TorontoJo's Profile

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Moist chocolatey chocolate cake recipe like a boxed mix?

Late to the game here, but I highly recommend my go to chocolate cake recipe. It's very similar to the Hershey's recipe above, but uses chocolate instead of cocoa. I'm pretty sure I got it off the back of a Bakers Chocolate box almost 30 years ago (yep, I started making this cake in high school). It's super moist and just the right level of chocolatey for me, and it's delicious with or without frosting. But I have to make my standard caveat: do NOT eat this the day you make it. It is a whole different animal after it rests at room temp for a day or two -- it gets moister and chocolatey-er with time.

EASY CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate (TJ's pound plus dark is perfect)
3 c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t. salt
2 c. water (I use a cup of coffee in place of half the water)
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 T. white vinegar
2 t. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring once or twice during heating. Cool slightly. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans (be sure to grease the pans very well – the cake is so moist that it can be difficult to turn out – I use parchment rounds at the bottom). Stir together dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Apr 23, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Where to find monocalcium phosphate (to make 'Calcium Water' for Pomona Pectin Use)?

Nella Cucina carries the Powder for Texture line. You can see the entire catalog here:

http://www.powderfortexture.com/colle...

One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Sadly, conservative and boring is par for the course for most places. It's like they assume that visitors want only one specific type of experience. It's a bit frustrating.

Having said that, Tide and Vine is excellent. The menu is small, but delicious. It's in Niagara Falls, rather than NOTL, but it's only 5 minutes past Ravine Vineyard. It's easy to miss, but just look for the small RBC plaza.

Have you done Trius? Frank Dodd is putting out some nice stuff, even though the menu looks a lot like all the others. And I prefer the atmosphere at Trius to the one at Peller. Also Ravine has a new chef this year, so that might be worth a re-visit?

And finally, the Oban Inn is not usually on my radar, but the owner is trying to shake things up there, so he's hired Jason Dobbie (formerly of Zee's) in the kitchen and Perry Johnson (former owner of Stone Road Grill) for front of house. I haven't been there yet to see what they're doing, but I'm throwing it out there.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Those look great! I'm curious -- do you let the dough warm up out of the fridge before you scoop and bake? While I love the flavour that aging the dough gives, I've lost my ideal thin/crispy/chewy shape (what your cookies look like!). Instead, I get delicious, but fat/thick cookies.

Apr 10, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

That's gorgeous looking pastry! I'm really excited to try this, thank you!

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Ooh, that sounds lovely -- care to share the pastry recipe?

Apr 08, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Always squares for those of us that love good crust. The corners are the best. :)

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Oh, great idea -- everyone loves coffee cake! And if you don't want to go to the trouble of your yeasted recipe, my mother-in-laws sour cream coffee cake is delicious, fast and easy to make. Happy to share the recipe if you'd like it.

Apr 06, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Oh no! I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad week. :(

What about a couple of small layer cakes with ganache as the frosting and jam as the filling? Or does the cream in the ganache move it into the "iffy" category?

Apr 06, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Eating cooked, unchilled turkey

Nope. It was warm and covered in an enclosed environment. Moist + warm + time = breeding ground for bacteria. Sorry, dump it.

One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Thanks, pubb! I wasn't familiar with Blue Mermaid, so it's nice to have that on my radar.

Just wanted to point out for anyone reading along that all of the places listed by pubb are in St. Catharines rather than NOTL (with the exception of AG in Niagara Falls).

I have eaten at Toi, Chang Noi, and Wind. They are among our better local options for Asian cuisine, but are definitely not destination destination dining for visitors (particularly if you are coming from Toronto, where every Asian cuisine is offered at a much higher quality than these places). But as an area resident? Yeah, these are our options. I also make the rounds at Asian Legend, Naysa, and Pho Dao Bo.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Yep, a peanut butter frosting! It's wonderful on the cake, but I wasn't feeling like a frosted cake yesterday. When I make the cake as a layer cake, I put whipped ganache in the middle and then the peanut butter frosting on the outside. The Elvis Cake recipe calls for chocolate chips in the cake and cayenne pepper in the frosting. But I prefer the ganache to the chips and I haven't tried the pepper yet, though it's probably pretty interesting.

When I was planning the bundt cake yesterday, I was considering making a peanut butter glaze to drizzle over it.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Yeah, I use Wilton's cake release which is easy enough to use, but I was feeling too lazy for even that. :0)

Apr 04, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

How did they turn out?!

Apr 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

It's a modified version of the banana cake from the Elvis Cake recipe that went around on this board a few years ago. Here's the version with my minor mods (cake flour for tenderness, buttermilk for a little tang, less sugar):

2 cups cake flour (you can use AP if you want to)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temp
2 large/3 medium mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating just to combine. Mix in vanilla and mashed bananas.

Pour batter evenly between two greased 9 inch round cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

I had intended to make a banana bundt cake today. But when I pulled out the gorgeous heritage bundt pan and looked at all the crevasses that I would have to grease, I said "bye-bye bundt, hello, 9 x 13!" It's just a snackin' cake for the two of us anyway. :)

So even though the cake is not beautiful, I wanted to try and show a close up of the crumb, which is incredibly fine and tender -- kind of like the texture people who love boxed cake mixes love. I reduce the sugar from the original recipe and it's just a lovely, tender, banana-y cake. I don't bother with any glaze or frosting. It's way too easy to eat a lot of this!

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

I did a reprise of the chocolate brownie cookies earlier this week for my monthly trip to my office in Philly. This batch I used toffee bits and toasted almond slivers as my add ins. They were a hit and there was a 50/50 split for preference of these over the brown butter chocolate chip and PB chip cookies I brought last month. The chocolate lovers chose these and the cookie lovers chose the other ones.

I have a couple of bananas dying a slow death in the fridge. I've been craving cake, so I think I'll do a banana bundt cake today.

What are you baking these days? Happy Spring better get here soon, April 2015 edition! [Old]

Amazing! Lucky daughter!

Apr 03, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

*WANT*

Mar 30, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Thank you for both of these, bc! I have regular "girls' weekends" where these would disappear. :)

Mar 29, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Thank you! I must admit that I struggle with the margarine part, though I totally trust you that it's critical to the outcome. I'm curious if you have you ever tried just regular vegetable oil?

Mar 29, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Yes, please and thank you!

Mar 28, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Wow. Have you shared that recipe before? Any chance you could point me to the link or copy it here?

Mar 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

LEMON PIE TO "EGGY"

I've never found my lemon curd to be too eggy. If you've tried hundreds of recipes, I wonder if you're just sensitive to the flavor of eggs? Have you used zest in your curd? This Ina Garten recipe calls for the zest from 3 lemons and it's very lemony.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

You can always strain the curd after cooking if you don't want the bits of zest in your final product.

Mar 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

Brunch potluck where all the brunch basics are covered...

I agree with charmedgirl -- veggies! Either a bright green salad of arugula, shaved fennel, and parmesan, or a roasted veggie platter (good at room temp), or steamed or grilled asparagus with a sauce of some sort (hollandaise, yogurt dill, etc.).

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

LOL, thank you! I thought you made peanut butter. :0)

That's what I get for reading too fast!

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

I'm honestly curious -- is there such a thing as non-gluten-free peanut butter?

Mar 25, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Thanks for the tip!

Mar 24, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

If it makes you feel better, that's not even close to the most butter I've seen in a recipe. Check out this red wine velvet cake from BraveTart:

http://bravetart.com/recipes/RedWineV...

If you count the German buttercream recipe, the entire cake calls for 48 oz. or TWELVE STICKS of butter!

Mar 24, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? Happy winter's almost over, I hope, March 2015 edition! [old]

Aww, sorry to hear that. Sometimes you just gotta go with all the butter.

Mar 24, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
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