Flourless chocolate cake.

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Here is the cake recipe everyone has been asking for. You can’t go wrong with this…. I’ve been told by the ladies over in Eastwick that it is to die for.
Here is what you will need.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter.
16oz semisweet chocolate ( let’s not get all upity you all know that tollhouse chips are amazing… I know you eat them right out of the bag in the middle of the night.
5 large eggs room temp.. Like sat out for hours not “oh I just pulled them out of the fridge they should be fine.
Separate the whites from the yolks into two bowls each big enough to accommodate a hand mixer. That will come in handy later.
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla ( real vanilla extract. This is a pantry must have that is worth splurging on. Good quality is just better.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 cup cream.
Preheat the oven to 350
1. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 12 inch spring form pan. Most recipes call for a 9 inch pan but I have always gone for 12 inches if I can get my hands on it. The bigger pan allows the batter to spread out and the result is a thin dense cake with brownie like edges. Grease it up good like you’re trying to get a dead horse out of the house through a doggie door.
Then dust it with flour. I know the title says flourless chocolate cake.. But I dust the pan with flour. If you are afraid of flour by all means substitute it for something else. It’s your cake, you can mess it up if you want.
2. Melt 8oz of the chocolate and the remaining butter together. I like to use a clear Pyrex bowl over a medium sized pan of boiling water. Use an oven mitt to hold the bowl when you stir so that you don’t get a steam burn.
I like to cut the butter into thin pieces before It goes in just to speed up the process and make myself feel like I know what I’m doing.
4. Quickly drink half a glass of wine.
5. While the chocolate and butter are melting I go ahead and use my hand mixer to beat the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla together.
6. Check and stir the chocolate and butter that are busy melting on the stove.
7. Beat the egg whites and salt together to form stiff peaks. I use my hand mixer because it’s out already and I’m a lazy ass. Just remember to clean the beaters well after mixing the yolks and sugar together.. Cause the whites won’t do their thing if you have any yolk floating around in there.
8. By this time you should be ready to down the second half of your glass of wine. The butter and chocolate are going to be crying out for your attention. So get over to that stove and make sure that chocolate and butter are mixed well and smooth as can be.
9. Slowly and carefully Combine the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Small amounts at first so that you don’t start to cook the egg or something ridiculous like that. I use a silicone spatula to blend.
10. When the chocolate and yolk mixtures are well blended you can begin to fold in the fluffy egg whites. I just scrape the mountain of fluff into the bowl with the chocolate and yolk mixture and go for it. Gently folding the chocolate into the egg whites. Don’t beat it, you’re not Discovering the men’s underwear section of the Sears catalog for the first time. You have to be gentle Go easy and the pay off is the whites will retain some of their fluffiness and your batter will be perfection.
11. Pour the mixture into the pan. And pop it into the center rack of the oven. I like to let it bake for 30-35 minutes I find that I like it best when the top forms a crack.
12. Remove the pan sides and place the cake on a cooling rack, I like to leave the bottom of the pan on until the cake is cool. When it’s cool flip that sucker over onto the plate you want it to live on. Remove the pan bottom.

Now it’s time for the ganache. The decadent chocolate layer of heaven that we are going to smear all over the cake.
1. Repeating the double boiling situation that I used earlier I melt the other 8oz of chocolate and 1/2oz cream together. I like to pour the cream over the chocolate right in the beginning and let them get well acquainted. As the chips begin to melt I try to pay more attention to what is on the stove and not what is on the TV. Stir until the cream and chocolate are mixed into smooth creamy amazingness.
2. Pour that bowl full of heaven on top of your cooled cake. I pour it all in the middle and work the ganache to the outer edge of the cake.
You can eat the cake now or… I like to cover it carefully and put it in the fridge for a day or two. The ganache will turn into a fudge like layer that will make your knees weak.
Now what I like to do is serve it with some fruit and whipped cream.
You can be lazy and top it with fresh fruit like ripe raspberries. I love this way just so you know. Or you can make more work for yourself by getting another pan dirty while making some fresh jam.
Cut up fresh strawberries, enough to fill a small sauce pan adding a little water and some sugar and boiling the mixture stirring often until it cooks down to a sweet thick syrup. This can be done ahead of time of course but then you can’t say Hey I just made this jam and make everyone think you are Betty freakin Crocker all of a sudden.
For the whipped cream topping
I like to use heavy whipping cream.. Like a 1/2 cup? Not sure exactly so just wing it. I put in a splash of rose water about half a tablespoon. And a hand full of sugar. It doesn’t have to be precise so just experiment. Less sugar is better as the cake itself is going to be really sweet. All ingredients go into a big mixing bowl, use a hand mixer and beat the hell out of it until it becomes a fluffy cloud of rose scented madness.
If I am serving the cake with the fresh jam, I pool the jam on the plate then top it with the cake and then the whipped cream.
If I go the fresh berry route I like to top the cake slices with the berries and then add the whipped cream.

I’m sure you can do this and trust me it will make all the ladies at your next church potluck hate you for being so damn good in the kitchen.

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You are my bread and butter.

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The guys and I have fallen in love.
We have a family owned bakery just a few short minutes from our house and we can’t stop eating their pumpkin cookies. They are not of this world. I am pretty sure that angels deliver the baked goods to this bakery each night while we are all safely tucked into our beds. The first time Ty and I tasted one of these pumpkin cookies we found ourselves whispering to each other. We whispered things like, I can’t believe this is real, my mouth is full of happiness and sunshine. We laughed at each other while trying to describe what we were eating. We found it was impossible to detail the experience without using words and phrases often heard being used by Care Bears. The creamy icing was so thick. So rich. The cookie , I use the word cookie for lack of a better word. The cookie was a little plump pillow of perfection. Subtle flavors all joining together to make me want to throw on some leg warmers and dance the entire audition scene from Flash Dance including the break dancing sequence. Yeah. They are that good. If unicorns exist they eat pumpkin cookies for every meal.
The Homestead Bakery is just a few minutes from Arthur Illinois. It is located on the family farm best known for it’s yearly transformation into The Great Pumpkin Patch. The Bakery is tucked into beautifully tended gardens and has breathtaking views from its front porch of the surrounding farm. You can look south and see fields stretching out all the way to the horizon. It’s easy to breathe here. It’s easy to shift gears and relax. Walking up to the front door of The Bakery you are greeted with their sense of humor.IMG_3737.JPG The gardens that surround and shelter the front porch are filled with beautiful plants. Some decorative and some beautiful and edible.

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As you approach the door the smell of fresh baked goods greets you like an old friend. As people come and go the door opens releasing the scents of cinnamon rolls and warm bread. I found myself drawn inside nose first. The memories of my childhood rising up around me. I could see myself on a step stool covered in flour rolling out cookies. It’s impossible to visit here without also visiting those memories.
Stepping inside the store you are gently coaxed in by shelves neatly arranged with loaves of bread. Cinnamon rolls lovingly covered in homemade frosting. Banana bread that will make you want to smack your mama. You will become very aware after stepping the first foot into the store that this is the real deal. If you would even hold onto a tiny shred of doubt that this place is legit all you have to do is take another few steps and you can peer into the kitchen through glass windows and watch the Amish Bakers at work. Watching the Bakers work fresh dough into cinnamon swirled confections is amazing to say the least. They make it all look so easy. Effortless. It’s like watching your favorite cooking show… But it’s real, and happening right in front of your face. The best difference between the two is that when you are done watching these artisans work, you can taste their masterpieces. You can take home their work and share it with your family. An experience like that is rare and only one of the things that make this place a must visit.
In the store you will also find the most incredible selection of Angel Food cakes. These cakes are made from scratch and the Bakers pride themselves in being able to get their cakes to stand taller than any others. Anyone who has ever attempted to make an Angel Food cake knows. It’s not a simple process. It takes skill and patience. The Angel Food Cakes alone require hundreds, Hundreds of egg whites. I learned during my last visit that each egg white is separated from the yolk by hand to insure that not even the slightest bit of the yolk enters into the cake batter. Hours and hours of work go into just preparing the egg whites alone! I also found out that the yolks from the eggs are then used to create the bakery’s pumpkin noodles. Their pumpkin noodles can be used for a million different things, our favorite is to use them as a substitute for traditional noodles any time we roast a chicken or turkey and are craving a comfort food side dish and beef and noodles… Forget about it!! Your life will never be the same.

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As the guys and I sit here and talk about The Bakery we get all giddy. The baked goods are out of this world, but we can’t help but also love the fact that they are homemade. The family that owns this little slice of culinary heaven are real people. Down to earth and lovely and real. The sort of people that you wish were your neighbors. We feel good about supporting them. Good people selling a quality product. What could be better than that? Not to mention the prices are very reasonable. You can pick up a jar of homemade apple butter for around $3.50!!!! That’s right locally made for under four bucks. Don’t get me started on their pumpkin butter. Soooo good.
With pumpkin season growing close make plans to visit The Homestead Bakery while you visit The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur Illinois. If you visit in October you will most likely walk right by The Bakery as it is between the parking area and the entrance to The Great Pumpkin Patch. You can sit out on the porch of The Bakery and sample some home baked goodness and sip one of their very own ice cold glass bottles of root beer. It’s the perfect place to start your visit and a great place to unwind and enjoy a little extra time out on the farm before you head home.
Plan your visit today!! Maybe we will see you there!

Learn more The Great Pumpkin Patch

The Homestead Bakery
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http://www.timmyvalentine.com

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