Tag Archives: Chocolate

Vestiges of Brooklyn

September 2014

Oh Brooklyn!

If I were more into the idea of 3+ roommates, I’d probably already be shacking up with said 3+ persons and absorbing all the inspiration that borough has to offer. That being said, my styling partner and I recently packed his Subaru to the brim and journeyed to Brooklyn for an amazing event design opportunity with Brooklyn Brewery. This job was merely one of the many plates we have spinning in the air, so the trip was very consolidated and approximately 99.9% focused on the venue/job. However, we took a very brief moment to soak up some inspiration via a sunset stroll through Redhook. The few blocks of shops and restaurants melted my heart in that way that progressive cities do, and it whet my appetite for a more immersive trip.

Brooklyn Recap

Ace Hotel; Art Installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels at Pioneer Works; our event design for Brooklyn Brewery & Dinner Lab at Pioneer Works; Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Until I have the opportunity to return for a jam packed Brooklyn adventure, I at least have a few vestiges of Brooklyn to hold me over…

Vestiges of Brooklyn

This weekend the fella and I will be French pressing these fragrant Stumptown beans, sharing and savoring every single bite of this $10 Mast Brothers chocolate bar, and sipping some Brooklyn Brewery Local 2.

What will you be savoring this weekend?


Happy Weekend!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

September 2014

A Kogel Family Value: Ice cream knows no season.

If your family raised you to limit your frozen treats to the summer months, firstly, my sympathies.  Secondly, you better make these cookies soon! Then go ahead, and find that moment in the afternoon, when the sun is still beaming, the clouds are cotton candy, the breeze is warm, and eat an ice cream sandwich like a child who ignores ice cream rules. Hell, have that ice cream sammie for breakfast if you feel so inclined! I won’t tell your parents.

Coconut Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made these cookies with a certain Hawaii transplant in mind, so coconut was heavy on my brain when scheming this recipe. Said surfer-turned-farmer boy inspired my first use of coconut flour, and it worked perfectly. The cookies were soft and chewy with a faint hint of coconut. As we move into crisper, fall temperatures, these cookies would also pair well with hot chocolate, but again, ice cream is eternal love in my book.

Gluten-Free, Chocolate, Coconut Cookies (for Ice Cream Sandwiches)


1/2 pound organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil

3/4 cup organic coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 organic, cage-free eggs
3/4 cup organic raw cane sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pink himalayan sea salt for sprinkling

For Assembly

Organic vanilla bean ice cream
Unsweetened, shredded coconut


Melt the chocolate,butter and coconut oil together over a double boiler. Stir it occasionally until the mixture is completely smooth, then remove it from the heat and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Slowly add in the sugar, and beat until the mixture is light in color and the eggs have tripled in volume.

Stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the melted chocolate mixture.

Fold in the flour mixture until well combined.

The dough will be very soft, almost batter-like in texture. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until it’s firm enough to scoop.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and portion the cookies into heaping tablespoons.

Sprinkle each cookie with salt, and bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until their tops are puffed.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.


Scoop your favorite, all-natural, ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie. Top with a second cookie. Sprinkle the exposed ice cream with shredded coconut, and enjoy!


Here’s to Ice Cream All Year Long!

A CSA Inspired Cake: Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries

August 2014

Back when the corn was barely knee-high, the Urban Farmer and his truck were stranded beyond the urban limits awaiting a mechanic’s touch. The con of this scenario was waiting a week for that boy. The pro of this scenario was scoring that boy’s CSA basket of summer goodness! Many a recipe developer may have seized this opportunity to create a savory plate, but I saw a zucchini and gooseberries, and my mind went straight to layer cake.

Cake Stand

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Lemon Rosette

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries


2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup pure cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large organic eggs

1 cup organic whole-fat yogurt

3 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

Local Gooseberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Raspberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Local Mint or Fresh Herbs
Lemon Peel
Organic powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan with butter or olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Alternately, stir in the flour mixture and the yogurt, starting and stopping with the flour.

Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing from the springform pan. Use a serrated knife and a lazy susan to cut the cake into two layers.

Spread an even layer of the whipped cream (recipe below) over the base layer of cake. Top with the remaining layer. Add more whipped cream to the center, and top with berries and lemon garnish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Whipped Cream Filling


1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 lemons, zested


In the chilled bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.


Here’s to Community Sponsored Cakes!

Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Layer Cake with Roasted Plums

August 2014

My name is Quelcy, and I am prone to perfectionism.

I fully admit this is a problem, but rather than acknowledge a higher power and 12-step my way through this issue, I just seek constructive friends to indulge my need for critiques. I am also prone to perfectionist tantrums, in which I want to hide my work and/or start over.

Chocolate Cake Layers

This cake was one of those tantrums. I set out to impress, obviously. One doesn’t just layer cake for the sake of any ol’ Monday. I wanted to contribute to a group and announce, “oh hey, did I mention I bake?” I did not want to announce, “Oh hey, did I mention I bake, but the texture of my baking is a complete failure?”

Roasted Plums

My decision to be amenable to a crowd, and therefore gluten free, resulted in a grittier texture (second issue with this batch of almond flour, so maybe it was a milling fluke?). Perhaps I was rushing as well, and I didn’t allow the cake to bake or cool long enough. As always, there are several factors and several ways to beat yourself up.

The result was a very rich, chocolatey fail in my mind. However, the cake was chocolatey enough, and I had all the right toppings to gussy it enough, so I just decided to offer my cake with a humble apology for the texture, and you know what happened?

That friendly crowd ate every last morsel, and in the words of Life cereal, they liked it! They really liked it!

Is there a moral to this cake? Sure. The moral of this cake story is: eat more chocolate and don’t hate on yourself too much.

Chocolate Plum Cake

Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Layer Cake with Roasted Plums


2 cups organic almond flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 cups organic raw cane sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened, pure cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup organic, unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
1 cup red wine

2 large organic, cage-free eggs
1/2 cup organic ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350º F. Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and red wine, and bring to a boil. Add to the flour mixture and, using an electric mixer, mix until combined.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the ricotta and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.


Whipped Cream Topping
Note: I typically use maple syrup for my whipped cream sweetener, but I wanted this topping to have a little more structure, so I used powdered sugar. 


1 cup organic whipping cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar


Chill the cream in a mixing bowl in the freezer until the cream just starts to freeze. Remove from the freezer. Add the vanilla.

Use a mixer, on medium speed, to beat until peaks begin to form.

Add the powdered sugar, and continue to mix until combined. Keep chilled until ready to use.


Balsamic Roasted Plums


4-5 organic plums
organic unsalted butter
balsamic vinegar
organic light brown sugar


Cut plums in half and remove pits.

Arrange in a baking dish, cut side up. Brush each plum surface with melted butter and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar and spices.

Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.



Transfer one of the cakes to a platter and spread with ¾ cup of the whipped topping.

Top with the remaining cake, and spread with the remaining whipped topping.

Top with roasted plums (I threw in some gooseberries also). Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with thyme or the fresh herb of your choice.


Here’s to Chocolate Failures!

Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl

June 2014

“You can’t go wrong with chocolate.”

That could be the title of my memoir. It might one day be the title of my memoir, but for the time being, it was a birthday cake request for a friend’s big 3-0. This friend also happened to deem a local bakery’s raspberry ricotta pie “the perfect dessert.” If you’re turning 30, I do believe you should have everything you want, so it was time for some chocolate and raspberry swirling action!

Cake Top View

Raspberry Swirl

Raspberry Compote

Raspberry Compote


12 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup Turbinado raw cane sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
½ teaspoon organic cornstarch


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.

Simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Once the raspberries fall apart and the sauce is thickened, remove from heat.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Note: This will make extra, but it’s worth having extra to top ice cream or toast. Alternately, you could add a raspberry layer in between the chocolate and cream cheese batters or simply halve the recipe.


Note on the Cake Size: The recipe below will make two 9-inch springform pans, or you could make one cake with much thicker layers. 

Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl

Cheesecake Batter

16 ounces organic cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Turbinado raw cane sugar

2 eggs + 2 egg whites (organic, cage-free)

2 Tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour

Brownie Batter

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup organic half & half
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 organic eggs
3 cups organic light brown sugar, packed

*raspberry compote (recipe above)


Preheat oven to 350 and oil or butter two, 9-inch springform pans.

For the Cheesecake Batter:

Use a mixer to cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sugar, and mix well. Add egg and egg white and mix. Stir in the flour. Set batter aside.

For the Chocolate Batter:

Use a whisk to combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, combine the oil, half & half, vanilla, eggs and brown sugar. Mix until smooth.

Slowly mix in flour mixture until completely combined.

Pour all but approximately one cup of brownie batter into prepared pan(s).

Spread cheesecake layer evenly on top of brownie layer.

Drop Tablespoons of reserved brownie batter and raspberry compote on top of the cheesecake layer. Use a chopstick or a knife to swirl the batter.

Bake about 25-30 minutes, until top is set.

Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in airtight container, keep refrigerated.


Bon Appétit!

Maple Pecan Chocolate Cake for a Birthday BFF

May 2014

“You are the only ab workout I need,” Sandra gasped in a fit of laughter.

The three of us met twelve years ago. TWELVE YEARS AGO! One was a sloppy drinker, another an angsty teen scorned by the lack of beaches, and me, an intense bitch who rarely looked away from her drawing board. First impressions, though somewhat true, faded, and we bonded in a way that flourished all the way that stomach-cramping laughter in a colorful dining room and this cake…

Chocolate Maple Cake

The last of our trio to bid her 20s farewell, we convened to celebrate Nina’s “Dirty Thirty.” We had set out to spend each of our birthdays together despite living in different cities. One Garnets & Ganache dessert social, one Maple Syrup Festival and one Maker Date later, we had achieved sweet success! We laughed, we teared up, and we hugged our way into this third decade. I’m so proud of where we are, where we are going and how close we have become.

Pecan Design

Thirty hasn’t fully sunk in for me yet, but sometimes I step back to appreciate the maturity and clarity we now mix with our old jokes and nostalgia. Our conversations have evolved to include mature topics we never imagined- relationship complexities, babies (holy F$%k!!!), home ownership (I’m only beginning to understand this)- all the twists and turns TWELVE years of trusted friendship brings. We have developed the confidence and closeness to inspire each other and tell each other how proud we are of one another. In short, we have grown together from girls to women.

Slice and Plates

For the girl who gave us the Maple Syrup Festival, for the thirty-year-old who makes 1,000s of positive things happen, I had this Chocolate Maple Pecan cake to give. I knew the birthday lady would give me a hard time if this cake did not include a boozy, whipped topping, so in between two layers of chocolate cake was a layer of a light, chocolate & Snap whipped cream.

Pecan Slice

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Maple Cake with Pecans
Yield: Makes a 2-layer, 9-inch cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup pure cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cups pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Turbinado raw sugar

2 large organic eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup whole-fat European style yogurt

Pecans for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking pan; line with parchment, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, maple syrup, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of yogurt; beat until just combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula.

Arrange pecans in circular pattern on the surface.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely.


Maple & Snap Whipped Topping


1 cup organic heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons pure cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz light cream cheese
1/8 cup AITA Snap liquor


Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined, light and airy. Keep chilled until ready to use.


To Assemble

Remove cake from pan and transfer to a plate. Use a serrated knife such as a bread knife to cut the cake into two layers.

Spoon the whipped topping onto the bottom layer of the cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth over the surface. Add the top layer, and serve!


Here’s to thirty years on this planet and twelve years together! xoxox

Chocolate, Whiskey & Ginger Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce

May 2014

A new someone enters your life. Together, you enter the cocoon of honeymoon bliss, a cocoon of swooning and smitten stares. Eventually, you two, lovey-dovey butterflies emerge to learn about each other’s lives, including each other’s friendship circles.

This is important. Meeting the friends is important.

Springform and Caramel

You watch those friends. You watch the dynamic they have. They invite you with open arms because you’re important to him. You go to their house for a bbq. You meet each other at a show. You have a drink after to revel in the revival of Neutral Milk Hotel. You find each other amongst a crowded music festival and loud brass music.

What is the common thread running through each encounter? What is the classic combination these friends clutch in their hands?

Whiskey & Ginger Ale.

Caramel Pour

It’s their drink, and it’s a good one. You know this because you have been paying attention (and drinking with them). When the next gathering rolls around, you come prepared, a little late, but prepared nonetheless.

Caramel Dripping Cake

This is a cake for his friends. The chocolate cake has bites of spicy, candied ginger, and the whiskey caramel sauce seeps into every chocolatey nook and cranny. The chocolatey, gingery cake may sink like a volcano after rushing the cooling process, but it’s a volcano of whiskey caramel sauce, so no one complains. They just grab forks and start eating directly from that chocolate, whiskey volcano.

Caramel Copper Spoon

The only snafu? These friends have kids, and when the adults say, “Cake,” that pack of kids comes running from every room in the house. With huge smiles on their faces, they charge at you. For a moment, you feel as though you’re in a battle scene and wave your hands frantically admitting defeat. “There’s alcohol in this cake,” you admit to the adults. The blonde boy, with the deepest sadness in his voice, WAILS, “Whhhhhhhhhhy would you put alcohol in a caaaaake?” This kid is not interested in your story about observing these friends and their drink of choice. The whiskey-ginger ale drinking adults distract the distraught child with Joe-Joes cookies, and your boozey, collapsed cake is still a success.

Chocolate Whiskey & Ginger Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce


1/2 cup (1 stick) organic, unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup organic heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (from peeled ginger)

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Put butter, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Let cool 5 minutes.

Add eggs, milk, and grated ginger to the molasses mixture; whisk to combine.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until just combined. (There should be lumps remaining.)

Gently fold in the candied ginger.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack.


Whiskey Glaze


3/4 cup packed organic light or dark brown sugar
4 oz. (1/2 cup) organic unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons honey
1-1/2 Tablespoons whiskey
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup organic heavy cream
1-1/4 cups organic confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze

Set the cake on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, honey, whiskey, and salt.

Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Add the cream, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, for exactly 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Gently whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla until completely smooth.

Let stand until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but still warm and pourable, 3 to 8 minutes.

If a skin forms, gently stir it back into the glaze with a spatula; don’t over-stir or the glaze may crystallize.

Pour the glaze slowly and evenly over the cake. When the glaze is set, after about 15 minutes, transfer the cake to a serving plate.


Whiskey Whipped Cream


1 cup organic whipping cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons whiskey


Chill the cream in a mixing bowl in the freezer until the cream just starts to freeze. Remove from the freezer. Add the vanilla and maple syrup.

Use a mixer, on medium speed, to beat until peaks begin to form.

Add the whiskey, and continue to mix until combined. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


Here’s to breaking children’s hearts and winning over adults!

ps: Most of the alcohol in the sauce should cook out, but the whipped cream is definitely boozy, so I erred on the side of precaution rather than the side of intoxicating children.