Homemade Chocolate Cake with Maitake Mushroom Frosting

Maitake aka, Hen-of-the-Woods contains L-glutamate, a natural flavor-enhancer that provides umami — the “fifth taste” — the savory rich flavor that excites receptor-specific nodes on our tongue. Moreover, Maitake is one of the healthiest foods around! The Earthlyness of this mushoroom is a perfect pairing with chocolate!

You’ll Need: 

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

3/4 cup good quality Dutch processed cocoa, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup neutral-tasting cooking oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling coffee

Good quality cooking spray

Maitake Mushroom Frosting ( See recipe below)

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees, spray and flour three 8-inch round baking pans, tapping out any excess flour. Place on a lined sheet pan and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, crack and mix the eggs into a slight scramble and add to the dry ingredietns with the milk, oil, and vanillla beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the boiling coffee and continue to mix for an additional minute. The batter will appear thin. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly, about 2 cups or approximatly 16 ounces in each cake pan.

Bake the cakes on sheet pans for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean or the cake slightlybounces back to the touch. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, turn the cakes right side up, and let them cool completely. 

Make the Maitake Mushroom Frosting.

Maitake Mushroom Frosting

You’ll Need: 

1 1/3 cups good quality Cocoa, sifted

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 cup whole milk or cream

8 ounces of unsalted butter

2 ounces of dried Maitake Mushrooms 

Here’s How: 

In a small saucepan, heat the cream and the Maitake mushrooms until a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for a minimum of an hour to over-night. Cool to room temperature. Strain and discard solids.

In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter until velvety. Add the cocoa, and alternate between confectioners’ sugar and infused milk beating after each addition until you achieve a thick, but spreadable consistency. If a lighter frosting desired, add additional cream, a little at a time, until you’ve reached your ideal texture. 

Place a single cake layer on a platter or cake stand and spread a good amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on the first and frost the sides and top. Garnish with chocolate truffles or meringue mushrooms with candied pine and roasted, crushed almonds or hazelnuts or a combination.

30 Minute Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten chocolate lava cakes were developed by one of the worlds most famous chefs- Jean-Georges Vongerichten! He says more than a thousand of these cakes are made in his restaurants everyday.

The ingredient list is simple –butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar and flour which makes this recipe easy for busy people! Below is my adapted recipe.

Rich creamy chocolate pudding in a sauce pan with chocolate chunks and kitchen utensils

You’ll Need:

6 ounces of unsalted butter plus melted butter for brushing the ramekin

Dutch processed Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

4 ounces good quality bittersweet (70% ) chocolate, chopped 

2 large egg yolks

2 large whole eggs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 450’F Degrees. Brush 4 – 6 to 8 ounce ramekins with melted butter, and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside in a high sided roasting pan. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the the butter in 30-second intervals stirring in between each zap. If you don’t have a microwave melt on the stove top very low heat–melting the butter first then adding the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, with a hand whisk, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy about a minute. Add the chocolate mixture while continually stirring. Combine until completely incorporated. Add the flour and mix to combine.

Divide the batter among the buttered and dusted ramekins, filling them two-thirds full. Place pan on oven rack. Add 1/2-1 inch of hot water to the pan.

Bake the cakes in the center of the oven until the tops and sides are set but the centers are still soft, 7-9 minutes. You will notice the centers will still wiggle.

Let stand for 30 seconds, then run the tip of a knife around the rims and invert the cakes onto serving plates. Remove the ramekin just before serving. Waiting will help hold it’s shape. 

Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar and serve with vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream! 

Makes 4 Servings

Ice cream waffle sandwiches

You know when you pass by an ice cream shop, there is an intoxicatingly delicious smell that gets you, right? It’s not like ice cream has a scent that travels. It’s the waffle cone – fresh pressed waffle cone – that makes you take an extra second. A big deep sniff in and then you smile; that smell means tasty relief from the warm weather that’s just starting to descend on us now? (I guess that depends on where you live but the Bay Area is on a definite warming streak.)

That’s the kind of thing that makes you think about ice cold ice cream and tasty waffle cones. You know, the fun of trying to eat it fast enough that it doesn’t melt, creating a sticky mess on your hands, but not too fast as to create a headache. It’s a tough world out there. These are the real problems.

One delicious solution is the ice cream sandwich. Have you ever considered making your own waffle to go with the frozen treat? That’s what we’re doing this week. Thanks to a craft from ComeTogetherKids.com, we’re making cake and ice cream sandwiches. It’s a simple concept: Take chocolate cake mix – from the box or the scratch recipe below – and use it to make waffles in a waffle maker. Let the waffles cool the spoon vanilla ice cream on one side. Add a second waffle and enjoy. It’s that simple.

You’ll Need

1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup best-quality cocoa
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. good-quality vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream

Here’s How

Take everything out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can be room temperature.

Preheat the waffle iron.

Put all the cake ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

Once you have the mixture, use it the way you would a waffle batter. Pour it into the waffle maker and follow the cooking instructions for your personal machine.

Allow the chocolate waffles to cool. Once cold, take a couple spoonfuls of ice cream – your choice in terms of flavor – and spread it on one waffle. Once you have enough, place another chocolate waffle on top. Then, enjoy!