Gingerbread

 

Gingerbread with Whipped Cream and Brown Sugar Sauce
Gingerbread with Whipped Cream and Brown Sugar Sauce

Do you have certain desserts that you associate with different seasons or times of the year?  Gingerbread is one dessert I tend to associate most with the coldest winter months for some reason.  It’s a plain but tasty dessert any time of the year but it’s a particularly good comfort food in the dead of winter.

Gingerbread is very easy to make and doesn’t take any ingredients that are unusual or difficult to find.  I add a small amount of hot strong coffee to the batter because I find it brings out the strength of the spices.  Adding some applesauce also helps to make the cake moist.

I made this cake in an 8″x8″ cake pan because I was planning to split it into two layers to fill with whipped cream.  If you want to keep it at just one layer, then I recommend baking it in a 9″x9″ pan which will yield a more shallow cake.  Note, however, that the baking time will need to be adjusted as a 9″x9″ cake will take less time to bake.

Gingerbread is best when served warm and drizzled with brown sugar sauce.

Gingerbread

2 c. flour

1½ tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

⅛ tsp allspice

1 tsp soda

¼ tsp salt

 

½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp applesauce

 

⅔ cup molasses

⅔ cup boiling water

2½ tbsp hot strong coffee

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

1-DSC02881

Preheat oven to 350º and position rack in middle of oven.  Line 8”x8” pan with parchment paper with two strips of parchment as shown in photo below.  Make sure you leave enough parchment over the edges of the pan so you can easily use the parchment as a “sling” when it comes time to remove the cake from the pan. Set prepared pan aside.

Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time and beat into butter and sugar.  Stir in applesauce on low speed.

Combine the molasses, hot water, and coffee.  Stir to mix well.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with dry ingredients (process is three additions of dry ingredients and two of liquid ingredients).  Scrape sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Turn batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean or cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.  If edges start to brown too much, loosely place a piece of foil over top of cake.

Let cake rest in pan for at least 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan by lifting the parchment paper sling.  Cut into squares.  Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and/or brown sugar sauce.

Note:  A 9”x9” pan may be used instead of an 8”x8” pan.  This will make a more shallow cake.  Adjust baking time accordingly as the 9”x9” pan will likely take less baking time.

Yield:  9 servings

The Bistro’s Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins
Bran Muffins

I like making muffins and I like eating them!  I have a collection of favorite muffin recipes that I have gathered or created over the years. I tend to make several batches of muffins at a time, butter them, and freeze them so I have a  variety of them ready for weekday lunchbags.  Muffins are very easy to make, are healthy snack options, and most freeze very well.

Bran Muffin
Bran Muffin

For years, I had trouble getting bran muffins to rise into the nice dome-shape we expect to see in muffins.  I finally discovered that it wasn’t the recipes I had tried but rather was the oven temperature that was causing the muffins to stay flat.  Muffins, generally, need to bake at a relatively high temperature (i.e., 375°F – 425°F but, for bran muffins, I find that if I preheat the oven to 500°F first and then drop it back to 400°F the moment I place the muffins in the oven, they rise into the rounded dome shape instead of staying flat.  It seems the instant burst of really high heat when they initially go in the oven activates the leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda) more quickly causing the muffins to rise better.  Below is a photograph of what a perfectly domed muffin should look like.  I finally got it!

Here are some other muffin-making tips I have learned over the years:

  • Don’t use an electric mixer to mix muffin batter and do not overmix the batter.  Just stir the batter until the flour mixture is incorporated.  The batter will be lumpy – that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Overmixing will make a tough-textured muffin.
  • Ingredients should be at room temperature.  If the recipe calls for shortening or butter, it is best to have it at room temperature for creaming as opposed to softening it in the microwave which can sometimes, too quickly, turn the fat source (or part of it) into liquid which can change the consistency and texture of the muffins.
  • Each muffin cup, as well as the entire top surface of the muffin pan, should be greased or sprayed with a no-stick cooking spray.  Greasing the top of the muffin pan makes it easier to remove muffins if the batter has spread over the top edges of the individual muffin cups.
  • Use an ice cream scoop or small ladle to fill the muffin cups with the batter.
  • Do not overbake muffins.  Muffins are done when they spring back to a light finger touch or when a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5-7 minutes, then carefully remove each one to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Removing the muffins too quickly from the pan may cause them to break apart before they have “set”.

Today, I am sharing my recipe for bran muffins with raisins and applesauce.  The applesauce would be my featured Island product in this recipe as it was made with apples I picked at Arlington Orchard in Arlington, PEI, west of the City of Summerside.  I make and freeze a lot of applesauce in the fall when the apples are fresh and plentiful.

Basket of Bran Muffins
Basket of Bran Muffins

The Bistro’s Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

2 eggs

⅓ cup applesauce

1 cup sour milk*

¼ cup molasses

½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp grated orange rind

1½ cups natural bran

¼ cup shortening, softened at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda

¼ tsp cinnamon

⅛ tsp allspice

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup raisins (optional)

(*To make one cup sour milk, place 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice in one-cup measuring cup.  Add enough milk to equal one cup.  Stir. Let stand 4-5 minutes before using.)

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Grease muffin tins or spray with a no-stick cooking spray.  Be sure to grease or spray the entire top of the muffin pan as well.  Alternatively, line each muffin cup with a paper liner.

Preheat oven to 500°F (then drop it back to 400°F when muffins are placed in oven).

Break eggs into bowl.  Whisk lightly.

Add applesauce, sour milk, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, and orange rind.  Whisk together well.

Add the bran.  Stir until completely incorporated.  Set aside for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.  Whisk to combine ingredients.

In separate bowl, cream shortening well.  It should almost be the consistency of thick cream when it has been well creamed.

Pour the wet bran mixture into the bowl and stir well to blend in the shortening.  Mixture will be lumpy.

Add wet bran mixture and raisins to the dry ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, gently stir mixture just until flour is incorporated.  Do not overmix.

Using an ice cream scoop or a small ladle, fill muffin tins to just about the top of the rim.

Reduce oven heat from 500°F to 400°F and place muffins in oven.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until muffins spring back to a light touch or a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Do not overbake.  Let muffins cool in pan for 5-7 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield:  12 muffins

Serve with butter and/or your favorite jam or marmalade.

Coffeebreak time!

Hamburger Soup

As I write this post, it is a stormy day on Prince Edward Island with high winds and lots of snow – brrrrrrrrrr.  Most of the Island is shut down, including the Confederation Bridge which links us to the mainland in New Brunswick.  Roads are filling in as soon as the plows clear them.  It’s a stay-at-home day, for sure.   Stormy days always put me in the mood for good old-fashioned homemade soup — dinner in a pot and it smells sooooo good simmering away on the stove.

Hamburger Soup
Hamburger Soup

This is the recipe I have been using for years for hamburger soup.  It is very mildly seasoned so the taste of the vegetables comes through.  This is a true comfort food soup.  Like any soups, if you don’t care for a particular vegetable omit it and replace it with one you do like.

I make this soup and freeze it in individual containers to have ready for weekday lunches at work (it reheats well in the microwave).  For this reason, I don’t use potato in this soup because I don’t find potatoes freeze well (they tend to go grainy and mushy).  If you are planning to eat this soup as soon as it is made, then potatoes may be added.  For the freezer version, I replace the potatoes with a pasta – today it was macaroni I used.

Hamburger Soup

 Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp oil

1 lb extra-lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup diced celery

⅔ cup diced turnip

¼ cup diced green pepper

1¾ cups diced carrots (about 3 medium-sized)

½ cup diced parsnip

¼ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

1½ tsp dried basil

1½ tsp dried parsley

6 whole allspice

¼ – ½ tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

6 cups beef stock

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 – 19 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 – 10 oz can mushrooms, drained

20 oz. tomato soup

1 large bayleaf

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup long-grain rice

½ cup diced zucchini (with peel)

1 cup raw macaroni

Directions:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Hamburger Soup
Ingredients for Hamburger Soup

Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon.  Fry beef for about 4-5 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

Drain off, and discard, excess liquid.

Add onion, celery, turnip, green pepper, carrots, and parsnip.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add garlic powder or salt, basil, parsley, whole allspice, salt and pepper.  Stir and sauté for 6-8 minutes.

Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato soup, bay leaf, and sugar.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Add rice and zucchini and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Lastly, add the macaroni and simmer for an additional 10-12 minutes until the macaroni is cooked.

Remove and discard whole allspice and bayleaf.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve with baguette slices, crusty rolls, or crackers.

Freezes well.

Yield:  10-12 servings

 My featured Island product in this recipe was ground beef from KJL Select Meats in Charlottetown, PEI.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Valentine’s Afternoon Tea – Petit Fours and Tulips

Is there anything more genteel than afternoon tea!  And, is there anything more perfect for a tea event than petit fours.  They are so dainty covered in poured fondant; it’s like each one is a tiny parcel waiting to be unwrapped to see what lies inside.  For these, I used a simple white cake sandwiched together with rich strawberry jam.

Petit Fours
Petit Fours

Today’s tea is more on the sweet side.  A selection of some of my favorite squares, melting moments, divinity fudge, and macarons.

Tea Table Fancies
Tea Table Fancies

The addition of a lovely fruit scone never goes wrong, particularly when spread with delectable homemade strawberry jam.

Fruit Scone with Strawberry Jam
Fruit Scone with Strawberry Jam

What would Valentine’s be without chocolate-dipped strawberries.  In keeping with the pink theme and the delicate pink dishes, I have dipped the strawberries in pink chocolate.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

These dishes with their dainty pink rose design are perfect for a Valentine’s tea.

These hand-decorated cookies are sure to be a conversation piece.

This four-tier server is perfect for small tea tables since it doesn’t take up much space yet accommodates the different courses of the tea.

While roses are the most commonly associated flower with Valentine’s, there are other flowers that are equally as beautiful.  Today, I have chosen delicate pink tulips from the greenhouses of Vanco Farms in Mount Albion, PEI.  I do, on occasion, buy the tulips at our local Superstore but, when I want to be sure of a perfect match for my color scheme, I do drive out to the greenhouses….it’s a good excuse to be amidst such beautiful tulips!

Tulips are said to symbolize perfect love and the different colors of tulips have different meanings.  Pink tulips symbolize affection and caring.

Can you tell the color theme was pink!

These scones, fresh from the oven, and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, melt in the mouth and are a perfect prelude to the next course of sweets!

I like this antique silver teapot.  It lends elegance to the table.

Even Cupid drops in for a visit!

There is something cozy about a winter afternoon tea by the fireside.

I love this pink and white tea set.

The tiny flowers on the cookies and petit fours are made from fondant.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my Valentine’s Tea.  Today I will be joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for her Hearts and Flowers Tea.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

True Confessions of an Island Foodie’s Love Affair with Local Prince Edward Island Foods

Happy Valentine’s from Prince Edward Island!

As many of you know, I am part of the year-long Canadian Food Experience Project.  Each month, food blogger participants are prompted by a prescribed theme upon which to base a posting on their individual blogs.  The February theme is “My Canadian Love Affair”.

What follows is the menu and description of my Valentine’s dinner 2014, using several of my favorite Island food products. In order to meet the timelines of the Project, I have prepared my dinner a week early so it can be included in the Project’s monthly round-up.  My Canadian Love Affair is all about the great local food produced on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province.

When I think of foods that I love, well….there are many!  But, coming from an Island blessed with rich red fertile soil and surrounded by the sea, I would have to say that seafood and potatoes would rank high on my list.  So, for my Valentine’s dinner, I have incorporated both but the potatoes in one of the recipes may be presented in a form that could surprise some of you.  Here’s a taste to whet your appetite ….

The following is the four-course menu for my Valentine’s Dinner which features some of my favorite Island products:

Starter

Island Mussels

(steamed in apple cider and herbs and dipped in Island-churned butter)

Soup

Jeff McCourt’s PEI Seafood Chowder

(a rich, smooth, and creamy chowder filled

with a variety of PEI seafood and Island potatoes)

Main

Lobster Newburg served in a patty shell accompanied by a crisp green salad

(lobster and mushrooms in a rich sherry and cheese sauce)

Dessert

Chocolate Potato Cake

Wine Pairing:  Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine (PEI)

PEI Mussels
PEI Mussels

It would be hard to surpass PEI mussels.  They are shipped all over the globe and are world renowned.  There are many ways to prepare mussels and there are many different liquids in which they can be steamed, each of which will give a slightly different flavor to the mussels.  The important thing about steaming mussels is to use very little liquid. Using too much liquid will diminish the flavor of the mussels. It is the steam from the liquid that forces the mussel shells open, not the amount of liquid itself.  These delicacies take very little time to cook – they are cooked when the shells open, a process that generally takes about 5-7 minutes.  Be sure to discard any shells that have not opened during the steaming process.

Today, I have steamed the mussels in a small amount of apple cider enhanced by a sprinkle each of lemon thyme, parsley, and basil all dried from our garden last summer.  How much liquid is needed is based, of course, on how many mussels are being steamed.  Because I was only steaming about 15-20 mussels for these two appetizers, I only used about 2 tbsp of apple cider.

While mussels are used in various recipes, including mussel chowder, the most common way to eat mussels on the Island is dipped in melted butter (oh-là-là!).  Mussels are a common food found at many get-togethers because they are quick and easy to prepare and are so very tasty.

For the second course, I couldn’t bypass an all-time favorite of mine – a good seafood chowder.

Seafood Chowder
Seafood Chowder

This recipe comes courtesy of the Culinary Boot Camps at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown.  This award-winning recipe was developed by Chef Jeff McCourt who was the chef instructor at the one-day “Island Flavors” Boot Camp that I attended a couple of years ago.  This chowder was one of the dishes that participants made at the Boot Camp.  The Culinary Institute kindly gave me permission to share the seafood chowder recipe as part of the story I was writing on the Boot Camps.  If you find yourself on PEI during the summer/fall seasons when the Culinary Boot Camps are operating, this is a fantastic way to learn about cooking with local Island products and flavors.  Click here to see my story on the Boot Camps and to get the PEI Seafood Chowder recipe.

I have made many seafood chowder recipes but have not found any that I liked better than this one.  It is filled with a great variety of delectable Island seafood along with PEI potatoes and has a rich, tasty chowder base.  Seafood chowder is a great way to sample several different kinds of local seafood all in one dish. This recipe suggests a variety of seafood that includes lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, and crab.  On PEI, we would typically serve the seafood chowder with crusty rolls, biscuits, or baguette slices.

For my main course, I simply had to choose lobster!  Lobster is still the seafood king on the Island and Islanders love their lobster.

Lobster
Lobster

The most typical way Islanders enjoy their lobster is straight out of the shell, dipped in melted butter, and served with potato salad, coleslaw, and rolls.  A jellied salad and slices of tomato and cucumber are also often  included.

There are numerous enterprises around the Island that, seasonally, serve lobster suppers that generally consist of mussels, seafood chowder, lobster in the shell, salads, rolls, and a selection of pies and other desserts.  There are three main lobster supper venues on PEI.  Saint Anne’s Church Lobster Suppers in Hope River, not far from Cavendish, PEI, began in 1963 when a priest came up with the idea to have lobster suppers as a means to raise money to pay off the $35,000 mortgage on the church.  New Glasgow Lobster Suppers in New Glasgow, in operation since 1958, and Fishermen’s Wharf Restaurant in North Rustico also serve full lobster suppers as well.  A traditional lobster supper at one of these establishments is a must-stop for lobster lovers visiting PEI.  In addition, most restaurants on the Island will feature lobster in one form or another on their menus.  Last summer, I crisscrossed the Island in search of the best lobster roll on PEI since these are a common menu item for many restaurants.  Click here to read about which one was my favorite.

The popularity of lobster is somewhat ironic.  Today, it is a high-priced food, often considered by many a luxury and reserved for special occasions.  However, on PEI, that was not always the case.  I remember speaking with an Island woman who grew up about 65 years ago in an Island fishing community where her father was a lobster fisherman.  She remembers being embarrassed opening her lunch at school and revealing a lobster sandwich since lobster was associated with poor people!  My, how times have changed!

As a child, I had no interest in eating lobster.  In fact, when my family was having a “feed of lobster” at home, my mother always roasted me a chicken!  They would coax me to try the lobster but it just didn’t appeal to me.  Finally, as a young adult, I gave in and tried a bite of lobster….well, let’s just say that’s when my love affair with lobster began and I’ve been making up for all the years I didn’t eat it!

So, it would be a logical choice that I would choose lobster as the main course for a special Valentine’s dinner.  I have opted to go with a traditional Lobster Newburg served in light and airy patty shells accompanied by a crisp green salad.

Lobster Newburg
Lobster Newburg

Lobster is fished in PEI from spring through to fall so we have no winter lobster fishing season on the Island.  Many of us freeze lobster meat when it is in season to enjoy in recipes, like Lobster Newburg, throughout the remainder of the year.  My recipe for Lobster Newburg can be made with either fresh or frozen lobster meat.

Lobster Newburg
Lobster Newburg

Lobster Newburg, although it is often considered an elaborate menu item, is really quite easy to prepare.  It’s also a good way to stretch lobster to increase the number of servings you can get from the meat of a lobster.  What makes Lobster Newburg so tasty and silky in texture is the sauce.  This is a rich, creamy cheese and sherry sauce so large portion sizes are not necessary.  I traditionally serve Lobster Newburg in patty shells.  However, it can also be presented over toast points or served over a bed of steamed rice.  Or, it may be served in small individual casserole dishes with a side of steamed asparagus spears.  The recipe for my Lobster Newburg follows at the end of this posting.

Much as Islanders have an enduring love affair with food that comes from the sea that surrounds us, we also have a special fondness for our famous PEI potatoes.  For the past two years, I have followed a couple of potato farmers from the planting of the crop to the harvesting process.  To read these stories and get a couple of my favorite potato recipes, here are the two links to the postings for Smith Farms of Newton, PEI and Eric C. Robinson Inc., of Albany, PEI.

I have chosen to serve a Chocolate Potato Cake as a finale to my Valentine’s dinner.  Yes, potatoes in a cake!  It’s amazing how many different ways potatoes can be served.  Earlier this week, I posted my recipe for Chocolate Potato Cake on my food blog.

To make this feast truly a PEI dinner, I chose a white wine from PEI’s Rossignol Winery in Little Sands, PEI.  The Island has three wineries – the other two are Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone and Matos Winery in St. Catherine’s, PEI.  Each makes fine wine that is a great accompaniment to any meal.

Rossignol's Little Sands White Wine
Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine

To compliment the tablesetting, I chose locally-grown tulips from Vanco Farms’ greenhouses in Mount Albion, PEI.  Aren’t they beautiful flowers!

Vanco Tulips
Vanco Tulips

So, this is my local flavors Valentine’s dinner for 2014, featuring some of my favorite and most loved local PEI foods and wine.  I hope you enjoy them, too!

Lobster Newburg

Ingredients:

4-5 oz cooked lobster (either fresh or frozen)

1 tbsp butter

3 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp butter

1½ tbsp flour

⅛ tsp paprika

pinch nutmeg

¾ cup whole milk or half-and-half

2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

½ tbsp sherry

1½ tsp brandy

1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon

salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Melt first amount of butter in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add and sauté mushrooms for approximately 2 minutes.  Set aside.

In separate saucepan, melt remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add flour, paprika, and nutmeg.  Whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.  Add cheese.  Stir mixture constantly until slightly thickened.

Add approximately 2 tbsp of the hot sauce to the egg yolk to temper the egg so it won’t curdle when added to the hot sauce.  Add the tempered egg to the sauce in the pan.

Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the lobster meat and mushrooms.

Add the sherry and brandy and cook and stir slowly for 1-2 minutes to heat the lobster and mushrooms.  Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Serve immediately in baked patty shells or over toast points or steamed rice.

Yield:  2-3 servings

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Chocolate Potato Cake

We are familiar with cakes made with vegetables like carrot and zucchini.  However, have you ever heard of potato cake?

We Islanders like our spuds, there is no doubt about it.  Potatoes are a very versatile vegetable and can be prepared and served in many different ways but have you ever heard of having them for dessert?  Well, combine potatoes with chocolate and some light spice seasoning and you have a really tasty cake.

What follows is my creation of a recipe for chocolate potato cake.  This is a fairly dense-textured cake so don’t look for it to have the same “foggy” and fluffy texture of a typical chocolate cake mix out of a box!  Despite the two cups of sugar in the recipe, it is not overly or sickeningly sweet.  The potatoes are cooked and mashed really well before adding them to the cake batter.  It is important that they be lump-free as, otherwise, you will have lumps in the cake batter.  The mashed potatoes should be warm when added to the batter.

You may find two or three of the ingredients different in this cake recipe.  For example, I have added a pinch of cayenne pepper because I find it enhances the depth of the chocolate flavor.  The key, of course, is not to overdo it – if you add too much, there will be excessive “heat” in the cake….just a pinch is all it takes.  The addition of the espresso powder is also another good way to draw out the flavor of the cocoa and lend a mocha flavor to the cake.  I have quite a collection of balsamic vinegars from our local Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.  One of them is the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar which is delicious when simmered on the stove, reduced down, and drizzled over ice cream.  If you have never tried a good quality balsamic vinegar reduction in this way, you are missing out on a delectable treat.  I added 1/2 tbsp of this balsamic vinegar to the chocolate cake batter.  This is a chocolate all-the-way cake!

I recommend baking this cake in a 10″ tube or bundt cake pan.  These pans have a hollow tube in the center of the pan and this allows dense-batter cakes to rise and bake more evenly.  There is also less chance of the cake falling in the middle or the outsides of the cake baking too quickly and drying out before the centre of the cake is baked.

The key to making this cake is not to overbake it.  Start checking it at about the 40-45-minute baking point.  If a cake tester does not come out clean at that point, continue to bake it but check it every 4-5 minutes.  If it overbakes, it will be dry.

Chocolate Potato Cake

2½ cups flour

¼ tsp salt

2¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

pinch cayenne

⅔ cup cocoa

¾ cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup warm mashed potatoes

½ cup milk

1½ tsp espresso powder dissolved in ⅓ cup hot water

2 tbsp Swiss Chocolate Almond Liqueur (or your favorite coffee liqueur)

½ tbsp dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (optional, but good)

1½ tsp vanilla

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake
Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line bottom of 10” tube pan with parchment paper.  Grease or spray cooking oil on sides of pan.

Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake
Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake

Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and cocoa.  Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine the brown and white sugars.

1-1-DSC01494

In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy (2-3 mins on medium-high speed). 

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well to incorporate after each addition.  

Add the mashed potatoes and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until batter is smooth.

Add the coffee, liqueur, balsamic vinegar, and vanilla to the milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  (Note – if you choose not to add the liqueur and/or balsamic vinegar, replace them with milk so that the liquid measurement equals 1 cup.)

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture (process is three additions of dry ingredients to two of liquid), mixing well after each addition. 

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula as necessary to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. 

Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently
Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. 

Bake for apx. 40-55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean and the cake springs back to a light touch.  Do not overbake or cake will be dry.

Baked Chocolate Potato Cake
Baked Chocolate Potato Cake

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Ice with your favorite frosting.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.