Chocolate Coca Cola cakes

It’s time again for another episode of…

Secret Recipe Club

Each month, every Secret Recipe Club member gets a secret blog assignment. From this secret blog, they choose a secret recipe to make in secret. Only on Secret Recipe Club day are all these secrets revealed.

Friends – today is that day.

This month, I was lucky enough to be assigned Join Us, Pull up a chair, a lovely blog by Heather. Although I really had my eye on these Jalapeno Popovers, I couldn’t resist these Guiness cupcakes. I made a few substitutions (including Coke for Guiness – hardly a fair trade I admit) and came up with these wonderfully moist, dark beauties. They would be fabulous with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, but I couldn’t resist the Halloween perfection of those rich dark tops and bright orange liners.

Plus without frosting, you can pretend they’re muffins and eat them for breakfast, yes?

Chocolate Coca Cola Cupcakes

  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • 1 stick, plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners (this recipe makes 24 cupcakes).

Combine the coke and the butter in a microwavable bowl. Heat to melt the butter. Once it’s melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine the mayo with the eggs and vanilla. Once combined, add to the coke mixture. Sift the flour and baking soda together and fold into the batter. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cool completely on a rack.

Piecrust cookies

My grandma made the most delicious cobblers ever. And the best part was, she would always take the leftover crust and make an entirely new treat just for me. Sometimes she’d sprinkle it with sugar and cocoa, and roll it up into a “chocolate roll.” Other times, she’d bake it in strips with cinnamon and sugar. These are sweet memories.

Left with dough after my Steve Jobs apple pie, I did the very same thing. Because my children are averse to such strong flavors as cinnamon (whose children are these?), I just left them plain. Still a hit.

To make them, simply roll out any dough left over from baking a pie (I always use Ina’s recipe). Brush it with egg wash (also left over from pie baking), and cut it into strips. You’ll want to cut an even number so no one will fight over the last one. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400, along with aforementioned pie, until golden brown – about 15 minutes.


Olive Flatbread

A lovely addition to a happy hour menu, or the perfect crunch alongside a salad.

Olive Flatbread

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll the pizza crust out as thin as possible. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove it and (without burning yourself) spread the garlic oil all over the crust, and sprinkle on the olives. Bake for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.


Steve Jobs Apple Pie

This pie did not turn out nearly as lovely as a pie baked in honor of Steve Jobs should.

If he were here, he would tell me to go back and bake another one. And another one. And another one. Again, and again, until it was a work of art.

Now we’ll all have to do our best work on our own. Sad.

RIP Steve Jobs.

Apple butter muffins

Because it’s fall and because we have 2 jars of apple butter sitting around in the pantry, and because kids like something sweet for breakfast, we have these muffins. If you don’t have any apple butter, apple sauce would work just fine, especially the cinnamon kind. And if you have Transformers muffin cups, so much the better.

Apple Butter Muffins


  • 1/2 C butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 3/4 C apple butter
  • 1 1/4 C oat flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C buttermilk

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 4 T cold butter

Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla in mixer. Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add buttermilk to wet ingredients. Then add flour mixture and apple butter a little at a time, alternating between the two. Don’t overmix. Put  the batter into a muffin tin, lined with muffin papers. I put about a 1/4 C in each.

To make crumb topping, mix flour and sugar. Then cut in butter with fingers, knives, or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Top each muffin with about a teaspoon (or more) of streusel topping.

Bake for 17 minutes, or until muffins are just set in the middle.

I know it has weird ingredients (red #40?) but come on, clearly the Bloomfield Volunteer Fire Department is a worthy cause.

Good old chocolate chippers

I’ve had a couple of baking disasters recently (among them some french bread that fell like a souffle and tasted like glue). To build my confidence back up, I decided to bake what I knew would be a sure thing: the ever-reliable chocolate chip cookie. Even my son (who recently stated that “no one at our house can cook”) told me they were good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 C oats, ground into oat flour with a food processor
  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 sticks butter at room temp
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 12oz bag semi-sweet chips

Preheat the oven to 325. Mix up the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then set aside. Cream butter and sugars, then add the eggs. I like to use my stand mixer for this. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just blended. Add chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes. They will be just browned.


Birthday girl

Today, the 5yo turns into a 6yo. She has been planning these cupcakes for at least two weeks, and asking every day if today is the day we could decorate them. This morning I finally said that it was.

It was her idea to spread the circular all over the counter.

Marshmallow sheep.

Mini flowers.

oink oink!

Green eyed cats

Floppy eared dogs

A snake that stretched out across three cupcakes

Two batches of buttercream, a package of Milano cookies, a bag of m&ms and countless mini marshmallows later, and we have a birthday menagerie.

Beer Bread

Today I baked up this quick loaf, which unlike my wheat bread, was oven ready in only 5 minutes. The original recipe is here, and uses a can of beer instead of a packet of yeast. The only change I made was to use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. It’s crusty and buttery and totally delicious.

This recipe comes from Melanie over at Fabulously Fun Food. Last month I joined a secret recipe club, and FFF was my assignment. Melanie’s a biologist living in Germany, trying to figure out what people are saying by day and how recipes convert by night. Sounds totally glam to me!

Wheat loaf with a stand mixer

Bread is easier than most people think, especially if you have a stand mixer that can do your kneading for you. It just takes a day when you’re going to be home because you have to let it rise, then punch it down, and let it rise again, then bake it. The actual active time in doing these steps is probably a collective 10 minutes, but they must be done at the right times. This bread is good for sandwiches and toast, and hubs likes it slathered with lots of butter.


Wheat Loaf

  • 1/4 warm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • pinch sugar

Combine these into your mixing bowl. Let stand while you complete the next step.

  • 1 C milk
  • 1 T butter

Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the milk and remove from the heat. Add to the yeast mixture. Don’t let the milk get too hot. You should be able to put your finger in it without getting burned (sounds like a risky test, doesn’t it?). If it’s too hot, let it cool before adding it to the yeast. Remember, hot milk kills yeast. Dead yeast equals no rising.

  • 1.5 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1.5 C all purpose flour
  • 1.5 C whole wheat flour

You’re actually supposed to mix the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet ingredients, but even though I’ll take the time to make bread from scratch, somehow I can’t find the time to wash two bowls. So I just mix in the salt and sugar first. I use a stand mixer, starting out with the paddle attachment. After the salt and sugar, I add the all purpose flour and let it mix well until it looks like Elmer’s Glue. Then, I switch to the dough hook, and add the whole wheat flour while the machine is running. It might take a bit less flour, or a bit more. Start with less. When it pulls away from the sides into one big lump, you’ve put in enough flour. Then, leave it to knead at a medium speed for about 10-15 minutes. At the end of kneading, the dough should be springy and elastic. This is a gross analogy, but it should be like gum you’ve been chewing for a while.

Rub a little bit of oil all over the dough lump to keep it from sticking to the bowl, cover it (I like to use a flour sack towel), and leave it to rise until doubled (about an hour). After it’s risen, punch it down and put it in a loaf pan. Leave it to rise a second time, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Be careful, because sometimes kids don’t like the crust and they put their dirty hands right in the middle.