Archive for May, 2013

Celebrate with Cake, C’mon!

May 26, 2013


My husband got a special twinkle in his eye the other night after he received some good news on a promotion. I know what that twinkle means, it means “what are you gonna bake me?” Usually he has a specific treat in mind but this time he left it up to me. I wracked my brain thinking of the yummy things he likes and the first thing that came to mind was mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise Cake that is, I have heard of recipes using mayo as your moistening agent and your oil. So I went to Hellmann’s website and was surprised to find how many yummy mayo recipes there are for all sorts of things. I went with their famous chocolate cake. They also have a box version but I rarely use a box mix because taking the time to make it homemade for a special occasion shows you care.

Of course I needed a killer frosting to top it off. But by killer I don’t mean the jar of frosting that you get at the store which will probably literally kill you with all the crap they put in it. My hubby likes cream cheese frosting the most but I was feeling chocolatey. So I went to the king of all chocolatier’s websites – Ghirardelli, and what do you know, they have a great recipe section too! (I printed their chocolate bread pudding recipe to make in the future). Their chocolate frosting recipe was simple and so incredibly rich, creamy and delicious. It was like you melted a candy bar and put it on a cake. As you can see above, my cake is not super pretty, but I threw it together quick, we were too hungry for Cake Boss perfection. The cake combined with the frosting did not disappoint, it was so moist from the mayo and the frosting paired perfectly with it. So here is my celebration cake combination:

Hellmann’s Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1-2/3 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/3 cups Water

Baking instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans*; set aside.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

3. In large bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise at low speed until blended. Alternately beat in flour mixture with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour into prepared pans.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. On wire racks, cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely. Frost when cake has cooled completely

Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate Frosting


4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar
4 tablespoon(s) butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup hot milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt


In heavy saucepan on low heat, melt broken chocolate with butter, stirring constantly. Beat sugar with milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add melted chocolate, and beat until thick enough to spread on cake.

Pizza Pie, that’s Amore!

May 18, 2013


My readers all know I have a go to recipe for pizza dough. But I was feeling like trying something new and I have been inspired lately by my new favorite show from the cooking channel, Extra Virgin. This dough was amazing! The Pizzas came out so nice and thin and crisp. The texture and flavor reminded me of when I was in Italy. My hubby says I should only use this recipe from now on.

Gabriele said: “In Italy, pizza dough can be found at almost every grocery store. If you have a favorite bakery where you go to buy your bread, they might also give you some, if you know them. The recipe that I have is one I have been using since I started making pizzas with my father. One of his dear friends who was a famous pizza maker in Florence passed the recipe on to us, and now I share it with you. It’s simple and works great, but don’t forget to check your local stores because you don’t really need to go the extra length to make your own dough. If you do want to make your own dough, you can always freeze it for later.” Here is Gabriele’s recipe:


  • 1 (.25-ounce) package dry active yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl


In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, lukewarm water, and 1/2 cup bread flour. Mix well and let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Whisk together the remaining 3 1/2 cups bread flour and salt in another bowl so it will be evenly distributed.

Once the yeast mixture is nice and bubbly and looks like foamy beer, add 3/4 cup cold water and olive oil. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on and add the flour in increments.

Mix the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough starts creeping up the dough hook and comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Place the dough in a large bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Turn to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean tea towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punchdough down, and let rise another hour.

Divide the dough into 4 equal disks. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands (and a rolling pin, if you prefer) stretch the disks out to a 10-inch round.

Repeat with the remaining 3 pizza dough disks. Cook the pizzas at 500 degrees (he said 550 on the site but I did not want to go that hot) for about 10-12 mins, or in a brick oven, if you have one, maybe in my dreams!