Chocolate Pants Cake

Intrigued by the title? I sure hope so!

So remember a few posts ago (I tried to find it to link it but alas…I cannot! I type too many words per entry.) I told y’all I would be documenting my cooking triumphs and failures?

Well, I have another failure for you! 😉 It seems like I post those more than I post triumphs! However, I think it’s more fun this way. I’m still learning! I know a lot of others out there in blogger/internet world are, too. I also know that I get frustrated and scream to the heavens (in my head) that these people who wrote the recipes never had to deal with these failures!!! Why me!?!?

Which of course we all know is false. Still. I wonder it.

Onward we shall go with my tale of chocolate pants cake.

The other night I was in my amazing google reader and I saw that Smitten Kitchen had updated. Now, I love that blog. It drives me to go bake things all of the time because her pictures are beyond amazing and she is so fun. So, she posted a wonderful chocolate cake recipe and I was amazed that I had the book she had gotten the recipe from! Hooray, so exciting!! So I vowed to make it the next day.

Her directions are very simple and require a very small amount of dishes so I was even more pumped up. That’s my least favorite thing about baking.

So here I am, mixing my ingredients, looking smug about how great the batter tastes and how it’ll be done before it’s too late in the evening.

Also smug about the batter I got on my counter.

I popped it into the oven and was ready to kick back for an hour when I realized….I forgot to add baking soda.

Well, poop.

Quickly, I whined to my Papa who told me to toss it and start over otherwise I’d just be more upset.

Onto cake numero 2!

Added everything!

Kicked back.

Chilled.

Wondered to myself “I wonder why the middle isn’t rising? Oh well. It will, it’s only been in for 30 minutes.”

Wondered again “There’s only 15 minutes left and it’s still not rising.”

Papa says “Your cake fell.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I cried. (In my head)

And this was the result.

😦

Sinkhole Cake

How upsetting!

I thought maybe I could get away with frosting it and covering the hole.

My cat judged me.

To the icing!!

See?! You can’t even tell. Kind of. Just that it bends a bit with the plate. Hrrm.

The foundation is crumbling!

Now, just because a cake doesn’t rise doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! This cake honestly tastes like rich brownies and I’d recommend baking it. However, mine cooked a little too long because my oven runs very hot. So keep a check on it after about 40 minutes.

And if your cake falls and you cover it in icing then eat a piece? Be prepared for a plateful of chocolate cake pants. 😉

I really am the worst blogger ever.

I started this blog with full intentions of updating it ALL the time. But I’m awful at it!

So this entry will  be bulleted and nice and hopefully return us to our regularly scheduled blogging. 😉 (Don’t mind my cell phone picture updates!)

I would like to start by announcing that I am 100% debt free! Wow! 🙂 Very proud moment for me and I’m so psyched about it. I should be able to complete my undergrad schooling with no debt accrued. Hopefully the same will be true with grad school but we’ll see. That can be quite expensive…eeep!

I had an amazing 4th of July with some of my very best friends!! A few were missing like our friend Jimmy but it was still lots of fun. 🙂

I bought a Macbook Pro and took a trip to Miami with a good friend who was in from Las Vegas. He’s best friends with me and my best friend Sara, who lives there! So him and I ventured down there after I picked him up from the airport. It was super fun! I wish she didn’t have to work so much but it was still worth it.

We ate Primanti Bros! It’s a restaurant that is always and forever on food countdowns that are on TV so we made a point to go. The pizza was to die for and the sandwiches were pretty fantastic. I could definitely go there for pizza alone!

The day we were leaving I cooked them croque-madam with a different recipe. I made a cheese sauce to go on the top layer of bread and used a strong swiss cheese. Sooo worth it! It came out fantastic!

Came home and worked on a project for my Oceanography class. Good thing I live on a lake. 🙂

Returned the Macbook Pro and am now having a vendetta with Apple.

Upgraded to a really amazing lens (24-105mm) on my camera and got a separate flash. I’m in love.

Loved my pets, wore uggs in the dead of summer since I’m always freezing, covered my bike in towels because I’m an exercise slacker, was judged at a distance by my cat, been grossed out by my medical coding book, and came to terms with the fact that my cat has quite a large belly that probably will never get smaller.

Got my electrode machine in the mail and am addicted beyond belief. So much foot pain relief.

For BFF Sara’s birthday I took another trip down to the M-I-A and baked her a chocolate pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing. Ate a huge burger with 2 eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon on top. Made a pulled pork and cornbread dinner for the two of us and had a wonderful night with Miss Sara setting off sparklers.

Found out I’m getting an A in Oceanography, very excited!! 🙂 My GPA goes up to 3.64 once the grade goes in. Studying for the GRE in preparation for UNC applications a year from now.

Saw Inception 4 times. I’m in love.

and I am completely obsessed with the new Hanson album.

Check it out. It’s fabulous!

And that concludes the last month of my life. Relatively…:)

Chicken Pot Pie (Attempt #1)

A few entries ago I was gushing about my love for Nigella Lawson and how I wanted to make her chocolate cake. I spent way too much time hopping through youtube watching her make things until I came across a video of her making a chicken pot pie. She made it in about 15 minutes! Oh, this solved my problem. I have been dying for a simple pot pie recipe because, friends, pot pie and I….we have a love. A love that is thick like gravy.

Needless to say I was thrilled! I immediately started making sure we had everything I would need to prepare this masterpiece.

Above is the video I watched of Nigella, the recipe on the food network site is a little different but essentially the same.

I altered the recipe a bit with what I put in (mushrooms are gross!) and because I had to triple it to make enough for my parents and I. My alterations are in bold!

  • 3 rashers streaky bacon, cut or scissored into 1-inch strips (5 strips)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic infused oil (I just used olive oil and later added garlic powder)
  • 2 cups chestnut mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (I used carrots and broccoli)
  • 8 ounces chicken thigh fillets cut into 1-inch pieces (3 chicken breasts)

From here I just tripled the ingredients.

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala (didn’t use)
  • 1 (13-ounce) 9 by 16-inch sheet all-butter ready-rolled puff pastry (I used regular since, then added butter)

Now, I’m not going to lie. My attempt was only okay, but my goal is to take y’all through with me on my good and bad ventures of cooking here. I know how frustrating it can be when you follow directions to a T and you end up with a result that is not what you thought it would be.

Time to begin!

Preheat the oven to 425, put your pot (or pan, I used a pot given the size of mine) on the heat, add your oil. Once your oil is heated add in your bacon.


Take your chicken and add it into a ziploc bag. Add your seasonings along with all of your flour and shake shake shake it up! I added some pepper and onion powder at this point, along with thyme.

Since I’m new…bear with me! I forgot to take pictures of a few steps 😉

Add your butter into the pan and make sure it melts completely.

Then dump the contents of your chicken/flour bag into the pot, including all the flour left in there! That is helping to make the “gravy” part of the pot pie thicker. (Also called a roux)

Add in your vegetables!  I had a rude awakening at this point. I was going to add a bag of frozen peas and carrots but my Papa had neglected to buy them! So I had to scramble and find some veggies. Carrots and broccoli were there to save the day!

While your chicken is starting to cook and get some color put your chicken stock into a pot and get it hot. Once your chicken has some color add in your stock. Stir!

At this point, because of the roux you have going you should have a creamy thing going on in your pot.

I added some more flour to get it a little creamier (although it ended up still needing more thickening.) I also added some more spices. Onion powder, garlic powder, some herbs. Except…I accidentally took the whole cap off of the onion powder and dumped about half the bottle in, HAH!! Lucky for me I had a ladle on hand and it didn’t get absorbed super fast.

Continue… 😉 Let this simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove it from the heat then ladle it into your dish of choice.

Now, take your pastry dough and unroll it. Cut strips that are thin to cover the outside of your bowls or dish. Dip your finger in some water and slide it along the areas where you are going to put your dough. This helps it to stick.

After you’ve done this, take the remaining sheet you have and lay it over the top, pinching the edges to make sure it stays in place. I had to use 2 different sheets for mine, to make sure it was covered. You’ll see the line on my pie 😉

Into ze oven!

Now, it was at this point that I forgot I was going to add butter to the top of it to make it all deliciously golden and to add some flavor. Standard puff pastry dough is rather boring. So I scrambled and slathered it with some butter after it had been in the oven for 10 minutes :X

Cook for about 20 minutes, or until your pastry looks full and risen. It burns easily so watch out 🙂

Voila! Pot Pie!

Scoop out large delicious portions and proceed to gobble up.

Now. For my feeback. I’ll do this in a list.

  1. Puff pastry is a pain in the ass to cut through so I recommend individual portions/bowls. Then you are able to just mush it into your own bowl. 😉
  2. Make sure your bacon is crispy before continuing with the steps. It seems like common sense but I assumed it would cook more as it was on the heat. It stayed pretty pink and never got crispy so I ended up with these bacon chunks I was too scared to eat.
  3. Add some friggin onion. That would have made this dish so so so much better. In every other recipe I see there is onion added and this one did not have it.
  4. Next time I would consider cooking the chicken in a separate pan and then adding it into my pot. It absorbed almost all the seasonings that I put into it and therefore my pie came out so bland. Adding salt when it was plated fixed it pretty well but still. I sucks to have to see people add seasonings to your food!
  5. It should have been creamier. Goopy, even! This was still pretty soupy. It wasn’t oozing around on my plate like I would have liked it to, so I probably would have added a bit more flour or even some corn starch. Xanthan gum is supposed to work as well but I’ve never attempted it.

Overall it wasn’t a bad experience as it was my first one ever making a pot pie. I can’t hit every nail on the head when I make something for the first time unless it’s cornbread or pulled pork. 😉

I’d give it 2.5/5 stars. I’m halfway there! I just don’t expect to get all the way there til it’s a wee bit colder and a pot pie is a welcome thing to eat 🙂