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Recipe: Lemony Walnut Pasta

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

I have been cooking around the clock for the last couple of months and decided to start simplifying some of my recipes to ease up my intensely laborious schedule. This recipe was something I dreamed up which I could prep in a jiffy and assemble later. It turned out to be one of my favorite freshest pasta recipes ever conceived. There are so many contrasting flavors and textures that gives it a big wow factor. I made piles of it recently for a wedding and there was nary a single strand of fettucine left on the serving platter. Try this with tagliatelle or fettucine. You’ll want something with enough heft to stand up to the weighty walnut pesto. I call it pesto because it mimics a traditional basil pesto without the basil and by switching out pine nuts for walnuts. Additionally, I don’t combine everything in the food processor so the “sauce” is nuttier and crunchier. Make this as the perfect side or on its own with an arugula salad. It is the perfect summer pasta. 

Lemony Walnut Pasta
Serves 4

1 lb. fettucine
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1-1/2 cups walnut halves, toasted at 400 degrees for 7 or 8 minutes until they give off a toasty aroma.
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 cup good quality olive oil
¾ cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process garlic until finely minced (or mince on your own with a sharp chef’s knife). If the former, remove garlic from the bowl of the processor and set aside. Place walnuts in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Set aside. Boil pasta according to directions. Drain.  Place warm pasta in a bowl and coat with the olive oil. Follow up with the garlic and walnuts and toss. Pour in the lemon juice and add the lemon zest. Toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with parmesan and serve. For a little color you can finely chop some Italian parsley and sprinkle on top. 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/17/18 at 05:49 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at the farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

This chocolate olive oil cake is a staple in our community cooking classes for three reasons: 1. It comes together very quickly with a modest ingredient list. 2. It allows us to teach about baking with olive oil, a healthier fat alternative to butter. 3. It is absolutely divine.

When we first introduce it, especially to teens, the idea of olive oil in a sweet treat doesn’t sound like it’s worth the time. The skepticism, or intrigue depending on the audience, rises when you learn it calls for vinegar. In this case, the vinegar is not there for flavor, but to react with the baking soda so that the cake has a gentle lift. Since there are no eggs to act as a leavener, we need the vinegar. Using cider vinegar may lend a slightly sweeter cake, but for us its flavor is completely unnoticed.

When you eat a slice, you’ll find it to be incredibly moist and dangerously decadent, giving way to that kind of content only a perfect chocolate cake can bring about. The base is dairy free and, if using dairy-free chocolate chips, the glaze can be, too. We’ve made it with and without the glaze and can honestly say it’s perfect both ways. Fancy enough for a celebration yet humble enough for any old day, this recipe is for those inevitable times you feel a chocolate craving coming on.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 8-12

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, any variety, sifted if lumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water or coffee
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (for shine)
A pinch or two of flaky sea salt

1. For the cake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with a fitted round of parchment paper and coat the bottoms and sides with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and olive oil, and whisk to combine. Add water and vinegar and whisk until smooth.
3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few sticky crumbs (but not wet or loose batter). Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut around it with a knife to ensure it is loosened and flip it out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
4. For the glaze, combine chocolate, cocoa powder, olive oil, corn syrup, and salt in a medium bowl and microwave to melt, in 15 to 30 second increments, stirring between each until just melted. Whisk until smooth. Pour over completely cooled cake and use spatula to gently nudge it down the sides.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/09/18 at 04:20 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Vegetable Pad Thai (With Asian Coleslaw)

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at the farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

When kids participate in any Sylvia Center program, our staff makes sure that every participant walks away having tried something new. Some days this goal is harder to reach than others, but the day we made Vegetable Pad Thai with seventh grade students from Knickerbacker Middle School, this was no challenge. One student fell so hard for this dish that she had to text her Mom a picture of it immediately to make sure it would make its way to her family’s dinner lineup. Whatever your exposure to pad thai may be, we encourage you to try this version.

In this recipe, the sauce is the heart of the dish. The flavors of tamarind juice, soy sauce and fish sauce vary by brand, so now more than ever is the time to adjust to taste. Our version has a well-balanced tangy, sweet and salty flavor. Since we cook with young people whose tastebuds don’t always welcome spiciness, we added it on the side. Feel free to add it to your own sauce until it tastes right to you. (If you don’t have tamarind sauce on hand, you can make a mixture of equal parts lime juice and brown sugar to taste. If you do this, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar that the recipe already calls for. You’re looking for a balanced sweet and sour flavor.)

Many of our crops this time of year only need a quick sauté in oil to enhance their freshly harvested qualities, and that’s what we do here with the cabbage and asparagus. We’ve found our garden’s cabbage is irresistibly sweet, crunchy and tender. I admit that I would rarely describe cabbage as irresistible, but I’m telling you, my love for cabbage this time of year has no bounds. If you are looking for a sidekick to your bowl of pad thai, our recipe for Asian coleslaw is just the candidate. The two must have met in sweet, salty, crunchy heaven.

Top your creation with pea shoots, lime juice, peanuts, a heap of chopped herbs and, before you dig in, send us a picture so we know it made it to your dinner table.

Vegetable Pad Thai
Serves 4-6

10 ounces dried rice noodles
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind juice (or substitute)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup water
3 eggs, whisked
1 bunch chives, minced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 cup pea shoots, roughly chopped
2 limes, cut into wedge
Sriracha or other hot sauce
¼ cup peanuts, crushed

1. Soak noodles in hot water for 10-15 minutes, or until softened.
2. Combine fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and tamarind in small bowl, set aside.
3. Heat oil over medium heat in large sauté pan and cook garlic for about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes. Add rice noodles and water, cook until noodles are completely tender.
4. Reduce heat and add the fish sauce mixture, stir well.
5. Add eggs, and sauté until eggs fully cooked and well combined with noodles.
6. Add peanuts, chives and pea shoots. Serve with lime wedges.

Asian Coleslaw
Serves 4-6

1 small head cabbage (1½ pounds), cored and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
1 bunch chives, minced
1 bunch radishes, julienned
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 fresh serrano chile, finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, oil, optional chile, and ½ teaspoon salt.
2. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
3. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/26/18 at 11:07 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Lime Posset

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Every now and then I come across a new dish that blows my mind only to find out the recipe is time consuming and difficult. Never have I come across a new dish that becomes an instant favorite whose recipe is, if the not the easiest, one of the easiest I have ever made.

Meet the lovely posset, a custard of epic silky and creamy proportions made with ingredients you can count on one hand — and no eggs! This sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Who has ever heard of custard without egg yolks, tempered or otherwise? I hadn’t, and I cook a lot. And then this little gem of a dessert popped into my inbox and I am now a devotee of the posset and all its posset-ibilities!

What is this sorcery? Well, there is some alchemy in the mix; otherwise these little desserts wouldn’t set up so beautifully. I believe it has to do with boiling the cream for a certain period of time without letting it boil over and hitting with acid just as you remove it from the heat. Whatever the magic, you will feel like a wizard when you prepare these for guests and realize it took around 15 minutes! 

This recipe is for lime possets but I made them for a dinner party last week with lemon and loved them even more. Next, I’m going to make them with tangerines, grapefruit and blood oranges. I’ll be a veritable posset factory churning these out for several hundred people over the next couple of weeks. Hope you love them as much as I do!

Lime Posset
Serves 4

Graham cracker streusel
7 graham crackers (108 grams)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter

Lime posset
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, plus more for garnish
5 tablespoons just-squeezed lime juice
1 pinch kosher salt

1. Make the streusel: Break up the graham crackers with your hands and add to a food processor. Pulse until flour-like. Add the sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Evenly distribute the butter on top. Pulse until a cookie-like dough forms. Dump onto a plate and use your fingers to create lots of clumps. 

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment. Sprinkle the graham cracker mixture over the prepared sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until toasted and firm. Cool completely.

3. Make the posset: Combine the heavy cream, sugar, and lime zest in a large pot, one much larger than you think you need — the cream loves to boil over. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to keep boiling for another 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the lime juice and salt. Let cool for about 15 or so minutes.

4. Add a layer of graham cracker streusel to the bottom of 4 ramekins or glasses or other single-serving dishes. Slowly pour the posset on top, evenly dividing between the dishes. Chill until cold and set, at least four hours.

5. Sprinkle with additional streusel, a little more zest and a sprig of mint leaf.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/19/18 at 08:54 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Spring Orzo Salad With Arugula Pistou

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

As our Learning Garden transitions from spring to summer, we are cooking with our favorite bright, tender and earthy spring vegetables as much as possible. In this spring vegetable orzo salad, asparagus, peas, radishes and spinach balance one another in crunchiness and tenderness, spiciness and sweetness.

What takes this recipe to the next level is the arugula pistou. Pistou is a cold sauce, similar to pesto, but without nuts and cheese. In this recipe, the pistou complements the orzo and vegetables with a pleasant lemony, peppery bite.

Spring Orzo Salad with Arugula Pistou
Serves 4-6

For the orzo 
1 cup orzo
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½  cup peas, freshly shelled or frozen
½ cup radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup spinach or other green, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
Edible flowers for garnish such as chive blossoms or nasturtium, optional

For the arugula pistou:
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 t lemon zest
3 T lemon juice
½ t kosher salt
4 packed cups arugula
2 packed cups basil
6 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Put the orzo in a medium bowl, add boiling water to the surface of the grains and let it stand for about 15 minutes, just until tender. Drain and press out any remaining water and toss with a couple pinches of salt. Set aside. While the orzo cooks, prepare the pistou, vegetables, and dressing.

2. For the pistou: In a food processor, pulse garlic with lemon juice, lemon zest and kosher salt until finely chopped. Add arugula and basil and pulse again. With the mixer running, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until desired consistency. Adjust lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add asparagus, peas, radishes, and greens and saute lightly until tender.

4. For the dressing, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil together and season with salt and pepper.

5. To the orzo, add sauteed vegetables and chives. Toss with a big splash of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Adjust the seasoning as well at this point. Garnish with the remaining chives, edible flowers and a small dollop of pistou and serve.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/13/18 at 12:13 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Squash Blossoms Stuffed With Honeyed Jalapeno Goat Cheese

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

The first time I made squash blossoms I was filled with trepidation, so if this looks daunting, you’re in good company. The good news is that the most difficult part of this recipe is handling the delicate blossoms deftly and approaching the task patiently.  If you can manage that much, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most delicious summer treats — and look like a rock star chef in the process. So here goes with what is one of my most highly anticipated summer treats.

Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Honeyed Jalapeno Goat Cheese
Serves 4

1 dozen squash blossoms
8 oz. goat cheese
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
3 T. honey
2 eggs
½  cup flour
½ cup bread crumbs
2 cups canola oil for frying

1. Gently wipe away any dirt on blossoms and pull back the petals to remove the stamen with small kitchen shears. 

2. Mix goat cheese, jalapeno and honey until smooth and creamy. Place in a plastic bag and squeeze into one corner. Snip a very small hole in the bag. 

3. Hold an individual blossom in one hand, peel back the petals and place the tip of the plastic bag inside and squeeze a dollop of goat cheese inside. Do not let the cheese escape the confines of the petals. Softly press them back into a closed position. Repeat.

4. Crack eggs in a small bowl and whisk until combined.

5. Place flour and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dredge a blossom in flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs.  Repeat.

6. In a small saute pan, heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees. Test by dropping a piece of bread in the pan and if it starts to sizzle and turn golden, you’re good to go.

7. Gently drop two blossoms at a time in hot oil, cook for a minute or two and turn to the other side.  Blossoms with turn golden brown.  Remove from the oil and rest on paper towel lined plate.  Repeat. 

8. When all your blossoms are deep fried, season with salt and serve immediately. The salty crunch followed by the smooth, sweet and spicy goat cheese on your palate is all the reward you need.



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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/05/18 at 12:08 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

With an abundance of rhubarb growing in our Learning Garden this spring, we’ve started to get creative and use it in a variety of new recipes. We could never get tired of strawberry and rhubarb (a timeless combination that shines in a pie, crisp, cake or as compote over yogurt, toast or oatmeal), but it’s refreshing to mix it up. If you, too, are in a rhubarb rut, or if your kids need an elevated recipe for their lemonade stand, try our refreshing Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade.

Written by our dietetic interns from the Sage Colleges, this summer drink has big flavor and natural sweeteners instead of processed sugar. The honey subtly sweetens the rhubarb, but not so much that it forgets its tart roots. Depending on the ripeness (sweetness) of your strawberries, you may want to add more honey or sweetener of your choice to taste. The lemon balm is a modest finishing touch that can be foregone or substituted with mint if you don’t have it on hand.

Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade
Serves 15

1 ½  pounds rhubarb stalks, leaves removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 ½  cups fresh strawberries
½  cup honey
3 ¾ cups lemon juice
15 cups water
½ cup lemon balm, torn

1. In saucepan, combine rhubarb, strawberries and honey. Cook over medium heat until soft.  Strain into a pitcher (or whatever you will use to serve the lemonade) and allow to cool. 

2. Combine lemon juice, water, and lemon balm in the pitcher with the cooled rhubarb mixture. 

3. Serve over ice in cups. 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/29/18 at 05:21 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Ramp Fritters

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Is it me — or did you just start hearing about ramps in everything from frittata to jelly? I blame my ignorance on being more of a West Coast girl where Allium tricoccum, the North American species of wild onion, widespread across Eastern Canada and the East Coast, does not grow. Otherwise, I would have been eating and cooking with them as frequently as I do now. 

Once initiated and like everyone else, I cannot get enough of their delicate flavor and silky soft greens. They are so beautiful as well, and upon first glance you might think there’s nothing there because surely you can’t eat the entire plant. Well, yes you can. From the tip of the diminutive white bulb to the top of lush bright green leaves, ramps are entirely edible and the flavor is a mixture of garlic, onions and leeks. In a word, heaven. 

Once they’ve been cleaned they are also the easiest vegetable to prepare — they cook in a minute if you’re opting for a quick sauté in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. Recently, one of my clients who has a farm in Litchfield County started bringing large quantities of ramps back from the country to the city so I had to get creative; you don’t want to waste what some chefs consider a true delicacy. So after trying out a few recipes I landed on ramp fritters and loved the idea of their unique flavor embedded in crispy fritters accompanied by a zesty and spicy dipping sauce. The dish took minutes to make and even less time to devour so I share this with you as ramp season is brief. Enjoy!

Ramp Fitters
Makes about 20 two-inch fritters.

14 oz. ramps
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup milk
¾ cup light beer
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)
1 cup mayonnaise plus 1/8 cup sriracha mixed for dipping
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Special equipment: A deep-fry thermometer

1. Remove any slippery outer layers from ramp bulbs, trim roots, then soak in a bowl of cold water, swishing around gently to loosen any dirt. Lift out ramps and blot dry with paper towels. Avoid cramming them in a salad spinner so as not to damage the delicate leaves.

2. Cut ramps into 1” pieces (you should get about 5 cups). Whisk all-purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Make a well in the center and pour in milk and beer; whisk until smooth. Fold in ramps.

3. Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet fitted with thermometer to come 1” up sides and heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in batches, place ¼-cup mounds of batter into skillet and press down lightly to flatten and submerge. Fry, turning once, until fritters are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over and dipping sauce on the side. 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/22/18 at 09:24 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Green Vegetable Fried Rice

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

For its simplicity, vegetable fried rice hits all the essential qualifications for a quick and easy weeknight meal. It’s budget friendly, doesn’t involve a strict formula, welcomes any and all leftovers like scraps of vegetables or meat, and comes together in one pan in less than a half hour. As if it couldn’t get any better, the flavor and texture of this green vegetable fried rice might be its most enticing quality, and it’s what will win over you and your family.

When stir frying the vegetables in step two, it’s important to use a big enough pan so that the vegetables are not crowded and they can release their moisture quickly. Turn up the heat to high and stir constantly so that the vegetables cook quickly and are more al dente than soft. Another tip to create the right fried rice texture is to cook the rice at least a day ahead or use leftover restaurant rice. While using just-cooked rice is perfectly fine, the end result will be on the soggy side. Older or leftover rice is dryer and gives the dish its distinct chewy texture. When it all comes together, the scallions, ginger and garlic are harmoniously tucked within the vegetables, eggs and rice. Both the soy sauce and sesame oil are conservatively drizzled on top and adjusted to taste.

Green Vegetable Fried Rice
Serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, sliced and divided
1 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup frozen edamame or green peas
6 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
3 eggs, lightly whisked
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 cups cooked brown rice, cold

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and ginger, half of the scallions and sauté 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.

2. Add edamame, stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes, or until spinach has wilted.

3. Turn down the heat slightly. Make a hole in the middle of the pan by pushing veggies to the sides of pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs and then fold in with the veggies.

4. Add rice to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.

5. Drizzle soy sauce over the rice and vegetables evenly and stir until soy sauce is evenly coated. Add sesame oil and fold in scallions. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/15/18 at 03:12 PM • Permalink

Recipe: The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

I found it! Just in time for summer celebrations, a chocolate cake that tastes exactly like a rich chocolate bar. I’ve written about my passion for chocolate before and how I tend to avoid chocolate cakes and make other chocolate desserts because cakes just don’t cut it in terms of delivering great chocolate flavor. Well, after much tinkering and tasting, I whipped up a chocolate sheet cake (because I was going to build mini layered cakes) that was, in a word, awesome! It’s not the fastest cake you’ll ever make. And it can’t be mixed in one pan. There’s no skimping on ingredients. But once you’ve baked it, you’ll agree it was worth the time and effort. I am going to presume you can bake this in two 8” cake tins for a traditional cake. Otherwise, follow these instructions and make fancier mini cakes for you and your guests. 

Tip: When buying your chocolate and cocoa powder, splurge on Sharffen Berger, Valrhona or Chocolates El Rey. 

The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake
Yield: (6) 3” diameter mini layered cakes or (1) 8” layered cake

For the cake:
1 cup water
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted
1 tbl. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ sticks salted butter softened
1 cup crème fraiche
4 extra large eggs
2 extra large egg yolks
1½ cups granulated sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbl. baking soda
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbls. melted butter for brushing the sheet pan

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the melted butter over the bottom and sides of an 11x16” baking pan with 1” high sides. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, smoothing out the wrinkles. Brush another light coat of the melted butter over the paper.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the water and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly to dissolve the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, vanilla extract and butter. Stir in the crème fraiche and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl beat eggs and egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes until they become thick and mousse-like.

Over a bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside.

Slowly add the eggs and sugar to the chocolate mixture, whisking to combine. Gently fold in the flour mixture in three batches to incorporate, deflating the batter as little as possible. 

Pour the batter into the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. With both hands lift and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. You want the cake as even as possible. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is springy to the touch. Allow to cool.

For the frosting:
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup water
3 tbls. corn syrup (I buy organic)
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted
2 tbls. cognac
1½ sticks unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar

In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, water and corn syrup. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly, until it’s smooth and thickened. Remove it from heat and whisk in the chocolate and cognac. Cool completely.

In a bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer on medium high speed for several minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Stir in the melted chocolate mixture by hand. Let the frosting sit in a cool place or refrigerate until it becomes stiff enough to spread (no longer than 30 minutes).

To frost the cakes:
Frost the entire sheet cake before assembling. Reserve one cup of the frosting. Then, with a 3” biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 18 rounds. Stack the cakes with three rounds and use a toothpick to hold them together. With a small cake frosting spatula frost the sides of the cake. Gild the lily by making fresh whipped cream and dot the cakes with whipped cream and edible flowers.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/08/18 at 10:51 AM • Permalink