Blackberry Upside Down Cake + Decadent Chocolate Ganache…

As someone who loves to bake, I tend to find myself making my own birthday cakes. Which is totally fine by me 😛

This year for my birthday, my bf and I hosted a party at our place with about 20 friends, and I decided to go all out with two different kinds of cake for my party guests: blackberry upside down cake and a chocolate ganache cake. Yummm!

~Related exciting news~

Since starting this blog + instagram account, I’ve been working to improve my food styling and photography skills. To do so, I realized I needed to invest in a tripod in order to achieve a better degree of clarity and definition in my photos. Well, my wonderful boyfriend surprised me the morning of the party with a new tripod, just in time for taking photos of my beautiful cakes! So, the photos in this post are the first taken with my new toy (which I absolutely love)!

New tripod! (Set up to take a perfectly stable overhead shot)

But back to the cakes.

I decided to choose two contrasting cakes, to give people the option between fruity and chocolate, lighter and more decadent.

Blackberry Upside Down Cake

I found this cake perusing what has become one of my favorite baking books – Bake from Scratch (Vol 2) – which I received as a gift a year back.

This cake turned out beautifully, both in taste and visually! By the end of the night, it was completely devoured by our guests.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Just look at that glossy chocolate ganache…

Rosana from Yoga of Cooking calls this “the best chocolate cake ever.” I tend to agree. I spotted this cake on my feed last week on National Chocolate Cake Day and instantly knew I had to make it for the party. Rich chocolate cake topped with decadent chocolate ganache, this cake is not for the chocolate shy.

Now chocolate ganache might sound intimidating, but it was so easy to make! This was actually my first go at ganache, and it was surprisingly simple. All in all, this whole cake comes together in just two bowls, one for the cake and one for the ganache. Delicious cake, minimal mess: would 100% recommend!

All in all, the cakes + our DIY paloma bar (recipe idea by Bon Appetit) + an amazing cheesy artichoke kale chorizo dip were all a great success… happy birthday to me! 🙂

Apricot Cake (Marillenkuchen)

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about my time in Austria and discovery of the myriad of apricot dishes, especially in late summer. And while it’s not currently stone fruit season in NYC, it is a 3-day weekend and we’re expecting a snowstorm later this afternoon, so I decided to to dig out the recipe my host mom gave me for her amazing Marillenkuchen (apricot cake)!

I’ve kept her original recipe intact except for the addition of a bit of lemon zest, just to give the cake a bit of that zesty flavor to really complement the apricots.

If fresh apricots are hard to come by, a great thing about this recipe is that you can also make it with peaches, raspberries, or most other fruits that might be in season/locally available.

And in case you haven’t figured by now, Marille means apricot in German. 🙂

Recipe:

Note: Since this recipe is straight from Austria, the ingredients below are measured in grams. If you have a kitchen scale, no problem! If not, I’ve also included approximations of measurements in standard American conventions.

Ingredients

  • 200g butter, softened at room temp (~1 1/2 stick)
  • 200g powdered sugar (~1 5/8 cup)
  • 5 eggs
  • 200g flour (~1 3/8 cup)
  • 8g vanilla sugar (1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4g baking powder (1 tsp)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 5-6 apricots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Rinse and quarter apricots.
  3. Beat together butter, half the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and egg yolks. Then add in flour and baking powder.
  4. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, then add in second half of sugar until mixture is peaked and stiff.
  5. Gently fold egg whites into first mixture.
  6. Grease 9″ round baking pan/pie dish and sprinkle with flour. Pour mixture evenly into pan.
  7. Bake for 25 min or until cake is starting to firm. Line the top of the cake with apricot pieces in whatever pattern you like. (If you put the apricots on the cake from the beginning, they will likely sink to the bottom! This happened to me once…)
  8. Bake for additional 15 minutes, or until cake turns golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool a few minutes and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Mixed Berry Ricotta Cake

It is cold. This morning when I woke up, it was “feels like 11°F” outside. And yes, the “feels like” is important – one thing I definitely learned when moving to NYC is the effect of the wind in making winter all the more bitterly cold. In my first studio apt, I could literally hear it howling outside around the corner as it gusted through the street.

So. What better way to remedy the cold than staying indoors with a nice slice of warm berry ricotta cake?

The cake is so light and fresh, you could eat it for breakfast with a cup of tea (or coffee), late afternoon treat, or evening dessert! Find this great recipe by Lauren at Climbing Grier Mountain here.

And stay warm!