Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake

Hazelnut Coffee Cake 006 Edited Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake

Verbose is the opposite of how I feel this evening, so I’m going to cut to the chase and talk cake. In this case, coffee cake filled and topped with a layer of cinnamon and sugar, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts.

The most difficult step of this recipe is the need to blanch the hazelnuts. Because the majority of my hazelnuts were already skinless, and because I suspected this coffee cake would not make it past anyone but me, I did not blanch the hazelnuts.

If you choose to do so, My Baking Addiction provides a decent reference on how to blanch hazelnuts as does Wicked Good Kitchen. Both contain a clip of Julia Child learning how to blanch hazelnuts from none other than Alice Medrich.

Hazelnut Coffee Cake 011 Edited Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake

It turns out the most difficult of the recipe for me was placing the filling halfway in the coffee cake. Apparently, I mistook halfway for a quarter of the way. My only defense is to say it looked like I had used half the batter. Moving on…

If you do not like hazelnuts, this recipe still has value as a basic coffee cake. The filling and topping combinations are really up to you. My mom makes a delicious coffee cake with bits of Heath Bar, and I see no reason why any combination of nuts and sweet - pecans and butterscotch chips or walnuts and vanilla chips – would not work.

You might also consider adding flavor extracts or spices to the cake batter. I followed the recipe as written, using vanilla extract, but in hindsight the hazelnut extract I have on hand would have been nice. Same thing goes for adding a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the cake batter.

Once baked, you can enjoy this coffee cake with coffee in the morning or with tea in the afternoon. If there is any leftover, dollop a scoop of ice cream over the top and call it a late night snack. Trust that I am speaking from experience here. Enjoy!

Hazelnut Coffee Cake 017 Edited Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake

Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake
  • Cake Batter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Filling & Topping
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, blanched and chopped
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter, ¾ cup sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  3. Reduce mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the Greek yogurt in 2 additions. (Begin with the flour mixture, add the yogurt, then flour, yogurt, flour).
  4. In a separate bowl, toss the hazelnuts, chocolate, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  5. Pour half of batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish and smooth the top (wetting a wodden spoon and using the back to smooth works well here).
  6. Top the batter with half of the chocolate hazelnut mixture.
  7. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, again smoothing the top, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate hazelnut mixture over top.
  8. Bake at 350° for 35–45 minutes until the top of the cake is lightly browned and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

A Flavor of July: Tomato (Soup) Cupcakes

IMG 4619 Edited A Flavor of July: Tomato (Soup) Cupcakes

Yeah…I don’t even know where to go with this. I have not baked something so ridiculous since the Chocolate Sauerkraut Cupcakes that started off the year. Maybe I baked them because  subconsciously, I thought Christmas in July should lead to New Years in August. And on the eve of August, I’m making some changes…realizing some resolutions.

Tomorrow is my last day of work at a company I have been at for nearly five years. As much as I have appreciated the chance to work where I have worked, I am nearly bursting with excitement at the potential a new opportunity in my life holds. And as much as I am nearly bursting with excitement, I also feel the stress of change. I just keep reminding myself, if I could get thorough a move to a new state to start a new job while simultaneously beginning a master’s degree program, I can get through this.

IMG 4610 Edited e1343782951184 A Flavor of July: Tomato (Soup) Cupcakes

I have been after a new work opportunity for quite a while, so to see this resolution realized is such a nice feeling. There are still a few other things I am after, and frankly, I have little to no idea how they are going to come into my life. I do know I put an order in with the universe, so I’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I resolve to stay happy no matter the outcome. And that’s a tall order.

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.”- Deepak Chopra

We tend to believe happiness is finite. If so-and-so gets X even though I wanted X, then I can’t be happy. But happiness isn’t finite. I don’t know where I first read or heard that, but it stuck. If you take one thing away from anything you ever read here, please take this: Happiness is not finite. Happiness is infinite.

IMG 4594 Edited A Flavor of July: Tomato (Soup) Cupcakes

On to cupcakes! I don’t know what possessed me to bookmark not only one, but two Tomato Soup Cake recipes. Maybe the better question is, why is this cake recipe popular in cookbooks? Maybe because the bakers/cookbook authors are boys, and sometimes, boys just don’t think. Sometimes they really just don’t think. Moving on.

I opted to go with the recipe from “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito rather than the recipe from “United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State” by Warren Brown. And while not my favorite cupcakes in the world, the tomato soup cupcakes were not bad. The cake tasted very similar to a spice cake, and with the addition of a few walnuts, the recipe would probably make a decent muffin.

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If you are in the mood for a spice cake, I’d suggest you stick with a traditional spice cake recipe. If you have a need to back something with a weird factor, or perhaps are baking with teenage boys, I think these cupcakes are perfect.

And on a final note, congratulations to Kerri and Kathy for winning the July giveaway! If you did not win this time, there are still plenty of reasons to be happy. One of which could be a new giveaway post coming your way on the 12th of every month. Enjoy!

IMG 4629 Edited A Flavor of July: Tomato (Soup) Cupcakes

Tomato Soup Cupcakes
Serves: 13
  • For the Tomato Soup Cupcakes
  • 1, 10 ¾ ounce can condensed tomato soup
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Place the tomato soup in a small to medium bowl and sprinkle with baking soda. Stir well and set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Beat butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, three to four minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined.
  5. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds to ensure the mixture is fully incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer to low and, in three parts, begin to add the flour mixture alternating with tomato soup. So it's flour, tomato soup, flour, tomato soup, and flour.
  7. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and beat for a few more seconds to ensure the mixture is fully incorporated.
  8. Fill each well of a paper-lined cupcake pan about three-quarters full.
  9. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  11. To make the frosting, place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and ground cinnamon in mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  12. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.
The measurements above are halved from the original recipe.

Wedding Weekend: Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies

IMG 3950 Edited Wedding Weekend: Cinnamon Spiced Wedding Cookies

I feel it necessary to start this post off with a reassurance to my mother: Mom, I have no plans to elope this weekend or any weekend in the near future. The title Wedding Weekend is simply to note a three-day series wedding cookie recipes I plan to share.

June is a popular month for weddings, and my family is no exception. My parents celebrated 42 years of marriage on June 5, my grandparents will celebrate 61 years of marriage tomorrow, and my sister and brother-in-law will celebrate five years of marriage on June 23.

Though I share personal tidbits via this blog for anyone to read, I am actually a very private person. I prefer to observe what takes place around me much more than I prefer to be the object of observation, so the thought of walking down an aisle while everyone looks at me really freaks me out. Yet if you asked me to deliver a presentation to a room full of people, I would not bat an eye.

I am uncertain why public walking makes me quake in fear yet public speaking barely raises my blood pressure. Perhaps because imagining some of the creatures people I have dated waiting for me at the end of an aisle makes my natural fight or flight instinct kick in. If only there were a dessert table at the end of that aisle, things might be different.

IMG 3964 Edited e1339775023695 Wedding Weekend: Cinnamon Spiced Wedding Cookies

The first Wedding Weekend recipe I have to share is for cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies. The cookbook where I found this recipe offered no explanation of the cookies’ relationship to weddings, and I have not seen these cookies at any weddings I have attended. If anyone can shed some light on why cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies are called wedding cookies, I would love to know.

I had never baked a cookie with cornstarch as a main ingredient before. Just like cornstarch feels feathery in my hands it lent a feathery feel to the cookies, and they just sort of melted away after a bite. A note in the recipe suggested forming the cookie dough around a piece of chocolate or candied fruit. I tried making a few cookies with chocolate chips in the middle, but I preferred the plain cinnamon-sugar cookies.

I am a lover of soft cookies, so a little ball of crunchy dough, no matter how sweet, does not immediately catch my interest. But these cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies grew on me. I found them to be the perfect accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee or an evening cup of tea. Until tomorrow, enjoy.

IMG 3951 Edited Wedding Weekend: Cinnamon Spiced Wedding Cookies

Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: about 2 dozen
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.
  2. Slowly add the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined.
  3. Form the mixture into small balls and place on lightly greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F until golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly, then toss or roll the warm (not hot!) cookies in a mixture of confectioners' and cinnamon.
I found the balls came together best with about two teaspoons of dough.