Mini Lemon Cake

Happy Mother’s Day!! I didn’t get to spend the day with my mom today, *sigh*. In celebration of finishing my first rotation and Mother’s Day weekend (e-gift?), I made this mini lemon cake from a recipe I have been wanting to try out from Cooking Light. This recipe already aimed to cut down the fat, but I made a miniature version because one whole cake is too much for the two of us. This was the perfect dessert portion, because we didn’t feel sick after eating it! This cake is really moist and packed with lemon flavor. I do not like to use a lot of icing, so I spread a thin layer on and prefer topping the cake with a few dots of light whipped cream – yum! Note: this recipe makes two 4-inch ramekins. To make a whole 9×9 inch lemon cake, triple the ingredients.

Yesterday we went hiking in Marin, and it was beautiful until the fog rolled in!

OK, back to this delicious lemon cake…

Recipe adapted from Nathan’s Lemon Cake Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

4.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Lemon Cake
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
25 mins
40 mins
Type: Dessert
Serves: 2
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ tbsp lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Milk, as needed for texture
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray two 4-inch ramekins with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. Shake around until the flour evenly coats the ramekins.
  3. In a standalone mixer with the paddle attachment (you can also use an electric hand mixer), add butter, oil, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind and salt.
  4. Mix on medium speed until creamy.
  5. Add the egg and continue mixing.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  7. Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating, while mixing on low speed.
  8. Evenly transfer the batter to the two ramekins and place in the oven.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after piercing the center.
  10. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes to cool before removing.
  11. Use a butterknife to loosen the sides of the cakes and flip upside down onto a cooling rack.
  12. In the meantime, add all ingredients for the icing to a bowl and beat together.
  13. Once cooled, cut the top part of the cake off to make a flat surface, then cut the cakes in half.
  14. Frost one half of the cakes, then top and frost the rest.
  15. Decorate the top with light whipped cream and lemon twists.
Makes two 4-inch cakes

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Double Chocolate Muffins

I’m all about any excuse to justify chocolate with breakfast. Truthfully it doesn’t take much, as I usually have some sort of chocolate stashed in my desk that I eat before 10am anyways, but that’s neither here nor there. There’s something about biting into a muffin or piece of coffee cake that seems to start the day off right. I’d be in trouble if I kept either around the house on a regular basis because I love breakfast sweets so much I end up eating them all day long. I don’t know how some people skip breakfast. It’s literally the first thing I think about every morning. 

I brought these muffins into work today and everyone kept calling them cupcakes because they are chocolate…with chocolate chips. I’ve always thought muffins and cupcakes differed in two main ways. I’m sure Google could answer this question as well, but I won’t bother looking it up. The first is that muffins don’t have icing. It doesn’t matter this muffin is rich and chocolatey. It doesn’t have icing. It’s a muffin! The exception: coffee cake muffins with any sort of glaze. It can still be a muffin even with a sweet glaze. Go ahead and eat it for breakfast. No one’s judging. The second is the way in which the ingredients are combined. Here’s where these delicious chocolate muffins tip toe the line.

I got this recipe from Dough Puncher, and though she originally combined the ingredients according to a standard cupcake method, she suggested that she might like it better if she switched to the cake method next time. Well, she may not have tried her recommendation yet, but I’m here to vouch for these muffins mixed according to the cake method. These are so good I see no reason to go back to the original method next time. They are most certainly muffins, but they’re sweet enough that you wouldn’t imagine spreading a piece of butter or jam on them like some people do with muffins.

The flavor is rich and chocolatey. The texture is denser than some of the lighter muffins (which, let’s be real, we could eat like five of anyways), but lighter than most cakes. They stayed moist (sorry) beyond the first day and a half, and that’s a big accomplishment with muffins. You will LOVE these. Make them and find any way to share them..because keeping them around the house is a dangerous thing!

Double Chocolate Muffins
Recipe from Dough Puncher (adapted from Barbara Bakes)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whatever you have works)
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners to make 12 muffins.
2) Cream together the butter, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated between each addition.

3) Stir together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the milk, in 2-3 additions each (so add a third of the flour, half of the milk, another third of the flour, etc.).
4) Divide batter between 12 muffin cups and bake 24-27 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean (a little melted chocolate is fine – the toothpick may hit a melty chocolate chip). 

Chocolate Birthday Cake

A few days ago, my husband celebrated his “quarter of a century” birthday. We celebrated by having dinner with a small group of friends, and with this chocolate mousse cake I made from scratch. I was nervous because after tweaking an old chocolate cake recipe many times, I was still making changes from notes from the last time. It never came out bad, but there was always something I wanted to do different for the next time. For example, last time I made it I thought it was a little too sweet, so this time I took out some sugar and hoped it wasn’t lacking too much sugar… This time I was 100% happy with my chocolate cake recipe! It came out moist, and not too sweet or rich, but had just the right amount of sweet chocolate flavor. My favorite kind of chocolate cake to bake is chocolate mousse cake. I won’t lie, this cake takes forever to make – so make sure you have a few hours to dedicate to it! The result, however, is very much worth the effort…

Some time-saving tips are to use store-bought mousse and frosting (you can find both in the baking isle near the cake mixes), but if you have a little more time and are interested here are two recipes for both made from scratch:

  • regular chocolate mousse or low-fat chocolate mousse
  • chocolate frosting
5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Prep time
2 hours
Cook time
30 mins
2 hours 30 mins
Type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tbsp for cake pans
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Add 1 tbsp flour to each cake pan, and rotate like a steering wheel over a sink until the flour completely coats the pan. Shake out excess flour into the sink.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a standalone mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment (you can also use an electric mixer and add ingredients to a large bowl).
  5. Mix the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds.
  6. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix on medium speed about 2 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, boil 1 cup of water.
  8. Turn off the mixer and add the boiling water.
  9. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  10. Use a spatula to transfer the batter evenly between the two 9-inch cake pans.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen carefully with a thin spatula or knife and turn over onto a wire cooling rack.
  13. Cool for 30 minutes before frosting.
  14. While waiting for the cake to cool, prepare mousse and frosting (see recipes above, or use store-bought).
  15. Add the mousse to a cake decorating bag (or ziplock bag with a 1-inch hole in the corner) and chill in the freezer for 7 minutes.
  16. If the cake layers are not flat on each side, use a large serrated knife to cut a thin layer off. Tape a piece of parchment paper around one layer of cake (should be three times the height of one cake layer).
  17. Pipe the mousse over the cake layer in a circle, until it completely covers the layer and is about 1 to 1½ inches in height.
  18. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
  19. Place the other layer of cake on top of the mousse and carefully unwrap the parchment paper from the cake.
  20. Frost and decorate as desired.
Makes one double layered 9-inch cake

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