CHEW THIS! Family Memory Brownies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, December 7th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A special recipe, in memory…
Blaise Doubman

As I sat down to write this column, words kept escaping me. I am not sure what to say in all honesty, as the shock still has not worn off and I am not sure if it ever will. Within the course of 10 days, both my Grandma Deloris and my Grandma Barbra passed away. Just when this year had been testing me in all ways, this happened – a double loss. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barba were not just my Grandmas; they were also both my best friends, life teachers, therapists, critics, motivational speakers and so much more. There was not a day of my entire life that went by that I didn’t somehow see them, call them or talk to them. Even on my most depressing days I knew that somehow, they would be able to reach into my soul and drag me out of whatever it was I was facing and whatever it was that was holding me down. Now, as some of the realization is coming to me about what has really happened, and so quick, the first thing that comes to my mind is fear. Fear of facing life without them. Fear that maybe somewhere deep inside, I won’t be able to continue without my best friends. Also, a fear of never being able to really open up honestly with anyone else in my life, or to feel again that special “grandmotherly” connection that I have had all my life. I have, especially this year, been reading and learning more about the “seasons” we go through as humans. It seems that life is a continuous progression of different phases, or “seasons” and sometimes I think of them as weather patterns. Sometimes there will be a phase in life of perfectly sunny weather, maybe a few clouds roll by but all in all things are pretty good. The current season I am in, and have been in for what seems like awhile, I would classify as hurricane season and just within the last few weeks, 2 large category 5 hurricanes have rolled through, one right after the other, completely demolishing the landscape and everything in it’s path. How do you recover from devastation?

I know that both of my Grandmas would want me to be strong and not just for me but for my family. Sometimes a person has to be strong so that other people can see the strength in that person and allow themselves to be stronger and pull themselves through because of it. I will be the first to admit that being strong is hard and trying to be strong for someone else is harder. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barbra were both Believers and had countless talks with me on Faith, God and what it means to not only believe what you believe but act it out on the world. Storms make trees grow deeper roots is something that both believed and talked about. One of my favorite things though lately has been the saying that sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction. I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and I believe that everything happens for a reason but sometimes it is hard to find the “why” in the mist of heartache and sorrow. What lesson was this to teach? Why did this happen? Eternal questions that I may be forever asking myself. All I know, is that right now, I need time. I need time to heal, to process, to question and to wonder. I have so many memories to hold and to cherish of these two fabulously wonderful, loving human beings. If you have been a reader of my website and column, from day one, these two women have played a huge role in everything that I do and I believe that even though they are gone, they will still be loving me and guiding me.

Family Memory Brownies

These brownies are delicious on their own but if you are a fan of a frosted brownie, use this recipe. Beat 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter with 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and add in 4 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled brownies and enjoy.

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Beat until combine.

Beat in the large eggs, one at a time. Stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Gently stir in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

Fold in the milk chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly, smoothing out the top.

Bake for 33 minutes.

Remove and cool. Frost if desired.

Ask and Answer: So many of you have reached out and written, texted, emailed, messaged and called with condolences and I want to thank each and every one of you. My gratitude for your kindness and words of encouragement are immeasurable. Thank you.

Mocha Frosted Brownies

I love the combination of coffee and chocolate and I think you will too! The frosting on these are incredible!

Mocha Frosted Brownies

For the brownies…
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled
4 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the large eggs with the white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Once combined, add in the melted unsalted butter and stir well.

Add in the white all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, instant coffee granules, baking powder and salt all at once and stir until everything is just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for 33 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting combine the melted unsalted butter with the unsweetened cocoa powder and pure vanilla extract. Add in the salt and brewed coffee. Beat in the powdered sugar. If the frosting needs to thin a little bit, add in slightly more brewed coffee until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. This frosting should be thick but still spreadable.

Once the cooled brownies are frosted, chill them in the refrigerator for the brownies and frosting to slightly firm up and therefore will be easier to cut.

CHEW THIS! Magical Chocolate Cake

The Cake Bake Shop.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, August 17th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Magical Experience at The Cake Bake Shop
Blaise Doubman

If you have not been to one of The Cake Bake Shop locations, one in Broadripple and the newer one in Carmel, I highly recommend you make reservations and go! It is an experience like no other experience you can get anywhere in the United States! This is not just my opinion either because just recently USA Today voted The Cake Bake Shop as one of the most unique places in the United States as well as voted it one of the most popular Instagram worthy locations! I have known about The Cake Bake Shop from the minute the Broadripple location opened for business. Gwendolyn Rogers, mastermind, owner, creator, decorator, recipe developer and genius behind The Cake Bake Shop started a social media campaign that I followed closely. Skip ahead several months and I was standing in the creation that I watched her design! The Cake Bake Shop is unreal in the magic that fills every space. Before you even walk up to the door, you can smell the freshly baked cakes, pies and cookies. Seasonal flowers and twinkling lights welcome you inside and continue to welcome you throughout the restaurant. The décor, the menu and the color scheme all change each season and one season is just as fabulous as the others. Christmas time is an especially magical time to visit The Cake Bake Shop!

This past July 4th weekend, Gwendolyn announced that her new Carmel location was taking reservations. I logged on and the soonest I could get in was the end of July. I took it. Skip ahead several weeks and my family and I were walking though yet another Cake Bake Shop location that, dare I say, is even more magical than the first location in Broadripple! Their expanded menu is filled with Parisian inspired food, while their dessert bar is filled with their signature cakes, pies, cookies and brownies, all sprinkled with Gwendolyn’s famous glitter fairy dust. Also expanding in this location is their made fresh daily ice creams, candy counter and loads of fabulously designed products in their gift shop. My Mom, Darla, decided she wanted to celebrate my Aunt Myra’s latest personal achievements and take her and her daughter, Jacqueline with us on our adventure. It was a wonderful time and we were all in awe of Gwendolyn’s latest creation. Then what happened? We got to meet Gwendolyn in person! She was there, making sure things were running smoothly and took the time to talk with us and even have a picture taken. The first thing she said was that she had remembered me from our earlier conversations, that story is for another time, and said it was so glad to finally meet me in person! Then she said I was cute and even offered me a job. I was, and still am, so thankful and grateful for the experience. When developing the recipe for this column I knew that it had to be inspired by our magical adventure. This chocolate cake is unlike anything you have ever had before! So delicious and so much flavor. Not to mention easy! Try it and feel magical!

Magical Chocolate Cake with Dreamy Chocolate Frosting

This cake will keep for 2 days, wrapped tightly and kept chilled in the refrigerator.

For the cake…
1 package Devil’s Food cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting…
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, for adornment
¼ cup chocolate syrup

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat together the Devil’s Food cake mix with the instant chocolate pudding mix, sour cream, lightly beaten large eggs, vegetable oil, warm water and pure vanilla extract. Beat for several minutes until the batter is light, smooth and glossy.

Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bang lightly each cake pan on the counter to remove and air bubbles or pockets of air that might have developed when pouring.

Bake in preheated oven for 43 minutes. When baked, remove and allow to cool in their pans.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting by melting the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on high power until smooth and glossy, stirring every 30 seconds. Once melted and smooth, set aside to cool completely before finishing the frosting.

Once the melted chocolate has cooled, place the softened unsalted butter in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add a cup of the powdered sugar, beat, then add the remaining powdered sugar, beating until super smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes total.

Add in the pure vanilla extract and the cooled melted chocolate and beat for 3 more minutes until the frosting is light in color, smooth and slightly thicker than melted ice cream.

When ready to assemble the cake, flip out both cooled cakes. Place one cake down on your serving platter and take about 1/3 cup of the frosting and smear it all over the top of the cake. Sprinkle on a few chocolate chips, and drizzle with the chocolate syrup. Top that with the other cake and add all the frosting to the top of the cake, working down and frosting the sides as you go along, smoothing and frosting the cake.

Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips all over the top and dust with powdered sugar.

Ask and Answer: Lots of you have been wondering if my recipes for cupcakes, muffins, coffeecakes, shortcakes, etc. can be made in smaller cupcake or muffin tins. The answer is, of course, yes! Bake at the same temperature as the recipe suggests but please be sure to adjust your baking time! A regular size cupcake that takes 24 minutes, when switched to a smaller cupcake pan, will only take about 9 minutes, depending on the size of the pan! So, my advice would be to keep the oven temperature the same but watch carefully the bake time!

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

This moist cake reminds me of a classic spice cake without all the overwhelming spice flavors of some. Delicate and delicious, even better topped with homemade caramel frosting!

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

For the cake…
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup chilled applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour

For the frosting…
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl, cream together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar. Add in the chilled applesauce and combine. Will look curdled but that is desirable. Keep working.

Beat in the baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt. Beat in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated for 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the frosting combine the unsalted butter, light brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow this mixture to melt and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. Cook another 40 seconds and remove from heat. Gently whisk in the confectioner’s sugar.

Evenly pour and spread over cooled cake.

Cut and serve.

Caramel Frosting

This is my favorite caramel frosting!

Caramel Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a large pot over medium high heat melt together the unsalted butter, lightly packed light brown sugar and salt. Once melted together, stir and cook for 2 minutes until lightly brown and bubbly.

Add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. Stir together. Remove from heat.

Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Use immediately.