December 8, 2009


I live for Chocolate Cake.  This is not your ordinary Betty Crocker Cake here.  Be warned.  It is a Cake so deep, so rich and Chocolatey that you will be licking the plate then going back for a second piece.  It's the type of Cake that needs a big glass of cold Milk to follow it.  If you are on a diet or the type of person that eats a Mint Tic-Tac for dessert so you can stay thin, skip this recipe!  Better yet skip my whole blog!   This Chocolate Cake is beyond amazing and worth every calorie.  If you are going to have dessert it should be the best tasting and worth the effort.  Make and eat this Chocolate Cake and you are Cooking The Amazing!

See below for Black Forest Cake, Turtle Caramel Cake, and Oreo Cake recipes.

Who wouldn't want this amazing Chocolate Cake on their birthday? 

1 c  Baking Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 c  Sugar
1/2 c  Brown Sugar, dark, packed
1 3/4 c  Cake Flour (Can substitute all purpose flour)
1 t  Fine Sea Salt
1 1/4 t  Baking Soda
1 1/4 t  Baking Powder
3  Eggs, large
2 c  Buttermilk
1/2 c  Sour Cream
1/2 c  Vegetable Oil
1 T  Vanilla Extract

Butter to grease cake pans
Total Prep and Cooking Time: Approx. 1 hr 10 mins

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.

2. Butter two, 9 inch cake pans (or three 8 inch cake pans which gives more layer but thinner cake sections) and line the bottoms with parchment paper, buttering the parchment paper on top also.  Or butter one 13 x 9 baking dish. Or to make cupcakes, use paper liners unbuttered. Darker metal cake pans cook best.

3. Combine in a large bowl, all the dry ingredients : Cocoa Powder, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cake Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt. Sift through a fine mesh strainer until well combined for the lightest Cake.  Then whisk to ensure it is well mixed.

4. Using a hand mixer or KitchenAid combine the Eggs, Buttermilk, Sour Cream, Oil, and Vanilla Extract in a medium bowl and mix well.  It will look curdled.  Use all room temperature ingredients for the fluffiest Cake.

5. Add dry ingredients to the Egg, Milk and Oil mixture then mix with the hand mixer or KitchenAid for 1 minute, no longer. Over mixing creates a tough cake. The batter will be thin.

6. Let the mixed cake batter sit for 1 minute so the flour can absorb the liquid. It will look soupy thin.

7. Pour the batter in even amounts into the prepared cake pans which should be on a cookie sheet for easy transfer. Bake in center of the oven.

8. Bake at 350 degrees in center of your oven.  9 inch cake pans bake for 30-35 mins. or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Bake the three 8 inch cake pans for 28-32 minutes.  Bake the  13 X 9 baking pan for 45-50 minuites. Cupcakes bake for 21-25 mins. ***Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full or they will over flow.*** Don't over bake.

. Allow to cool 60 minutes before removing from pans. And cool completely before icing. For best results in appearance refrigerate the cakes before icing for about 30 mins. This cake is very moist and fragile. Hide cracks with icing. The cakes, when baked, will only fill about 3/4 of the cake pan and not come to the top.

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                      Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

See Ganache recipe and Butter Cream Icing recipe for 2 Chocolate Icing recipes.  

How to ice your Chocolate Cake:

1.  Place your baked and cooled Chocolate Cake layer on a plate or cardboard cake board (available online and at Michael's Craft Store).

2.  Place about 1/4 of the Icing on the center of the Cake and spread it out evenly to 1/4th inch of the edge.

3.  Add your next layer of Cake but place it upside down so the top is the flat side of the Cake and repeat icing with 1/4th of the Icing.

4.  Add the third layer of Cake, also upside down and place 1/4th of the Icing on top.  Ice all the way to the edge this time.

5.  Use the last 1/4th of the Icing and work it into the sides of the cake evenly all the way around.

6.  Dip a butter knife or an offset spatula into a glass of hot water then wipe it dry with a towel to smooth the Icing on top and the sides.  The hot knife will melt the Icing as you glide your knife across making a smooth appearance.

              German Chocolate Cake
Or for German Chocolate Cake use Coconut Pecan Icing.

TIP: Use a GOOD quality Vanilla Extract and Cocoa for the optimum flavor.  It makes a difference.


Chocolate Cupcakes With Raspberry Butter Cream Icing
Go to the  Butter Cream Icing recipe to make this delicious Raspberry Butter Cream Icing.

Amazing Chocolate Cake Recipes

  1. Prepare the Chocolate Cake recipe above.
  2. Prepare the Whipped Cream recipe.
  3. Prepare the whipped GANACHE recipe.
  4. 2 Cans of Cherry Pie Filling
  5. After cakes have cooled, layer cakes, alternating with whipped Ganache, canned Cherry Pie Filling, then Whipped Cream.
  6. Cover the cake with Whipped cream or unwhipped Ganache.
  7. Decorate with chocolate shavings and cherries or to be overly decadent, cherry cordial chocolate candies.


  1.  Prepare the Chocolate Cake recipe above.
  2. Prepare the Caramel recipe.
  3. Prepare the Chocolate Butter Cream recipe.
  4. 1 c of Pecan pieces.   1/2 c whole pecans.
  5. Allow the cakes to cool then layer, alternating with Chocolate Butter Cream, Caramel, and pecans.
  6. Ice the cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Icing and whole pecans drizzled in Caramel allowing to drizzle over the sides. 


  1. Prepare the Chocolate Cake recipe above.
  2. Prepare the Whipped Cream recipe.
  3. Prepare the Ganache recipe.
  4. 1 package of Oreo cookies.
  5. 1 package of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies.
  6. Allow cake layers to cool.
  7. Finely Crush all Oreo Cookies except 8 whole cookies to use as decoration later.  Use a food processor or place in a large baggie and roll with a rolling pin.
  8. Mix all Whipped Cream with the crushed Oreos until well mixed.
  9. Layer cake with Ganache then Oreo Whipped Cream then cake, etc.
  10. Ice the cake with the Ganache by pouring it over cake allowing it to run over sides then cover sides with a box of crushed Nabisco Chocolate Wafers.
  11. Top the cake with Whipped Cream and the 8 whole Oreo cookies.
  12. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up then remove and allow to come to room temperature before serving.



It's the icing on the cake that sometimes makes the cake.  This Butter Cream Icing in an American version of French Butter Cream that doesn't require any cooking on the stove top.  You know you are eating a good Butter Cream Icing because it's sweetness is perfectly balanced with creamy butter.   This recipe makes a great Butter Cream Icing that is easily piped into decorative designs if you like a more professional look to your cakes.   You can swirl it on cupcakes, add flavoring oils like peppermint or coconut to make a flavored Butter Cream Icing, and create amazing birthday cakes that taste a million times better than the store bought brands of frosting.  Making homemade Butter Cream Icing is easy, amazingly delicious, and takes just a few minutes.   You'll be Cooking The Amazing once you taste the best Butter Cream Icing you have ever made.

Here is the recipe.

Vanilla Butter Cream
  • 4 1/2  sticks   Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 5 c  Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T  Milk
  • 4 t Vanilla Extract
  • 3-5 t  Almond Extract
  • 1  Pinch fine grain Sea Salt (very small pinch)
  • Total Prep Time:  5 minutes (except time to soften butter.)

  1. Allow Butter to sit out until it is room temperature until softened.
  2. In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.
  3. Cream the butter with a hand mixer for 1/2 minute.
  4. 1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.
  5. In a small bowl add Milk, Salt (very very small pinch), Vanilla and Almond Extracts and mix well.  * Different brands of Almond Extract are stronger than others.  Start off with 2 t mix well and taste the finished product and add 1 t at a time until you get what tastes best to you.
  6. Begin mixing the Butter and Powdered Sugar again and add the liquid Milk and Extract mixture until mixed in well, approximately 2 mins. Taste.  Add more Almond Extract if needed.
  7. Keep Butter Cream Icing at room temperature for the best consistency to ice cakes.
  8. Refrigerate unused icing.  To use again, bring to room temperature then mix with a hand mixer for  about 1 minute before using.
  9. OTHER FLAVOR OPTIONS:  Reduce Almond extract to 1/2 tsp and add 4-6 tsp. of your favorite extracts like Peppermint or Coconut.  Or add 1/2 c to 1 c of Raspberry Jam or Strawberry Jam for a delicious Icing.

                              Coconut Butter Cream

TIP:  To make an amazing Coconut Butter Cream Icing reduce Almond Extract to 1/2 tsp and add 5 tsp of Coconut Extract (to your taste).  After icing the cake sprinkle coconut flakes on top allowing it to be loose and fluffy.  Adding coconut flakes to the icing instead of on top makes it very stiff and harder to spread and makes a less attractive finished product.

Chocolate Butter Cream

3  Sticks Butter, softened, no salt
3  c  Powdered Sugar
1/4 c Cocoa Powder
2 t Vanilla Extract
Pinch Fine Sea Salt (very small pinch)
12 oz.  Chocolate, chopped (or Chips)
1 c Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream)

1.  Allow Butter to sit out until it is room temperature until softened.

2.  In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.  Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 1/2 minute.

3.  1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.

4.  In a small bowl mix well Salt (very, very small pinch) and Vanilla Extract.  

 5.  Begin mixing the Butter and Powdered Sugar again and add the Cocoa Powder then the Salt and Vanilla Extract mixture.  Mix for 2 minutes.

6. Heat 1 cup of Heavy Cream to just boiling over medium high heat on the stove in a medium pan.  Pour the hot Cream over the 12 oz Chocolate in a bowl and stir until the Chocolate is covered.  Use good semi sweet Chocolate.  I like to use Dove Dark Chocolate candy (Dove Secrets) chopped or Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bitter Sweet Chips.
7.  Allow to cool on the counter for 5 minutes then stir until all the Cream is mixed in well, about 2 minutes of stirring.   Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes to cool, stirring every minute.  It will thicken.  Slowly add the melted Chocolate to the Butter Cream Mixture and mix until well incorporated, scraping the bowl down often.


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December 6, 2009




Incredible Brownies.   Two words that will immediately come to mind after the first bite of these rich, moist Brownies.    Brownies are a true classic American treat that everyone loves.  Especially when they have deep Chocolate flavor that melts in your mouth with every bite.  It is important to use good Chocolate for the ultimate Chocolate Brownie.   Better Chocolate makes a better Brownie.  These Brownies are not your average box mix tasting Brownies.  They have a complex flavor unlike any other Brownie you have tasted.   Bake these incredible Brownies and you are Cooking The Amazing.

TIP:  Prepare these Brownies with GANACHE  for a truly decadent incredible Brownie.  After Brownies have cooled to room temperature, pour hot ganache over the pan of Brownies and refrigerate until the Ganache is firm.  Remove Brownies and allow to come to room temperature to serve.

 Here is the recipe.

  • 2  Sticks Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 2 c  Sugar
  • 1 c  Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
  • 4  Large Eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 T  Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 c  All Purpose Flour
  • 1 c  Baking Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 t  Baking Powder
  • 1  1/4 c  Chocolate Chips, semi-sweet
  • Veg Oil Spray (Like Pam) for the pan
  • See Optional add ins below, add 1 1/2 cups each

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with Vegetable Oil Spray (like Pam).  You can also line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium pan, melt Butter over medium-low heat on the stove top then remove from heat.  
  4. Add the Sugar, Brown Sugar and Sea Salt and mix well off heat.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well between each addition then add the Vanilla Extract.  Try not to whip the eggs into a froth.
  6. In a medium bowl whisk the All Purpose Flour, Baking Cocoa Powder and 1/4 t Baking Powder until well combined. 
  7. Add all the Flour mixture to the melted Butter/Egg mixture until just mixed then add Chocolate Chips and any add ins (see TIP below) and mix.  Do not over mix. When there are no signs of the Flour stop mixing.
  8. Bake for 33-35 minutes in the center rack of your oven until center is just set.  Rotate the Brownies half way through baking for even baking.  Do not over bake or the Brownies will be dry and tough.  The Brownies will be puffy then deflate when they cool.  All ovens vary with how fast they bake.  The toothpick test does not work on this recipe because they are super moist.
  9. Allow to cool completely before cutting in the pan.  This is important.  These Brownies taste best when completely cooled after 4 hours when they have a chance to set.  It is hard to make Brownies and not eat them right away but the flavor does improve a lot if you can wait.  Over night is even better.  Store in an air tight container when cooled.

TIP:  Use the best Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Chips you can find like Ghirardelli or chop Dove Dark Chocolate candies into pieces in place of the Chocolate Chips.  It will make a huge difference.

TIP:   OPTIONS: Add ins to try like dried Cherries, White Chocolate Chips, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, cut up Snickers or Mounds Bars, or mini Reese Cups for an even more amazing Brownie.  Add about 1 1/2 cups of each.  And/Or cover with GANACHE and allow to set in the refrigerator.  See GANACHE recipe.

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December 5, 2009


The name sounds intimidating and so French.  Don't let that keep you from making one of the easiest and most delicious secrets in baking.  Ganache is that glossy frosting you see on fancy cakes, tarts, chocolate cupcakes, and cookies in bakeries.  It is also what truffle candies are made from.  Ganache is very versatile and used to fill desserts when whipped.  I use it to cover incredible brownies and mix it into whipped cream for amazing Chocolate Mousse.  You can add any flavoring you like to compliment whatever you are making such as peppermint extract, espresso, raspberry jam, orange extract, etc.   If you love chocolate, you can not live without Ganache!  After you taste this smooth, silky, creamy ganache you know you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

12  oz.  Chocolate, semi-sweet
1 c  Heavy Cream
1 t  Vanilla Extract
1-3 t of Flavoring (optional, see step 7)

TIP:  Use high quality Chocolate.  Like Ghirardelli, Valrhona, Dove.  You can use Chocolate chips but the lesser quality brands contain stabilizers that will cause the ganache to not set properly.  You can buy the above brands in bars at most grocery stores.  Ghirardelli makes a great chocolate chip 60 % cocoa that works fine with this recipe. 

1.  Using a serrated knife, chop up the chocolate into small pieces or chocolate chips and place in a medium bowl.

2.  Bring the Heavy Cream to a slow boil on medium high heat.   Remove from heat as soon as it begins to boil.

3.  Pour the hot Heavy Cream over the chopped Chocolate in the bowl.  Use a rubber spatula, push the Chocolate below the surface of the hot Cream so it is completely covered.  Do not stir.
4.  Allow the hot Cream to sit on top of Chocolate for 5 minutes undisturbed.

5.  After 5 minutes, whisk the Cream into the Chocolate.  At first, the Chocolate and Cream will look grainy and a lumpy mess this is normal.  As you continue to whisk the Cream and Chocolate it will suddenly become very liquid and shiny.  Whisk until completely incorporated and all the chocolate is melted, approx 2 mins total. 

6.  Add the Vanilla Extract and mix well.  About 45 secs more whisking.

7.  If you are adding optional flavorings, add them with the Vanilla Extract.   Choose one Optional flavoring: 5-10  T  Seedless Raspberry Jam,  Seedless Blackberry Jam,  1 T Cognac,  1 T Espresso,  1  Orange Extract.  Or choose one of your own flavorings and adjust it to your own taste by adding more or less.

8.  If the Chocolate remains unmelted in small chunks after whisking, place the bowl of ganache into the microwave for 30 secs on high.  Remove and whisk until smooth and all chunks of Chocolate are melted.  If needed, microwave for 15 secs. more and whisk until smooth.  Your ganache is now ready for your recipe calling for ganache.

For an amazing chocolate mousse that melts into your mouth try my recipe here.

Or dip chocolate cupcakes into ganache and allow to set up at room temperature for a shiny smooth icing that is rich and amazing and very French.

 TIP:  Whisk slowly and avoid incorporating air into the mixture.  Rapid whisking will develop small air bubbles that will prevent it from pouring smooth.

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December 3, 2009



There are a million and one Chili recipes and many of them are very good.  This is a Classic American Chili recipe.  It makes a hearty and delicious chili that is not complicated with so many ingredients that you won't bother making it.  The key to a good Classic American Chili is allowing the flavors of the chili powder, vegetables and meat to meld into a wonderful full flavored dish that warms you all over.   We all know how much better chili is the next day after the flavors have had a chance to develop.  The trouble is, who can wait until tomorrow with the smell of chili cooking on the stove.  Use this recipe to build your own chili masterpiece by adding your favorite toppings or adjusting the heat with more chili powder or more garlic for more intense taste.  This recipe is not my recipe but is Lee's Famous Chili recipe that I think is the best.  It is just an amazing classic chili recipe.  No weird ingredients like day old black coffee, just common ingredients that you would expect when you are Cooking The Amazing.

TIP:  Use this as Master Recipe and increase or decrease ingredients to your own taste. 

Here is the Recipe.

1 T Olive Oil
1 t Butter
1 large Yellow Onion, diced fine
2 Garlic Cloves, minced fine
1 lb Ground Beef
2 (15 ounce) cans Tomato Sauce (Like Hunt's)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can Stewed Tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can Kidney Beans, drained
2 T Chili Powder
1 t Salt, fine Sea Salt is best
1 t ground Black Pepper

TIP:  Try using black beans or pinto beans as a substitute or in addition to the kidney beans.


1.  In a large pot, melt butter then add olive oil over medium heat.

2.  Sauté onions until soft then add garlic and stir for 1 minute.

3.  Add ground beef to onion mixture and cook until browned and cooked through.

4.  Drain any fat off from the mixture once cooked.

Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, beans and stir well. 

5.  Add chili powder, salt, pepper and stir well.

Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper or chili powder as needed.  Bring back to the boil and stir well.

6.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 45 mins., covered with a lid on.  Taste for seasonings again before serving and adjust as needed.

Top your chili with cheddar cheese, fresh diced onions, jalapeño peppers, or serve your chili over cooked spaghetti noodles for a twist.  Make this recipe your own by adding your favorite toppings.

TIP:  This Chili recipe freezes well and will keep up to 2 months frozen.