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Happy Anniversary: Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake

IMG 3460 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

From time to time, I look through my email folders for recipes I squirreled away many months ago. I like reading recipes I had forgotten about because it tells me a lot about where my head was at during a certain time. While doing so Friday, I came across a recipe for Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake.

How ironic, I thought, to come across the recipe when one year ago the world watched the wedding on another Friday – April 29 to be exact. I filed the Chocolate Crunch Cake recipe away before I had even an inkling about writing a blog, so I knew I must have saved it because I really wanted to try it (as opposed to try it for the sake of blog content). So try it I did.

IMG 3465 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

The original recipe calls for raisins and nuts, and I used golden raisins and walnuts. The 1/4 cup portions called for in the original recipe looked meager when added to an entire box of crushed graham crackers, so I added an additional 1/4 cup of each. I suspect the 1/4 cup portions would be fine if you made the cake with only two sleeves of graham crackers (three sleeves are found in a standard size box).

I consider this dessert more of a bar cookie than a cake, but to each his own. I’m also not sure why this is allegedly Prince William’s favorite tea time treat, but I am sure you can experiment to make it your own favorite. For example, you could add mini-marshmallows in place of the raisins and nuts for a quick s’mores treat. I would like to try the crunch cake with white chocolate melted on top next time.

IMG 3473 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

How does it taste? Like chocolate covered graham crackers with an occasional burst of sweet fruit in raisin form. I couldn’t taste the nuts at all in the chocolate-topped version, but both the  raisins and the nuts had a chance to shine when competing with less chocolate in the bars I did not top.

How does it keep? At the time of this writing, my chocolate crunch cake is 24 hours old and still retains enough crunch to be satisfying. The cake is at its crunchiest, of course, when first made, but it makes a good treat to enjoy as a leftover as well.

If you would like to watch a video of some lovely Brits showing you how the real Chocolate Crunch Cake is made, click here. If you are like me and fell in love not with a prince but with the hats, you can learn to make you own royal wedding headpiece here. Whether its dessert or fashion, enjoy!

IMG 3477 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

Prince William's Chocolate Crunch Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • For the cake
  • 1 box (14.4 ounces) graham crackers
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • For the topping
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. In a large metal bowl, crumble graham crackers into bite-size pieces.
  2. Add raisins and nuts.
  3. In a saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the chocolates, butter, and condensed milk. Stir frequently so the chocolate does not burn.
  4. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the crackers and stir until well coated.
  5. Line a 9 x 13 pan with waxed paper.
  6. Pour the graham cracker and chocolate mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
  7. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set, then apply the topping.
  8. For the topping, melt the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir frequently so the chocolate does not burn.
  9. Spread the topping over the cake and return to the refrigerator to allow to set.
  10. Cut into squares to serve.
 

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Armenian Nutmeg Cake

IMG 3362 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Armenian Nutmeg Cake

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered, yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

Though I very much wanted to bake both the nazook and the nutmeg cake, thus far I have managed only the nutmeg cake. If the nazook is anywhere near as delicious as the nutmeg cake, then I know I’m in for a treat. The nutmeg cake was so delicious it inspired me to write a new list titled, “If I owned a bakery, I would sell this.”

IMG 3386 Edited e1335190822903 Daring Bakers Challenge   Armenian Nutmeg Cake

The cake uses the same crumbly beginnings as a crust and a batter.  Despite the two parts, the cake is very easy to assemble and takes little time to go from pantry to oven. I loved the way the bottom layer of crust became almost toffee-like when baked, and the cake itself was moist, tender and full of flavor.

I enjoyed this nutmeg cake as a coffee cake, paired with coffee of course, in the morning, and as a dessert in the evening. Though I didn’t go this far, I couldn’t help but think a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a warm slice of cake would make a delicious dessert.

IMG 3364 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Not into nutmeg? In his instructions to the Daring Bakers, Jason wrote, “Nutmeg cake, despite its moniker, can be made with cinnamon or cardamom instead, and can also use different nuts on the top (or none at all). Like with nazook, there are substantial possibilities to change the spice & nut choices on top of the basic cake recipe.”

Now you have no excuse not to bake this cake! Whether you are looking for a new coffee cake to bring to brunch or a new dessert to serve after dinner, nutmeg cake is the cake you need. Enjoy!

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, cubed
  • ½ cup walnut pieces, may need a little more
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix the baking soda (not the baking powder!) into the milk. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl.
  3. Add the brown sugar and the cubed butter to the bowl, then use a fork to mash the butter into the dry ingredients. Stop when you have created a uniform crumbly mixture.
  4. Press half (about 2 cups) of the crumbly mixture into the bottom a springform pan.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and the nutmeg until frothy; about one minute using a stand mixer or about 2-3 minutes if whisking by hand.
  6. Pour milk and baking soda mixture into the egg and nutmeg mixture and continue to mix until uniform.
  7. Pour the rest of the crumbly mixture into the mixing bowl with the egg and the milk mixtures.
  8. Mix until well incorporated.
  9. Pour the batter over the base in the springform pan.
  10. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The top of the cake will be a golden brown color, and toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean when done.
  12. Allow the cake to cool in the pan before releasing.
Notes
I used skim milk and was perfectly satisfied with the results.
 

A Quick Bite: Spicy Nutmeg Carrots

IMG 3330 Edited A Quick Bite: Spicy Nutmeg Carrots

All of the rabbits I’ve seen hopping around lately got me to thinking about carrots. Just kidding – the 10 pound bag of carrots sitting in the refrigerator is what actually got me to thinking about carrots. Or more precisely, what I could do with carrots.

I do not like to eat vegetables. Unless they are grilled (because they caramelize and start to taste sweet), I can really do without them. Given I want to incorporate more food-from-plants into my diet, this dislike of vegetables is a bit of a problem.

In large part, I find raw vegetables just plain boring. Jazzing them up with dressing and dips seem pointless because by the time I factor in the calories and fat they add, I figure I’d be just as well off with a donut.

Carrots 002 300x300 A Quick Bite: Spicy Nutmeg Carrots

10 Pounds

I came across a recipe for spicy nutmeg carrots when I created my McCormick Pin-spiration board. The recipe seemed like a very quick, easy, tasty way to  enjoy a side of vegetables with my dinner. That and it gave me an opportunity to use my mandoline, the novelty of which has not yet worn anywhere near off.

In less than five minutes, I made a side dish that was positively delicious. I steamed my carrots in the microwave, then tossed them in the spicy nutmeg butter sauce. I really liked the heat of the red pepper and how the spice of the nutmeg complimented the natural sweetness of the carrots.

Spicy nutmeg carrots have changed the way I think about vegetables. Just kidding again, but if  you can’t bake carrots in cake, then you may as well serve them as a side of spicy nutmeg carrots! Enjoy!

IMG 3334 Edited A Quick Bite: Spicy Nutmeg Carrots

Spicy Nutmeg Carrots
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Ingredients
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the carrots as directed on the package.
  2. Melt the two tablespoons of butter, then stir in the nutmeg, garlic salt and red pepper.
  3. Pour the mixture over the carrots and toss to coat.
  4. Serve immediately.
Notes
For the red pepper, I used red pepper flakes rather than ground cayenne pepper.