I made my first Love and Duck Fat post on July 27th of 2013, almost five months ago. Looking back, I was a new stay-at-home mom without a purpose besides caring for my little one. Lost in my new routine of baby feeding, housework and preparing meals; I needed something to funnel my creativity into – something that wasn’t all about baby. At my husband’s urging, Love and Duck Fat was born.
I’m still a stay-at-home mom, with a 14 month old little guy who makes messes faster than I can clean them up. Even so, a lot has changed in 5 months (that’s all?). I’ve learned a lot from writing this blog (like how to make a really good cake) and I look forward to my next big milestone: my 1 year anniversary post.
To celebrate my 100th post, I baked myself a chocolate chip cake. Yay me! It’s a simple cake recipe that reminds me of being a kid. I remember making chocolate chip cakes using yellow cake mix and store-bought chocolate fudge frosting. This cake is way better. The yellow cake batter has that perfect birthday cake smell and taste. The chocolate chips are rich and flavorful, and the frosting is to die for.
A quick note on the frosting: I originally made an American-style chocolate butter cream for this cake but tossed it because it was too sweet. Instead, I made a dark chocolate frosting that is so delicious (and easy to make) you will be licking the spatula like I did.
To celebrate my 100th post, I’m sharing ten of my personal favorite recipes to date, in no particular order.
- Fried green papaya
- Spanish octopus stew
- Prosciutto, Burrata cheese and fig crostini
- Roasted okra
- Kumquat upside-down cake
- Caribbean goat stew
- Duck fat roasted potatoes and shallots
- Chocolate cake with mousse filling, post wine frosting
- Pork rib chops, goat cheese polenta, roasted fennel, sautéed apple
- Challah French toast, Burrata, sliced peaches
Chocolate chip cake recipe
Yellow cake recipe adapted from Best Birthday Cake by Smitten Kitchen.
- 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken (you can substitute whole milk + 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar)
- 1 1/2-2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350° F/ 175° C
Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. For extra insurance, butter and line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and blend. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk. The mixture will look curdled at this point. Add the flour mixture in batches, mixing on low speed until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again, do not over mix.
You should have a nice, thick batter at this point. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the cake pans and tap on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a wooden pick (I like to use bamboo skewers) inserted into the center comes out clean of cake batter (melted chocolate is okay).
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting. You can make the layers a few days ahead, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream, espresso powder and sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and stir, about 6 minutes, until the sugar melts completely and the mixture thickens slightly.
Add the chocolate, butter, vanilla extract and salt to a mixing bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture on top. Allow to come to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Set the mixing bowl with the chocolate inside a larger bowl with a layer of ice cubes on the bottom. Beat the chocolate, using a handheld mixer, until thick and glossy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula until combined.
Frost the cake layers right away. The frosting should have a lovely, spreadable consistency.