Tag Archive for 'dessert'

Julie’s Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Cake

Julie and I shared our passion for food, all food, but in particular desserts. I first met her during my PR agency days with her husband, Rich Cline, who had taken me under his wing as a new arrival onto the agency scene. He and his counterpart, Slibby (Stacy Libby) were amongst the first few people I had met once I started at Miller Shandwick Technologies upon leaving Sybase. I had often heard stories about Julie from both Cline and Slibby. Both of them insisted that we’d have a lot in common from our cooking to our Italian heritage and passion for speaking the language. They were right.

I left Miller Shandwick for my America’s Cup days for some years. I stayed connected with Julie and the gang over the years via a dinner party or two.

Later, when a small group from Miller Shandwick opened up Voce Communications, I rejoined the clan again. During this decade, Julie and I would regularly meet at Voce’s unconventional yet truly epic company events.

Julie was a brilliant lawyer, fluent in Italian, and passionate about food. I confided in her one night during a dinner party that I was thinking about writing a cookbook. She LOVED the idea and wanted to both share her new favorite recipe and launch my career as an author by hosting my first book signing. And she did exactly that.

Julie shared her recipe for what we now call Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs, and she hosted the most incredible first ‘book signing’ party one could imagine.

Via the party, Slibby, who was thick into the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blogging Community, helped to bring me into the world of food bloggers, and she hand picked the guest list which was a mixture of friends, family, and blogging influencers. To this day, thanks to both Julie and Slibby, I still covet the relationships sparked on that night.

Years passed and as families with children living 30+ minutes away do, we drifted into our mutually busy lives. When I was ill, we briefly reconnected; she sent me a beautiful card and a book that I still treasure to this day. When I recovered we spoke of getting together, but it was challenging to find a time.

So time passed, then Julie was ill. I reached out to her as well and we agreed we would get together, in fact, we talked about getting together again in Jan 2020, and we were getting close to seeing each other; then we went into Pandemic lockdown. So we postponed. And as I write this note, I can tell you that I never got the chance to see her in person again.

I am happy for all of the smiles and recipes we shared and sad to know that we will not be creating more, however I do know that she will always be close by in my recipe thoughts. [Sidebar: I used to tease Cline that they must love me to have named one of their three beautiful daughters after me! I am sure that is not the case, but how could I resist making the claim amongst all of our mutual friends!]

My tribute to Julie is this recipe I worked on while reflecting on our memories together. Please forgive the insider references: dueling Christmas trees, Hornblower yachts, children in the yard, Payard hot cocoa mix, food adventures, and Italian. The funny thing is that I don’t know if she was a fan of coconut, but I do know how much she loved chocolate, and I believe she would have swooned over this gooey treat. This recipe is for you, Julie! May you and yours always know the special place you have in my heart. Always.

Julie’s Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Cake

Cake Ingredients

7 TBS unsalted butter

4 eggs, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients

3.5 TBS unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup whipping cream

1 cup dry shredded coconut

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9x 13 baking tray with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and remove from heat to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Then add the cooled butter. It is important that the butter not be too hot or it will cook the egg and sugar batter.

Add in the baking powder, vanilla, salt, and stir to combine. Then add in the cocoa, mix to combine, and finally the flour. Mixing well by hand. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Start the topping while the cake is in the oven. In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add in the sugar, syrup, and cream. Allow mixture to simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the shredded coconut and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Remove the mixture from the heat. When the timer is up, carefully remove the cake from the oven and pour the topping over it. Return to the oven and bake it for another 10 minutes or until the topping is a light golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool before cutting into small pieces. This recipe is rich so smaller pieces are advised. It also stores nicely in the refrigerator, precut for easy access to pop it into your mouth or serve with your afternoon coffee or tea. I imagine that Julie would have had it with a coffee made by her Lavazza.

Grapes & Port

(Originally written February 20, 2021)

I am keeping it simple as this pandemic journey continues…and we are nearing the one-year mark of this lockdown. If my calculations are accurate, we could have now traveled from earth to Mars on a rocket ship in about the same number of days. Last year at this time I was on my global farewell tour in Asia Pac, and I recall how odd it felt to be temperature checked every time I entered a new public building or to be served a cocktail by someone wearing a mask while I myself didn’t have one. That was when life seemed simple and comparatively carefree. That view is now unrecognizable to me. Yet here I sit, as if nothing has changed, typing on my laptop. Continue reading ‘Grapes & Port’

Banana Upside Down Cake

It’s that moment that you realize that other doors are open to you. You can pinpoint exactly what you want, and you have the confidence to do what you previously thought you needed guidance on. For others it may seem that your world has been suddenly turned upside down, but in all reality, it was already upside down, and it has suddenly fallen into place – right side up. Continue reading ‘Banana Upside Down Cake’

Vanilla Cupcakes- Gluten Free

After 231 days of the global pandemic, I found a sense of quiet. Not the kind of quiet that makes you shudder with anxiousness, but rather the kind of quiet that carries with it a sense of serenity. I have no explanation for this unexplained magic, yet that didn’t concern me. As I took the dog on his evening walk, I listened to the nothing-ness abound and absorbed this uncharacteristic sense of calm. It made me miss this space, this place where I come to meet you intermingled with my thoughts.

Despite my lack of blogging, my recipe development has not ceased. Continue reading ‘Vanilla Cupcakes- Gluten Free’

Authentic Dutch Apple Pie

Sometimes friendships find you and then happily take you through the years. When you reflect, suddenly you realize that the memories appear to be more abundant than you realized.

This past October, my friend Lisa organized an intimate housewarming party. Our small group decided that we would each bring something for the celebration. The evening was lovely beyond words, as we passed the hours away with a delicious dinner (thanks to our hostess Lisa, a.k.a. ‘Cupcake’), fantastic bubbles and wines (thanks to our resident sommelier John, a.k.a. the ‘Wine Ninja’), and great company (all of the above plus Leon, Ursula, Eric, and Zara). The hours flew by as we chatted, laughed, and shared stories al fresco. To close out the already perfect evening, the featured dessert was a stunning homemade pie. Or, as I like to think of it, my very first introduction to Dutch Apple Pie- made by the lovely Ursula. Since that night onward, I’ve chased this recipe. I am no stranger to apple pie, but this was beyond compare. Continue reading ‘Authentic Dutch Apple Pie’

Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake

Calling all summer lemon lovers! I have to say, after having taken a much-needed blogging hiatus, YOU passionate dessert foodies have all inspired me to come back to share my adventures in the kitchen. Let’s get right to business. >I know, all this time away from blogging and I am suddenly robbing you of a story but maybe you are done with my insights and just looking for a good recipe “sans” deep thoughts. Maybe.<

This Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake recipe glows of summer and is the perfect refreshing crowd-pleaser to close out a good BBQ. Continue reading ‘Lemonicious Blueberry Slab Cake’

Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans

Talismans. Do you have them? I do. Maybe not as my driving force but they do exist in my world. Sometimes they are for me those ‘angels’ that I think maybe watch out for me and guide me. For me, they are often the reminders I have of ‘those’ that are special to me.

I’ve recently had a lot of my ‘angels’ on my mind. I recognized that having something of theirs with me, during especially busy or stressful times, gave me an extra reason to smile and relax while being a bit in the eye of a hurricane. I only realized my gravitation toward these seemingly magical objects while speaking with a friend over dinner. It must have sounded incredibly peculiar when I blurted out that my new favorite dress is one of my Grandmother’s. I mean, is it normal to say you are rocking your grandparent’s clothes? Maclamore and Ryan Lewis sing it about it Continue reading ‘Champagne Jellied Treats & Tailsmans’

Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas

This year I tried to quit Christmas. I know, what a bah-humbug thing to say. I started my campaign to escape the holiday in early December of 2017. And yet, even with a plan to take 2018 off, it was a bust. When I realized my failure about 45 days out, I was in disbelief. How could I have had such a failure of epic proportions?

At the risk of being overly honest, the holidays carry with them a hint of childhood grandeur sprinkled with magic AND Continue reading ‘Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas’

Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers

So, based on my last blog, you may be wondering about that Super Hero Podcast I was telling you about. The funny thing is, I was a bit underwhelmed by it overall. Yet, it must have left its mark on me because here I am thinking about it again. Odd!

Perhaps it is time to figure it out. What is my superhero power if not restricted to (a) invisibility or (b) flying since both of those are, well, not really possible in our current existence.

I started to think about a variety of things … cooking, being a devoted friend, keeping in touch with people (family/friends) maybe it was less about it being a superpower and more about it being a quality I am proud of or want to emulate. I think on many levels I like to see others comfortable and happy. That’s hardly a superpower. But I do think there is power in my actions and words that span the gamut. Continue reading ‘Hawaiian Haupia Pudding & Purple Potatoes & Superpowers’

Poached Pears & Superpowers

During my recent travels I checked into the hotel, changed into my workout clothes and headed to the gym. It was all relatively standard, nothing out of the ordinary until I deviated from my music mix and took a detour into a podcast. There was a time that I was practically a podcast jockey, bouncing from story to story, but I think I eventually burned out from the binge. I took a long podcast hiatus and then boom, here I am back at it. I am craving a good story. I somehow needed to kick-start my creativity and not feel like I’ve abandoned my sacred space; the perfect mash-up of cooking and blogging. For weeks I’ve wanted to frolic in my kitchen, yet I was just too tapped out. Continue reading ‘Poached Pears & Superpowers’