Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is my love language. I'm not even ashamed. I love chocolate cake. If I love you, chances are I've made you a chocolate cake at some point. (And if I haven't? Well, try harder to be loveable.) (I'm kidding.)

I found this chocolate cake recipe last year and after tweaking it to my personal preferences, I will never make another. It's ridiculously fast to make (I can throw it together more quickly than my oven preheats) and always comes out moist and delicious.


2 cups granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee or boiling water

Chocolate Ganache Topping

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9x13 baking pan.

In bowl of stand mixer, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for two minutes.

Mix in coffee (batter will be thin).

Pour into pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool at least half an hour before topping. The cake doesn't need to be cold but it shouldn't be hot to the touch.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

Heat whipping cream in saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. Cool approximately 30 minutes and then pour over cooled cake. Top with berries or sprinkles and then bring it to me.


Monster Muffins

The food battle-that-isn't-a-battle wages on with no end in sight. Grady isn't too keen on eating red meat (or any meat apart from bacon and cheeseburgers) so we suspect his iron is low. I am not above hiding sneaky ingredients in foods he accepts it turns out, so the idea of monster muffins was born. The muffins are satisfyingly green when you bite into them, and packed full of chocolate chips to keep kids interested. I admit I may be losing the food battle-that-isn't-a-battle but I don't know what else to do. 


3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium-sized overripe bananas
2 cups (packed) baby spinach
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (or other mix-ins like chopped nuts or dried fruit)


Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In blender, buzz bananas and spinach until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides to make sure there are no rogue pieces of spinach. Add egg, oil, and vanilla and blend until mixed.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.

Spoon into muffin tin and bake 20-23 minutes until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.


Fresh Blueberry Pie

The BC blueberry crop has stretched into September, reminding us that summer isn't over just yet. This pie is easy to throw together and tastes great topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream.


1 9-inch pie crust, baked and cooled (a graham cracker crust also works well with this pie)
4 cups fresh blueberries, separated (2 cups + 2 cups)
1 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter


Place 2 cups blueberries in bottom of pre-baked pie crust.

Mix remaining 2 cups blueberries with water and lemon juice in medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil gently, adjusting heat as needed, stirring occasionally, 3 - 5 minutes, until berries burst.

Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt together in small bowl.

Add sugar mixture to cooked blueberry mixture, lower heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and translucent (just a minute or two).

Remove from heat and stir in butter until it melts.

Pour mixture gently over fresh berries in pie crust. Chill until set.



Rhubarb Lemon Loaf

I love rhubarb. Partly because of its perfectly tart taste but also because it signals that summer is on its way. Gone are the days of trolling the produce aisle for limp lettuce and sad root vegetables. Rhubarb brings with it asparagus and then strawberries and then a summer full of beautiful local produce at the farmers market.

I've reached the point where I've tried all the somewhat logical methods of inducing labour (pre-pregnant Hillary believed that babies come when they're ready, million-weeks-pregnant Hillary is desperately hoping that eating a pineapple near the ocean under the light of a full moon is what will get this party started) and now I'm firmly planted in old wives' tales territory.

Which brings me to the rhubarb.

According to family lore, eating rhubarb is a natural way to induce labour. The internet is less supportive of this claim but like I said, reason left this party weeks ago.

This loaf is tart and zingy. It's perfect with a giant latte for breakfast but it also shines as some next-level strawberry shortcake (pile sliced strawberries and mounds of freshly whipped cream on top of cooled slices).

Adapted from this recipe.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced approximately 1/4" thick

Streusel Topping (optional)*
1 Tablespoon melted butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9"x5" loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking soda, and salt.

In separate bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

Gently mix flour mixture into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb.

Mix together streusel topping ingredients until crumbly.

Spread half of the loaf batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping over batter. Spoon remaining batter into pan and top with remaining streusel topping.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 - 65 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

*If you're not a fan of streusel crumb toppings, leave it out and keep your loaf naked. Another alternative is mixing together 1/2 - 1 cup icing sugar with a few teaspoons of lemon juice to make a glaze that you pour over your still-warm-from-the-oven loaf. If you do the glaze method, I recommend using your toothpick to cover the surface of your loaf in tiny holes that the glaze can seep into for maximum flavour.