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Category Archives: sweets

Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake

Julian Angel of is my inspiration for decorating this Guinness cake. You can also find his videos at These fresh flowers are all edible. Gerber daisies and mini carnations. The pink drizzle I made with Wilton pink baking wafers melted with cream. You can also use white chocolate, cream and food coloring.

This 14.9 ounce can of Guinness is an almost perfect size. I added 2 tablespoons of water to make the 16 oz.


A beautiful rich moist black color cake!
The finished product! Bellisima!

My fitness center friend, Norma Brooks, shared this recipe with me and it has become our favorite family cake. All three of my daughters bake it for their celebrations! It is a beautiful firm rich cake and is worth purchasing 3 large 9 inch x 2 1/2 inch high round baking pans. Using the traditional 9 inch x 1 1/2 inch baking pans works, but you’ll need 5 and decreased baking time. You can make a very tall cake, or freeze 2 or 3 of these smaller layers for a later time. I prefer the 3 larger pans.

Cake Ingredients

2 cups (16 oz) Guinness Stout

1 lb. butter

1 1/2 cups unsweeted cocoa powder (Hersheys Regular or Extra Dark)

4 cups all purpose flour

4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sour cream

Frosting Ingredients

2 cups (16 oz) heavy whipping cream

16 oz. bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% cacao)

Cake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the large 2 1/2 inch high x 9 inch wide baking pans. 
  • Line buttered pans with parchment paper by drawing a circle using the bottom of the pans as patterns and place circles into the buttered pans.
  • Now butter the parchment.
  • In a heavy saucepan, bring Guinness and butter just to a simmer. 
  • Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer/Kitchen Aid, beat eggs and sour cream just until blended.
  • Add the stout-butter-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat briefly at low speed till combined.
  • Add flour mixture to batter and mix at low speed just till blended. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly mix.
  • Divide batter into the 3 large baking pans.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake.
  • Place cakes on cooling racks for 10-20 minutes. Then turn cakes out of pans onto these racks. Remove parchment paper.
  • Cool completely. If you leave them overnight, wrap in plastic wrap when cool.

Frosting takes a few hours because this involves cooling, so don’t wait to the last minute to make the frosting.

Frosting Directions

  • In a medium size heavy saucepan bring the cream just to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted and smooth.
  • The frosting will be thin at this point. It thickens as it cools. 
  • I use one of two methods for cooling the icing. 1. Pour the icing in a bowl and whisk it within another bowl of ice water until cooled and spreadable. OR 2. Pour the icing into a bowl and place it in the refrigerator with the whisk sitting in the bowl. Check the frosting every 5 minutes and whisk it until it is spreadable. If it’s refrigerated too long it will become hard
  • When frosting is spreadable, choose your serving platter and place the bottom layer of cake on it. Place a layer of icing on the cake. Top this with the 2nd cake and frost it’s top. Now layer on the 3rd cake. First frost the sides of this 3 layer giant and finally frost the top of your cake. Voila!
  • I find it is best to place thinner layers in between the cakes and reserve plenty of frosting for the sides and top.
  • This is a very moist cake that does not need ice cream.  To cut slices, I cut the cake in half. Use one half at a time and cut perpendicular thin slices (but thick enough to maintain it’s shape.) 
  • Voila!

Apple-Cranberry Pie

A fabulous Thanksgiving pie from It has a similiar sweet sour flavor to a sour cherry pie! I doubled the recipe to make 2 pies. To further accentuate the delicious fruit flavor, I roll my pie dough very thin. I also use fresh cranberries!

Makes one 9-inch pie

Use sweet, crisp apples, such as Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, or Braeburn. The two fillings can be made ahead, cooled, and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.



  • 2cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4cup orange juice
  • 1cup granulated sugar (7 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon for top of pie
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4cup water
  • 1tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 1/2pounds sweet apples (6 to 7 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note above)
  • 1 recipe pie dough (see related recipe)
  • 1 egg white , beaten lightly


  1. 1. Bring cranberries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and pressing berries against side of pot, until berries have completely broken down and juices have thickened to jamlike consistency (wooden spoon scraped across bottom should leave clear trail that doesn’t fill in), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in water, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cornstarch in large microwave-safe bowl; add apples and toss to combine. Microwave on high power, stirring with rubber spatula every 3 minutes, until apples are just starting to turn translucent around edges and liquid is thick and glossy, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  3. 3. While fillings cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. 4. Transfer cooled cranberry mixture to dough-lined pie plate and spread into even layer. Place apple mixture on top of cranberries, mounding slightly in center; push down any sharp apple edges.
  5. 5. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface (up to 1/4 cup) to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side.
  6. 6. Using kitchen shears, cut evenly through both layers of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg white and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Using sharp paring knife, cut four 1 1/2-inch slits in top of dough in cross pattern.
  7. 7. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until top is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Prosecco and Fruit Terrine

I have made this for friends many times. They always love it! Fresh fruit and clear sweet sparkling wine make beautiful terrines. This is very easy and quick. No baking, only cooling time in the frig. Recipe is originally from Gourmet Magazine, August 2002. Reminds me of the mid-century Jello Salads, but without the food coloring and with the added kick of Prosecco. You can also call it Solid Sangria!

3 cups fresh fruit, anything except pineapple, mango or papaya works with gelatin. Choose a variety of color. Peel the thicker skinned fruits. I like blueberries, blackberries, white grapes, and raspberries.

4 – 1/4 oz envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin (other brands may clump)

1 – bottle Proseco, Italian white sparkling wine

1 cup sugar

4 tsp fresh lemon juice 

10  – 6oz ceramic or glass cups

  • In a medium sauce pan combine 2 cups Prosecco and sugar. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • In a medium bowl place gelatin. Slowly whisk in Proseco until dissolved and let sit 1 minute till softened.
  • Add gelatin mixture to heated Prosecco mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Stir in remaining  Prosecco and lemon juice.
  • Cool mixture and stir occasionally, just to room temp.
  • Once gelatin is at room temperature, spoon 2 tablespoons into each mold.
  • Chill 1 hour to set. (keep remaining gelatin at room temperature)
  • Arrange fruit in each mold. Molds will be inverted, so keep that in mind.
  • Divide remaining gelatin mixture among molds.
  • Chill at least 6 hours.
  • To unmold, dip molds individually in a pan of hot water 3 to 5 seconds to soften. Loosen from sides with a sharp knife.
  • Invert each terrine onto it’s serving plate and shake to unmold.
  • Voila!

Toasted Barley and Berry Granola

Granola & Milk, a take along breakfast

Granola, Vanilla Yogurt & Fresh Fruit Parfait shown here with Granola ready for snacking

The crunch in the Banana Crunch Muffin & the Parfait comes from this granola

The granola recipe is below. To make the parfaits layer Dannon Vanilla Yogurt (do not use the Lite variety! It tastes bad & has a brown like color), Toasted Barley & Berry Granola, more yogurt and then top with a mixture of fresh berries. Serve right away or it becomes soggy.

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted pumpkinseed kernels
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted sunflower seed kernels
  • 1 ½ cups pure maple syrup (thank you to Peachie Martin for her Michigan UP maple syrup!)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon  (my favorite is Penzey’s Ceylon Cinnamon; I also added their Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cardamon (this is essential for a delicious flavor & fragrance!!!)
  • 8 cups rolled barley flakes
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ or wheat bran
  • 1 ½ cups dried blueberries (do not use the cranberries infused/flavored with other juices!!)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Place pumpkin and sunflower kernels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool.
3. In a mediuim bowl combine syrup through cardamon with a whisk.
4. Pour barley, toasted kernels and wheat germ into a large mixing bowl. Stir in syrup mixture.
5. Spread barley mixture on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until slightly light brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Works well to use a large pancake turner to flip sections of the mixture to toast it all.
6. Cool baked granola. Stir in dried fruit. Store in airtight containers. Makes 16 cups.

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2010

NSF 2/2011


  • Savoiardi cookies
  • Coffee
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Sugar
  • Egg white
  • Ground unsweetened chocolate

Mix in a pot with a whisk using the following proportion: 1 white egg + 1 spoon of sugar + 1 spoon of mascarpone till the mixture becomes uniform and creamy (it’ll take 10-15 minutes). Now wet the Savoiardi cookies in the coffee (it must me cold), better if only from one side for a couple of second (otherwise it’d become too wet). Start to make a layer of wet cookies followed by a layer of cream you’ve already prepared. After 2-3 layers (it depends from the depth of pot you’re using), finish with a last layer of cream and put on the top some ground chocolate (you can even put the chocolate on the top of each layer, as you want). Let tiramisú rest in the fridge for half day, serve cold.

This recipe is from Marco, our friend from Italy. His mother is a chef in Milan. Marco orchestrated an authentic Italian dinner at our home for friends.

Blueberry Buckle

This is a delicous recipe for coffeecake my family has made for years. We adapted it from Bon Apetit Magazine. If you want the blueberries to be dispersed throughout, toss them in a small amount of flour before adding them to the batter. The recipe also makes about 27 perfect cupcakes with or without cupcake liners. Be sure to butter and flour the cupcake tins if you don’t use liners. The brand of spices used greatly affects the flavor. I order spices. My favorite cinnamon is their Ceylon Cinnamon. I also use freshly grated nutmeg. You can always switch your spices up…..cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, ginger

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl beat
½ cup butter, softened

Add 1 ½ cups sugar and beat till fluffy

Add 4 eggs and beat until light

In another large bowl whisk together:
3 cups flour
4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
½  tsp cloves

Add 1 cup milk and
Add flour mix to butter mix and blend till just combined.

Gently mix in:
4 cups fresh blueberries or thawed frozen & drained berries of any kind

Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

In a small bowl mix the streusel topping:
Whisk together:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut in with 2 knives: ½ cup cold butter.
Cut until mixture is the size of peas.
Sprinkle over batter
Bake at 375 degrees 45 minutes or until light brown and cake pulls away from sides of the pan.

NSF 1/08

Butternut Squash Pie

Above is a beautiful pumpkin and much prettier than the butternut! Below is the butternut and is a great substitute for the European pumpkin.

The above pie crusts are made from scratch. I used the recipe from Baking With Julia. And my biscotti recipe is here at Ninainthekitchen!

 But I always use butternut in my pies!

Pillsbury prepared crusts ready for your pie shell! Found in the dairy section.

makes 2 pies

  • 4 lbs. Butternut squash, split in half and baked cut side down in micro or oven, then seeds and skin removed
  • 2 prepared pie shells, Pillsbury is my fav!
  • 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Combine in a food processor or mixer, or with a stick blender, all the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Pour into 2 prepared pie crusts. Bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

So delicious and nutritious my friend Lisa Williams serves this as a vegetable with dinner!

This is an authentic African American recipe shared by Home Economists in Chicago at the Jewel Food Stores where I worked!