Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Author's Love of Chocolate

Normally I won't post two days in a row, but I'm in the mood to share!

One of my absolute favorite things to do is spend time in the kitchen baking. Whether it's whipping up a tried and true recipe or experimenting with something new, it's a joyful pastime. In fact, when I've spent so much time writing that brain and fingers can no longer communicate, I head off to the kitchen and 9 times out 10, I'm baking something with chocolate. Afterwards, I find I can usually return to my writing, relaxed and revving to write again.

This is one of my favorites. A Bit O'Irish Chocolate Pecan Cake, a delightful dessert I concocted for my food blog last September. Really, if you're a writer and love chocolate, then chances are this will be a great pick-me-up!

A Bit O'Irish Chocolate Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups dark cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate liqueur (pure flavor or extract will work)
  • 2 tsp Baily's Irish Cream (Irish cream flavoring can be substituted)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  2. Prepare pans: 1 large bundt pan (a small one will result in overflow) or 1 9x13 metal pan or 2-10" rounds. Spray with non-fat baking spray. 
  3. Stir together the first six ingredients; beat in eggs. 
  4. Add remaining ingredients, EXCEPT boiling water and pecans.
  5. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute and high speed for 1 minute. 
  6. Mix in the boiling water - beat on low just until combined. 
  7. Stir in by hand, 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes depending upon oven. 
  9. Cool on rack for at least 15 minutes; remove from pan(s) and continue to cool. 
  10. Frost (recipe below) and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans. 
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 7 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp Baily's Irish Cream (Irish cream flavoring can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp chocolate liqueur (pure flavor or extract can be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
  1. Blend cream cheese and butter together until smooth; add the next three ingredients and blend well. 
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, using a mixer as you add, until frosting is smooth. If you prefer a more 'whipped' consistency, then continue to beat on high speed until you reach your desired consistency.

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