Thursday, June 25, 2020

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Chocolate Espresso Cake

This Chocolate Espresso Cake is actually Ina Garten's recipe, Beatty's Chocolate Cake (link below) from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook (pgs. 164-167). Allen loves this cake and requested it for his birthday yesterday. I have made it several times and decorated it with a woodland theme to look like a tree stump. For the top of the cake, I added adorable animal sugar decorations from Fancy Flours, and topped with CK Products Metallic Gold Edible Glitter Flakes. The recipe is perfection and if you know me at all, Ina Garten's recipes are my favorite. I love the texture and rich chocolate-coffee flavor of this cake. It is moist with a tender crumb. The coffee in the frosting is prominent and brings out the chocolate in a most decadent way. If you love chocolate and coffee, you need to make this cake. As if there wasn't enough coffee in the cake, I served it with coffee ice cream. 

Chocolate Espresso Cake 

Cake Ingredients
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter to grease cake pans

1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus extra to coat cake pans

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Chocolate Espresso Cake with woodland theme

2 cups Granulated Sugar

1 cup Buttermilk

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

2 Extra Large Eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup Freshly Brewed Coffee (I use Bustelo Espresso)

Chocolate Espresso Cake

So yummy!

Chocolate Coffee Frosting Ingredients
1 1/4 cups Confectioners'/Powdered Sugar

1 tablespoon Instant Coffee Powder

6 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped

1 Extra Large, Egg Yolk, room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Espresso Cake with woodland theme

Adorbs animal sugar decorations!

Heat oven to 350°F.

Line 2, 8" or 9" cake pans with parchment paper and use baking spray (such as Wilton) or butter and flour; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; set aside.

Brew hot coffee and measure 1 cup; set aside.

Allen about to blow out his candles and make a wish

Yay, happy birthday hubster! 
Using a hand held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low, add the flour mixture and combine; about 1 minute.

Add the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed; about 2 minutes.

Scrape sides of bowl with a spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds.

Add hot coffee and mix until combined.

Mixing the dry ingredients
Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Pour batter into cake pans, 2/3 full.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cake baked in 30 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so check the cake at the 30 minute mark and adjust baking time accordingly.

Remove from oven and cool in pans for 30 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling make the chocolate coffee frosting.

Batter ready to bake

Baked cake
Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over a medium size pan with simmering water.

Stir chocolate just until melted, turn off heat, and set aside to cool completely.

On medium speed using a hand held or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth; about 3 minutes.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix; about 3 minutes.

Ready to frost the cake

Turn off mixer, add the powdered sugar, cover mixer with large kitchen towel, and beat on low speed until incorporated; about 2 minutes.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Dissolve coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of hot water.

On low speed, add the melted/cooled chocolate and hot coffee, and mix until incorporated.

Great to use on cakes and cookies!
Place the first cake layer top side down on cake stand or plate, and cover with the chocolate coffee frosting.

Add the second cake layer top side up and frost the cake, and decorate as desired.

Place the cake in fridge to set.

Remove 1/2 hour before serving.

Store covered cake up to 5 days in the fridge.

Adapted from Ina Garten, Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe:


-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

I came across this Southwestern Pasta Salad in Taste of Home. This is a vibrant, colorful and hearty pasta salad. I bumped up the flavor, added cracked black pepper, and increased some of the ingredients for a bold and kicked up taste. The original recipe has sliced avocado on top but mine was not ripe, so if you have avocado, slice it and add it just before serving. This dish is perfect for a backyard BBQ and as an accompaniment to chicken or burgers, and for sharing with your family. See the adapted recipe below.

Close-up,  Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

1 cup Salsa, Medium

1 cup Lime Juice, Freshly Squeezed

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

2 teaspoons Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper

1 package (16 ounces) Uncooked Cavatappi (or Spiral) Pasta

So yummy!

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours

1 1/2 cups Fresh or frozen whole kernel Corn, thawed

1 can (15 ounce) Black Beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, whole or sliced in half

1 can Black Olives, sliced and drained

1 Green Pepper, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided


Pasta salad perfection

In a small bowl, whisk together the salsa, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic cloves, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt;  set aside.

In a large pot, boil water, add salt and cook pasta according to package directions. 

Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix with a spatula or wooden spoon the pasta, tomatoes, corn, beans, olives, peppers, onion and 1/2 cup cilantro. 

Pour salsa dressing over salad and combine. 

Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to set. 

Before serving sprinkle the rest of the the cilantro.

For the Southwestern Pasta Salad recipe, visit Taste of Home:


Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Mom's 90th Birthday

Mom's 90th Birthday

Today was my Mom's 90th birthday. Many months ago, my brother planned to throw her a big bash at a restaurant in NYC, but due to COVID-19 and the current state of affairs, sadly we had to postpone it. Hopefully, we can plan a celebration for her if things get better. I cannot believe my Mom turned 90 today. She has dementia but thankfully is at the stage that she still knows us all. I am ever so grateful she is still with us. She is feisty, stubborn and it is difficult to get her to eat these days, but I love her very much.

Mom's 90th Birthday - German Chocolate Cake by Sonia Moura Diamantis
My sister-in-law baked a lovely German Chocolate Layer Cake. It was a rich and decadent chocolate cake, and the coconut pecan filling was sublime. The chocolate frosting was not too sweet and velvety smooth. So yum! My Mom definitely enjoyed her cake and seeing us all together. We had to celebrate maintaining social distancing protocols and wore masks. We called my cousin Pati and uncle Rodrigo in Florida to sing happy birthday with us. My brother also bought her huge 90 balloons which she loved.

Mom's 90th Birthday!

90 - a milestone

During these uncertain times, we need to be thankful for special moments like this. I know I am. Especially now more than ever we need to keep our family close and cherish each day we have together. Happy birthday, Mom.

Mom's 90th - German Chocolate Cake

Yay Happy 90th Mom!

3 layers of German Chocolate Cake

-Sophia/Two Frys