Dark and Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake

Dark and Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake

It’s 12:01 a.m. on November 2nd, which means I am now officially 55. That sounds crazy. But then again, it doesn’t.

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated my youngest child’s 25th birthday, and by the time this year is up we will celebrate the births of four of my grand babies. I guess it’s clear my life is now going into a whole new phase. And I’m ok with that.

Life amazes me in that there are so many different ways we can approach how we live. As I get older, I’m beginning to see each day as an opportunity to do something more meaningful than I did before, not just because I’m older and have less time, but because I’ve lived long enough to know what matters.

A beautiful friend of mine, Joan Hayes from the wonderful blog Chocolate, Chocolate and More, passed away days ago at the young age of 49 – leaving behind three beautiful children and hundreds (if not thousands) of people who loved her. I was fortunate enough to spend a few precious moments with her last month at a food blogger dinner in Seattle. I can still feel her warm hug and see her brilliant smile. Just a few weeks after noticing how full of life this gorgeous lady was, she went to sleep one night for the last time. I love and miss her like many others.

When people we love die, especially suddenly without warning, most of us start to think about our own mortality, or at least begin contemplating how brief life truly is. For some reason, after hearing the news about Joan, I  started thinking less about the things I want to do before my life ends, and more about the kind of time I want to spend with the people I love, especially my kids and grand babies.

As I get older, I’m starting to feel strongly about making sure I share with my kids some important things I’ve learned as a mother, sister, auntie, friend and grandma. Years ago I would have chuckled at the thought of such a flawed, imperfect, mistake-making, and kinda crazy girl like me having anything of substance to share, but I think God can use all kinds of people, with all kinds of pasts or issues, to love, teach and strengthen others.

So since I’m thinking about all this, and it’s my birthday, I think I’ll share right here and now a few things I’ve learned in my 55 years. My hope is that I still have plenty of time to practice these things (and more) with those people with whom God has gifted me. This little list is dedicated to my Justin, Jaye, Jasmine, little Jaye, Aaliyah, Maya, Bradley, Kim and Jessica. I love you with all my heart.

10 things my faith in God has taught me

  1. Don’t ever look at yourself through the lens of another human being – see yourself as God sees you.
  2. Pride is destructive. If someone you love offends you or makes it difficult for you, always (ALWAYS) respond with love.
  3. Be quick to say you are sorry, even if you think it may not be fully your fault. It’s ok.
  4. Learn what it means to honor your parents, and then do it. You will never be sorry for that. But it will hurt later if you don’t, even if you didn’t have the greatest relationship with your parent(s).
  5. Listen to others, and try as hard as you can to make it less about you.
  6. Pray every day. If you can’t think of what to say to God, just thank Him for the beautiful things in your life. Thank Him until you feel it.
  7. Err on the side of mercy. If you think someone you love needs correction, it’s always better to error on the softer side. You won’t be sorry.
  8. Forgive, forgive, forgive others. It frees your heart.
  9. Try not to be addicted to anything.
  10. Trust in God/Jesus’ love and forgiveness for you. There is nothing it can’t overcome.

Garlic Girl Family

About the Cake

Every year I like to make myself a birthday cake. I usually opt for chocolate because I adore it, and because I think any other kind of sugar is a waste of calories if it’s not chocolate. I wanted to make sure this year’s cake was chocolate to also honor wonderful and beautiful Joan. So many other bloggers are doing the same and sharing on social media via #chocolateforjoan. If you have a few minutes, go give her blog a follow, which by the way will continue through the efforts of her friends and family.

This week I made this chocolate bundt cake three times to make sure it was as rich, dense, dark, moist and decadent as I needed and wanted. I made a version for my work buddies, my family, and then made mini cakes today (with the same recipe) for my brother’s birthday which is also this week.

ark and Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake2

If you love that intense dark chocolate flavor, then you will be hooked on this cake and the fairly basic recipe. If you make it, please share it with your loved ones, and give them an extra hug just because you can.

Jodi xoxo

Dark and Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cake
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • ⅓ cup (plus 2 tablespoons) dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1½ sticks), room temperature
  • 1½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For the Ganache
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: chopped almonds, chopped white chocolate for garnish over Ganache
  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Generously grease bundt pan with butter; dust with cocoa and set aside.
  3. In heat resistant bowl, add 1 cup hot, boiled water to the chocolate and 3 ounces of the cocoa. Whisk until smooth and let cool.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder, salt; set aside.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. To butter mixture, add ¼ cup of the flour mixture and beat on medium until incorporated. Add yogurt, continue to beat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
  6. Alternate adding the flour and the chocolate mixture, leaving flour as the last addition. Beat until smooth.
  7. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted at the top of cake. Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes; remove cake and cool completely on wire rack.
  9. For Ganache, in small pan heat heavy cream on medium until it begins to simmer. Poor over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake. If desired, end by sprinkling almonds and white chocolate.
  10. Enjoy!


Hot Chocolate Cookie Bites with Marshmallow Whipped Cream

Hot Chocolate Cookies
Ever wonder what it would be like to eat a cup of hot chocolate with melted marshmallows? I have. So I did a little experiment and baked up cookies that combine all the things I love about hot chocolate.

Here’s a peek inside my cookie brainstorming session: 1. I love chocolate, 2. I love hot chocolate with whipped cream, 3. I love chocolate and cinnamon, 4. I love marshmallows, and 5, I love hot Mexican chocolate with whipped cream around the holidays!

I’ve never been big on the whole Christmas cookie thing, but after being invited to a cookie swap by one of my favorite food blogger buddies over at My Kids Eat Squid, I immediately got excited about it and before you know it, I was daydreaming about what cookie to bake.

I love these cookies. Seriously, I closed my eyes when I was eating one and it really tasted like I was taking a bite out of hot chocolate. When will I ever grow up?!

One last note, they are a little tricky to transport with all their sticky goodness.

These cookies have the texture of a snickerdoodle, rich chocolate flavor with a bite, and the whipped center is perfectly creamy and marshmallowy!

Hot Chocolate Cookie Bites with Marshmallow Whipped Cream
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes about 18 sandwich cookies
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon (split)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder - (split) optional
  • pinch of cayenne powder - optional
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (split)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • ½ cup marshmallow cream (I used Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For cookie dough, in large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and ½ teaspoon of the chili powder.
  3. In mixing bowl, cream butter with ¾ cup of the sugar (note that you need to reserve ¼ cup for later).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined.
  6. Line cooke sheet with parchment paper.
  7. For cookie coating, in shallow bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon chil powder, cayenne (if using); set aside.
  8. With clean hands, shape a small teaspoonful of the dough into a ball, roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat surface, place on cookie sheet and gently press with bottom of glass to flatten.
  9. Repeat until mixture is used up.
  10. Bake for 8 minutes, cool completely.
  11. For the filling, in mixing bowl, cream 1 cup of confectioners' sugar with 4 tablespoons of butter. Add ½ cup of marshmallow cream, vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth.
  12. Spoon small amounts of filling on center of flat side of cookie. Place flat side of anohter cookie over the filling and gently turn from left to right to spread filling evenly, until it reaches the edges.
  13. Makes about 2 dozen.

Instead of rolling each cookie, you can toss several at a time in a bowl!

This whipped filling is not too sweet and just stiff enough to hold the cookies together!


Most Clicked Chocolate Cake Recipe

k Chocolate Cake

For my birthday this week, I took a vacation day from work just because it was my birthday. And I got to thinking how I’ve never made myself a birthday cake, so guess what I did? I can’t tell you how excited I was to do this! I decided on a chocolate cake using the most clicked chocolate cake recipe from Epicurious. I’ve included this recipe below, which is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe because it’s simple and moist with a rich chocolate taste. I can see why people “click” on it so much.

Of course you can use the frosting of your choice, but I’ve included the chocolate ganache frosting that goes with the Epicurious recipe below. If you want to create a frosting like I did, opt for either a butter cream or royal frosting because you’ll need one that will be firm enough for piping.

Here’s a basic recipe for buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
a few drops food coloring (optional)

For my icing, I added red and yellow Wilton icing colors to create a peach color and decorated the top using a basic tip (Wilon 1M). It was easy: I just created circles first and then swirled to the middle. If you’re new to cake decorating and want some general tips, here’s a good place to start. There are also great video tutorials on YouTube!

For the center layer, since I love whipped cream, I whipped 2 cups heavy cream with two tablespoons of sugar and a little vanilla extract and used that for the center layer. But you can use what you like – it’s your cake!

Helpful tips for this recipe:
- Start checking cake at 50 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center. When it comes out dry, it’s done. Mine was done at 55 minutes.
- If your pans are not 10 inch, don’t use all the batter because your cake will overflow. The recipe is for 10 inch rounds.
- If you are decorating with buttercream icing, make sure to add a crumb layer of frosting so you don’t get chocolate crumbs throughout your masterpiece.


Most Clicked Chocolate Recipe
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 11/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used unsweetened dark cocoa powder, and only 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • For ganache frosting
  • note: if you want to use buttercream, read what I wrote in my post)
  • 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • Special equipment
  • Two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans
  1. Make cake layers:Preheat oven to 300° F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
  2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  4. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
  5. For chocolate ganache frosting (this is not for buttercream frosting):
  6. Finely chop chocolate. In a 1½- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
  7. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


Whole Wheat and Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies


With chocolate chip cookies on my top ten list of favorite sweets to eat, I’m always experimenting with different combinations of ingredients so that I have a handful of favorite go-to recipes at any given time. I like to play with different types of flour, chocolate chips and sugar, but as purist, I don’t stray very far with additions. Most recently, like with most sweets I’ve been baking, I’ve been using more and more whole wheat flour. In addition to enjoying the healthier aspect of whole grain flour,  I’m actually starting to prefer the grainier texture too.

In this recipe, I only used brown sugar for sweetness and I used Guittard milk chocolate chips which made a big difference in the creaminess department. The combination was so good that I didn’t do the typical sharing with others (shame on me). This time I stuck a bunch  in the freezer so we can relive the yumminess again and again. Every time we feel like a fresh chocolate cookie, we just send one or two on a 15 second trip in the microwave!

Whole Wheat and Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ¾ cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces Guittard Real Milk Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter.Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat until blended.
  3. In separate bowl, sift flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt amd add slowly to the butter mixture. Mix until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips until blended.
  4. The dough will be on the dryer side, so you may have to form a ball with your hands. Place cookes a couple inches apart on baking sheet and bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes.


Giant Skillet Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie

I think there’s a new tradition in my home that started just last week: weeknight dessert at Nina’s (that’s what my grand kids call me). I decided a quick dessert would be a good way to lure my son and his twins over so I could see all their faces and kiss the little ones goodnight. They don’t have to go very far – just four floors up – because my son Jaye lives in the same building that we do. So today, I planned to make dessert like last week, except I forgot that my daughter Jasmine was sick with the flu. Long story short, I ran out of time and did a last-minute search for a quick but yummy dessert. I’m so glad that I found this recipe because it hit the mark in every way! It’s fun to make, sweet, chewy, so easy – and the kids loved it! It’s just so great to stick a pan in the oven and take it out with a giant cookie! This skillet cookie recipe is just right because it slices perfectly, slides right out of the pan, is a little chewy and perfectly sweet. What more can you ask for?! Oh, did I mention this is made with whole wheat flour?

Adapted from This Homemade Life blog

Giant Skillet Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, with electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Then beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Now add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until blended. With a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate chips.
  3. Press cookie dough evenly into a medium cast iron skillet. You need to use an oven safe pan (even the handle needs to be oven safe).
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes on center rack, until edges begin to brown and the top is light golden brown. Let cool in pan.
  5. Serving Suggestion: These are awesome just as they are, but would be even more awesome topped with your favorite ice cream when they are still warm.




Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies literally make me happy. I just recently rediscovered them after completely forgetting about them for years and I’m seriously excited about it. What got me thinking about them was this amazing recipe called Champagne Kissed Whoopie Hearts created by The Cooking Photographer.
The recipe turned out great, and it got me thinking about what a true Whoopie Pie is because this wonderful treat reminded me more of Moon Pies I used to eat as a kid. They were big, individually packaged, round cookie sandwiches filled with marshmallow and dipped in chocolate.


Anyway, I started to google around a bit to understand the difference between a Moon Pie and Whoopie Pie and had my little aha moment when I stumbled on the absolutely best recipe EVER for Whoopie Pies (shared below) from a very cool blog called Omnomicon . It was then that I recalled eating Whoopie Pies as a kid growing up in New England. I guess that’s the origin of these fabulous little wonders. In fact, Maine and Pennsylvania are fighting about who can claim to be “Home of the Whoopie Pie.” I love it.


Authentic Whoopie Pies consist of two chocolate cake-like mounds filled with sweet cream. They are soft, chocolatey, sweet, cakey and creamy. Happiness, right. So Aleta from Omnomicon is even more excited about Whoopie Pies than me - and more importantly - shared her mom’s amazing recipe that I will cherish forever and ever…and ever. And now, I’m sharing it with you. Let me just say that this is easy and will make the people you make them for HAPPY.
Whoopie Pies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: a dozen
  • ¼ cup Crisco
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 11/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cream Filling
  • ½ cup margarine or butter (room temp) - I used butter
  • ½ c up Crisco (substitution not recommended)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup warm whole milk (20 seconds in the microwave should do it)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. In mixing bowl, add all wet ingredient and beat until blended. Add all dry ingredients to another bowl, mix together and then add slowly to wet mixture and beat until blended, scraping down bowl.
  3. Drop by small tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake exactly 8 - 9 minutes at 375 until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan immediately to wire rack to cool.
  4. For the cream, add all ingredients to mixing bowl and beat for about five minutes until the mixture is nicely thickened and creamy.
  5. Spoon onto flat side of one cake round and top with a cake round that is similar in size to the bottom. Press gently. Repeat until done.