be a salad much like the broccoli cabbage salad I recently posted.  It is quite different and for me, a little more unusual.  

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Bubbie’s Famous Chocolate Cake

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Piece of Cake!

Bubbie is the Yiddish word for Grandmother, and the nickname my children used to call their paternal Grandmother.  Bubbie was quite a character: she was a red headed Iowa born girl with long long slim legs and movie star looks.  She was difficult, messy and a true character.  

Bubbie wasn’t an adventurous cook. In fact I cannot remember any cookbooks she owned other than a paperback Joy of Cooking.  She made the same meals over and over: pot roast, chicken soup, chopped liver and poppyseed cookies.  She managed to add a lot of Crisco and butter to every single dish, and of course everything tasted delicious and was presented in a beautiful way.

Like most of us, Bubbie had a signature dish.  Hers was chocolate cake.  Every special occasion such as a birthday, a trip or a visit to her in Palm Springs she would end the meal with her chocolate cake.  Her four kids and later the grandkids would devour said cake with gusto accompanied by a tall glass of milk.  She would kind of sort of measure everything, dump it all into a stand mixer, turn the speed to “high” with flour and cocoa flying through the air.  Then she would proceed to talk on the phone for a few minutes and voila, the cake was done.

The devil was in the details as they say.  In this case the “details” happened to be the frosting.  Because she did not measure but rather dumped in powdered sugar and then milk the frosting came out a little different every time.  Everything was stirred wildly in an old metal saucepan.  The frosting was good but not consistent, and a lot of sighing and moaning happened.  It always tasted great but the frosting at times was soft, sometimes it was too solid…and by chance it was often just right.

I watched her make this cake a couple of times and I did take a few notes but the frosting was an enigma.  I should have weighed the box of powdered sugar and the milk, but what did I know?  Fast  forward to the past few years, where my kids and husband demand Bubbie’s Chocolate Cake for various occasions.  I always get very nervous when it comes to the frosting, but this December when I made the cake for my Grandson and his friends I did a lot of searching on the internet, and I have it down.  By the way, my awesome daughter and son-in-law let my 13 year old and his three buddies ate the remaining chocolate cake for breakfast!  I highly approve.

Perfect for Breakfast

Bubbie’s Famous Chocolate Cake

Makes 12 really big servings

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Cake Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ C cocoa (sift first) – I used Hershey’s justs like Bubbie
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 stick melted butter 
Frosting Ingredients
  • 5 squares unsweetened melted chocolate (Hershey’s or Bakers is old school fine)
  • ¾  stick melted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • About ¼ cup milk 
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar to start PLUS another cup for later (sift before measuring)
Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 with the rack in the center of the oven.  Use my special nonstick goop or Pam to spray a 9 x 13 metal pan.   

Place sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, eggs and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix then add boiling water and melted butter. 

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat on medium for three more minutes.  Pour into a 9 x 12 prepared pan (the batter is very runny).  

Bake for 35-40 minutes in the middle of the oven.  (I needed 40 minutes).  Remove to a rack and partially cover with a dish towel while it cools so it stays moist.  You can frost the cake after two hours and it may seem a little warm which is OK.  Personally I wait three hours until it is totally cooled down before frosting.

Frosting Instructions

Melt chocolate and melted butter  together slowly in a saucepan, then remove from heat for five minutes.

Meanwhile combine the vanilla, milk and powdered sugar (sift another cup or so to add later if needed) together with a spatula until smooth. I discovered this method when I was trying to make the frosting less daunting!

Add this powdered sugar/vanilla/milk mix to the barely cooled chocolate/butter and beat by hand with spatula or whisk.  Add ¼ more cup sifted powdered sugar at a time until it is loose but tastes good. For me, I had a total of about three cups of powdered sugar.  The frosting should be shiny.

Spread on the cake, covering the entire top.  Cool before covering.  The frosting layer here will be about ⅓ inch thick…it is intense!

Keep at room temp for up to five days.  This recipe also makes 24 cupcakes that will take about 25 minutes to bake.

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