Friday, October 31, 2014

Banana Nutella Muffins

I'm traveling next week; North Carolina and then Anchorage for a meeting on the way home.  I am a little worried about leaving the MIL, who am I kidding, I'm worried about leaving my husband in charge of everything...the MIL, the kids, the dogs...not that he can't handle it, but it is a lot for one person and he still has to work and find some time to sleep.

I, on the other hand, will have all my meals made for me, either at a restaurant or at the conference and job fair, my bed will be made for me, and I get a little time to explore a new city in a new state.  I have never been to North Carolina.

One thing I did want to do before I left, was make some muffins for the MIL.  We have learned that she will eat her egg and meat at breakfast if she gets a muffin or some sweet bread AFTER she has finished her protein.  So I try to bake for her a couple times a week now.  This isn't a new recipe, it is kind of a rehash of an old recipe with a little Nutella added...the MIL likes her chocolate.  Dave will take a couple over for the weekend and then I'll stick a couple in the freezer for next week.
Everything is better with Nutella.

A little swirl with a toothpick after the top batter in on.

The Baby boy was eating this so fast, I hardly had time for a picture!

Enjoy your week, next week, I know I will.

Banana Muffins with Nutella Swirl
from Perfect Muffins, 2008

2 cups self rising flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 very ripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line 12 muffin cups with papers, or grease well.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the self rising flour, baking soda, and sugar.  Make a well in the center.

In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly, add milk, butter, and mashed banana.  Add all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened (the batter will be lumpy).

Scoop batter into cups until each is about 1/2 full.  Top with a small dollop of Nutella, top with batter so cups are are about 2/3 full.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove muffins from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Serve warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool.

1 year ago:   Pork Chili and Fall Chores
2 years ago:   Pumpkin Monkey Bread and a Computer Crash

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Martini and Signing on the Magnetic Strip

Picture provided by The Drink King

It was Monday night, I've just paid the bills (after work, June duty, making dinner, and getting my a--handed to me in cards) and I open an envelope for my new credit card, the old one expires this month.  I call the number on the sticker, remove the sticker and as I am mindlessly going through the authorization process, I sign the back...ON THE MAGNETIC STRIP!

Crap, I'm leaving on Friday afternoon for a week of travel for work, I am going to need my credit card for little things like a hotel room, a rental car, know the extra stuff. Dave has already done the deed with the scissors on the old card, so I called right back and the very kind lady in customer service is overnighting a card to me, which means it is supposed to get here by Thursday.  There is no real overnight to Fairbanks.  I am hopeful the card arrives before Friday at least.

So after all that drama, I needed a drink.  The drink of the week is early this week, especially since I will be leaving on Friday afternoon.  Here it is, it is good for what ails you, and you can have two if you sign on the magnetic line!

Pumpkin Martini
from the Drink King

1.5 oz. vodka
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. pumpkin cream liquor
pumpkin pie spice for garnish, or cinnamon in a pinch

Shake vodka, Kahlua, and pumpkin cream liquor in a shaker with lots of ice.  Strain into glass, top with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice.  Enjoy

1 year ago:   Cranberry Liquor, Fear of the Dentist, and Poop Duty
2 years ago:  Cowboy Cookie Love

October 29, 2014   Sunrise 9:29 am, Sunset 5:39 pm  Temp. H 19/ L 10°F

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sacher Torte and the Daring Baker's Challenge

This is my Daring Bakers challenge for October.  I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it, it is like one in a row this year for Daring Bakers challenges.

I made it for a birthday in our office.  I did cheat a little and used a chocolate ganache glaze instead of the one listed in the challenge, but everyone was posting about how it didn't work out for them and I was taking this to work to feed other people, and so I fell back on a tried and true ganache.  So, in reality, I did half of the Daring Baker's Challenge.  Maybe I'll get the whole thing done for November, but don't hold your breath.

Sucky iPhone photo but delicious cake.

Sacher Torte
from the Daring Kitchen

Cake Ingredients
3/4 cup good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch fine grain salt

Assembly Apricot Glaze (see recipe below)
Chocolate Ganache (see recipe below


Preheat oven to 375°F, with a rack in the center of the oven.  Butter and flour the sides of a 9 inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until just melted.  Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachement of the stand mixer of electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy.  Add the confectioners sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.

Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

In a clean bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy.  Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating whites until they form soft, shiny peaks - they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.

Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain.  Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.

Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture.  Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated.  Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.  The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes, but will flatten out as it cools.

Cool the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides.  Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom  of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right side up onto the rack and allow to cool completely.

Turn the cake upside-down so the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top.  Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.

Place 1 cake layer on a cardboard cake round and spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze.  Allow it to soak in.

Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the rest of the apricot glaze.  Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top.  Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.

Make the chocolate ganache and set aside about 1/3 cup. Pour the rest over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle.  Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula.  Before the glaze has set, move the cake to a serving platter.

With the extra ganache, pipe the work "Sacher" in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes you wish.  chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least one hour.

Apricot Glaze:
1 1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
2 Tbsp. rum

Boil the jam and the rum in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.  Cool slightly an use warm.

Chocolate Ganache

16 oz. good quality dark chocolate
2 cups heavy cream

Heat cream in small saucepan until almost boiling, remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate, stirring until chocolate is completely melted.  Use warm.

1 year ago:   S'More Martini and the Joys of a Fire
2 years ago:  Vanilla-Chocolate Martini and Death of a Sewing Maching

October 27, 2014   Sunrise 9:23 am  Sunset 5:46 pm  Temp.  H 28/ L 19 F

Friday, October 24, 2014

Getting Wood Delivered

Note:  I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and kept drinking the drink before I took a picture.  So in the meantime, we got 5 more cords of wood delivered that Dave has cut, split, and please feel sorry for me for the one afternoon I stacked wood, compared to the week he has been working on wood (that's what she said).

Our regular wood guy is no where to be heard from, and since I am asking, on an almost hourly rate, when we are getting some wood.  My dear husband did a little research and found us another supplier.  He is having three cords delivered from one guy and 5 cords delivered from another.  The first guy delivers dry, split wood.  The second guy delivers lengths of wood, that Dave will need to cut up and split himself.

Our first order of 3 cords was delivered on Saturday morning.  Dave left town on Friday, who gets to stack the wood you ask?  Yes, the baby boy and I do.  I'm so beyond pleased.  Dave left town to go to a potlatch for some family friends who had a family member pass away.  Dave and the hippy boy went to help out with the cooking, I stayed home to stack wood.  I don't think I got the better end of this deal.
The Bboy loaded the wood into a wheelbarrow and brought it to us to stack.

We had the first 8 foot row done and the second one started.
The Chick was full of "That's what she said" comments.

So, because I spent so much time stacking wood, and my muscles are so sore, I needed something to help me relax.  And, because it is fall and the time of all things apple and pumpkin, I made several of these drinks.  I had to have more than one, apple juice is good for you and pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and beta-carotene.  Enjoy, it's like a healthy smoothie!

Apple Pumpkintini

2 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
3 oz. apple cider, plus extra for rim of glass
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. ginger ale
cinnamon sugar for the rim, optional

To wet rim of glass, dampen a folded paper towel with apple cider, dip rim on paper towel then in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Add ice to drink shaker, add pumpkin, apple cider, vanilla vodka, and ginger ale.  Shake until very cold, strain into prepared glass.  Enjoy.

Just so everyone knows, we stacked wood and then Dave came home and finished the job.  He did the lion's share of it too.

1 year ago:   Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw and the Baby Moving Home
2 years ago:   Tomatilla-Posole and Shrink Wrapping the House

October 24, 2014  Sunrise 9:13 am  Sunset 5:56 pm  Temp. H 27/ L 16°F

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sun-Dried Cherry Muffins

I'm not happy with my husband.  He is really in the dog house now.  We decided MONTHS ago that he would go to Raleigh, North Carolina with me when I go for a conference.  We would leave Friday night so we could have some time Saturday.  I would work Sunday through Wednesday during the day and he would hang out, look around and we could spend the late afternoons and evenings together.  He would fly home when I fly out to my next location.  I got my tickets at work and kept waiting for him to talk to his boss about the three days off he wanted so I could get his tickets.

Well, he decided he couldn't go.  Some excuse about his 88 year old sick mother and someone needing to be here to help her (yes, she has been consuming a lot of our time).  So I am going alone.

Now, I will leave on Halloween night, so I'll miss all the trick-or-treaters, I will fly all night long and have a 2 1/2hour lay over in Chicago in the middle of the night, and I will not get a vacation with my husband this year.  I am really bummed.

So what should I do?  I bake when I feel sorry for myself (and when I'm celebrating, and when I'm stressed, and get the picture.)  I made these dried cherry muffins.  It accomplished two things; 1) I baked, 2) it got a fresh baked item to my MIL for her breakfast.  And, they are so delicious.

A little sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top.

before the oven

after the oven

Sun Dried Cherry Muffins
adapted from Perfect Muffins, 2008

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk, or almond milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup sun-dried cherries
optional, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line 12 standard muffin cups with liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Make a well in the center.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and melted butter.  Add all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened (the batter should be lumpy).  Add the orange zest, sun-dried cherries, and walnuts.  Stir briefly until just combined (the batter should be lumpy).

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full.  Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.  Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them in the pan for 5 minutes.  Serve warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool.

1 year ago:   Roast Chicken with Peas and Witches
2 years ago:  Baked Nutella Donuts and less than 10 hours of sunlight

October 22, 2014   Sunrise 9:06 am  Sunset 6:03 pm  Temp. H 23/ L 14°F

Monday, October 20, 2014

Garlic Chili Chicken and my Saturday Afternoon Date

It was Saturday afternoon, I just woke up from a nap (we did have a busy week), Dave was over at his mom's helping his sister who was in town for the weekend, the Chick was at work and the Baby boy and I were finishing putting away the groceries I got earlier that day. (Wow!  That was one long run-on sentence!) ((Notice I just put a note about it, but didn't bother fixing it.  LAZY!))

"You know, it is October and time for everything pumpkin." he hints.
"We can make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies today." I said.
So we did.  I read the directions, and he made the cookies.

Then I gave him the directions for making this easy sweet chilli chicken.  It was delicious.
This is the look I got when he realized he was making dinner!

Shake the chicken in cornstarch and salt, then fry.

Remove from the oil when the coating is browned.

Yes, um there are no calories in food deep-fried in peanut oil.

Sweet Chilli sauce.

Our favorite brand.

After 30 minutes in the oven.

An easy dinner.
The Bboy was pretty happy, at one point he said, "You must really love me.  I got pumpkin cookies, Sweet Chilli chicken and rice all in the same day!"

It doesn't take much to please some people, especially since he did all the work.  I was a happy mom.

Sweet Chilli Chicken

4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sweet chilli sauce, we use about 1/2 bottle
peanut oil for frying, about 3 inches deep in your pot

Bring oil to 360°F in a heavy pot. 
Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Put cornstarch and salt in a large plastic bag.  Add about 1/3 of the chicken, shake until completely coated.  Drop chicken into hot oil one piece at a time, so it doesn't stick.  Cook until coating begins to brown. Remove from oil, drain and place in 9 x 13 pan.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Once all the chicken is done and in the 9X13 pan, pour sweet chilli sauce over the chicken and stir until well coated.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring half way through baking time.

Serve with rice and veggies.

I linked to:Homemade Mondays

October 20, 2014   Sunrise 9:00 am, Sunset 6:10 pm  Temp.  H 35/ L 25°F

Friday, October 17, 2014

Citrus Cranberry Fizz

Ahhh, Friday.  I love Friday.  Not because I don't love going to work during the week, I do, but because I get drink of the week, I sleep in a little on Saturday, I can look forward to coffee tomorrow morning, and I know I can have some  time to read through some of my cooking magazines ( I have 5 I haven't looked at yet).

It has been a crazy week with the MIL.  My sister in law came up from Anchorage for the weekend so we are officially "off duty" for the weekend.  I am going to a CABI party at my friend's house (it is a home clothing party, beautiful clothes, excellent quality, and one of the few options for work clothes in Fairbanks).  We have hockey on Saturday, and dinner out at a new restaurant opening in Fairbanks.  That, along with all the housework I didn't get done during the week, will make the weekend fly by.

But, I am stopping for a few moments to have a break and a drink.  I found a new way to get my "bubble" fix.  Sparkling cranberry juice.  I love it!  Add a splash of lime, some citrus vodka and some pomegranate seeds and you have an awesome drink of the week...I think I'll have two.  Cheers!

Citrus Cranberry Fizz
1 oz citrus vodka
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp lime juice, depending on your taste
1/2 can sparkling cranberry juice
pomegranate seeds, optional for garnish

Pour vodka and lime juice in a tall flute.  Top with cranberry juice and add pomegranate seeds.  Relax and enjoy!

1 year ago:   Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Nightmares
2 years ago:  Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies and a True Friend

October 17, 2014   Sunrise 8:50 am, Sunset 6:21 pm  Temp. H 36/ L 21°F

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Banana Muffins and little blue cougar pills

I am truly beginning to understand the term "sandwich generation" with the Baby boy and his chick moving home and the extra care Dave's 87 year old mother needs, we are sandwiched between these two generations and in a care-givers role.

Dave's mother has lost quite a bit of weight and she gets confused very easily.  The health care provider uses terms like dementia and assisted living, and so we are stepping up our game.  I've been getting her house more organized, her medications organized, and having lunch with her every day.  Dave goes over every morning and gets her up and fixes her breakfast.

A couple days ago, as I was cleaning her bathroom, I found several bottles of vitamins and medications.  I took them out to my mother in law (MIL) and asked her about each one.  One of the bottles I found was a large white bottle with no label, but the MIL had written PM on the top and the side.  I opened them up and found blue pills.

"What are these pills for," I asked.  "There isn't a label on them."
"Oh, you know, those are the cougar pills I take."
"No, I don't know what cougar pills you take.  What are they?"
"They are my cougar pills."

Um, o.k.  do I really want to know what these little blue pills are?

"How long have you been taking them?"  I asked.
"For years," she said.  "I don't remember how long."

Um, again, do I really want to know what these little blue pill are?

"When do you take them?"
"I take them before I go to bed, you know the cougar kind."

At this point I know I don't want to know what these little blue pills that she takes before she goes to bed are for, but if she is taking them we have to know.

"I don't know what they are, what do they do for you?" I asked, afraid of the answer.
"They help me sleep." she said.
"Oh! They are like Tylenol PM?"  I asked.
"Yes, but the cougar kind."
"You mean the Kroger brand?"
"Yes, that's what I said."
"I'll put these back in the bathroom." I said, relieved.

Thank goodness we got that one figured out!

So every day we have a new little adventure over at the MIL's place.  She is starting to feel better now that the antibiotics are kicking in and she is eating more regularly.  How do I know?  She has started to complain.
"Dave made me 4 pieces of bacon and I can only eat three." she tells me as soon as I walk in the door.
"I am all out of muffins, what am I supposed to have with my eggs tomorrow?"  She asked half way through lunch.

So I made banana muffins for her.  Dave took a few over this morning when he went to fix her breakfast.  Yes, we are feeling a bit like the filling of a very thick sandwich.
So, if I have to be part of the sandwich generation, I want to be the Nutella in the cracked wheat sandwich of our family!

Blender Banana Muffins
from my Muffin Recipe box

Sift together in a bowl:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Place in the blender and blend until smooth:
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

For topping:
Granola, without dried fruit

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add blender ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing well.  Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup almost full. Top with a generous sprinkle of granola.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes about 18 large muffins.

October 15, 2015  Sunrise 8:44 am, Sunset 6:28 pm  Temp. H 31/ L 21°F

1 year ago:   3-2-1 Beer Bread and the second retirement
2 years ago:  Roasted Chicken with Apples and Garlic

Monday, October 13, 2014

White Cake with Strawberries and Cream Filling

We had several things to celebrate; 1) the Chick's birthday that happened while I was traveling for work, 2) The Brother in Law's birthday was will happen while he is traveling to play golf, and 3) some dear friends were leaving for the winter to go to Florida.  Dave and I planned a summer theme for Sunday dinner and I went shopping....only to discover the friends were leaving on Saturday morning, not the 15th like we thought.  So, we went out to dinner with our friends and still had the "summer dinner in the snow" plans for the birthdays.

We made these ribs, our families go-to recipe, covered with this homemade sauce, Dave's beans (they are different every time he makes them), a green salad, homemade bread, and this cake for dessert.

The Chick requested a white cake with strawberries for her birthday cake.  This is a smaller version of a cake, so we don't have a whole bunch left over sitting around.  It makes one layer, or two very thin layers.  I like to make two thin layers and then cut each in half to make a 4 layer half cake.  I filled it with fresh strawberries soaked in sugar and Grand Mariner, and frosted with cool-whip...don't judge, the chick can't have whipped cream ( and she will suffer enough with the dairy in the cake).

So, even though it is snowy and cold outside, we built a big fire and had our favorite summer meal.  If you closed your eyes you could almost hear birds in the trees and feel a summer, that is just the fan from behind the wood stove.

White Cake with Strawberries and Cream Filling
adapted from Sally's Baking

for the cake:
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermild
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

for strawberries:
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered, depending on size
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Grand Mariner
Whipped cream or other whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9" round pans with baking spray, line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and spray parchment paper, set aside. Or use one pan for one layer.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave.  Whisk in the sugar - the mixture will be gritty.   Whisk in the sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain.  Batter will be thick.  Try to avoid over mixing.  Set aside.

Using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until thick and soft peaks form (see picture), about 2-3 minutes.  Fold whites into batter.  The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick. Divide between two prepared pans.

Bake for 12-15 minutes (for two pans) or until toothpick comes out of the center clean.  (Adjust time if using only one pan or if making cupcakes)  Cool 5 minutes in pans, then turn out of pans and cool completely.

Meanwhile, cut strawberries, add sugar and Grand Mariner.  Mix well and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  A syrupy liquid will develop.

To assemble cake.  Cut each layer in half, giving you 4 half-circles.  place one layer on plate, top with whipped topping and strawberries, top with another layer of cake, repeat with whipped topping and strawberries until all 4 layers are used, ending with strawberries on top.  Drizzle strawberry syrup over the top and let it drizzle down the sides.  Serve immediately.

October 13, 2014  Sunrise 8:38am, Sunset 6:35pm  Temp. H 38/L 23°F

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Ganache and Raspberries

Everyone has that one person in the office who goes above and beyond their own job duties to help everyone else.  I'm really lucky, I work in an office full of people just like that.  But, Trish really is a kind, thoughtful person who willingly helps anyone and everyone.  It was her birthday and I wanted a very special cake for her.

This is a three layer, dark chocolate cake with whipped is heaven on a plate. Suitable for that special person who always goes out of their way to help.  Topped with fresh raspberries, it is even more special...just like Trish.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Ganache and Raspberries
adapted from Taste of Home
For the cake:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the Ganache:
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line bottoms of three greased 8 in.-square baking pans with parchment paper.

Place chocolate in a small bow.  Pour hot coffee over chocolate; stir with a whisk until smooth.  cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed until lemon-colored.  Gradually add sugar, oil, vanilla and chocolate mixture, beating until well blended.  In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Transfer to prepared pans.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks; remove paper.  Cool completely.

For ganache, place chocolate in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil.  Pour over chocolate; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Let stand at room temperature to cool and thicken slightly, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whip ganache with hand-held blender or stand mixer on high until mixture is light and fluffy.

Place one layer on a serving plate, spread 1/3 cup ganache over top, repeat with remaining cake layers.  Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake.  Top with raspberries.

1 year ago:   Cranberry Shortbread
2 years ago:  Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting/First Snow

October 2, 2014  Sunrise 8:04 am  Sunset 7:15 pm   Temp. H 45/ L 28°F