3 Hole Chocolate Cake

Today would have been my father’s 95th Birthday. He passed away about a year after I was married, so he has been gone almost 28 years ago.

Dad’s favorite cake was a chocolate cake my mom would make called 3 hole chocolate cake. The cake was made in just one pan and was a dark chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. He wasn’t much of a sweet eater, except for this cake.

So today in honor of his birthday I decided to make this cake. It is very easy and even easier cleanup!

All dry ingredients mixed together.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa baking soda & salt) in rectangular baking pan.
  2. Make 3 holes in dry ingredients, put oil in one, vanilla in another and vinegar in the 3rd.
  3. Add 2 cups COLD water & mix. Bang pan on table to get the bubbles out.Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, until toothpick comes out clean.

Make a basic white butter cream frosting. Frost, cut and serve.

3 holes, for 3 ingredients
Ready to bake
Candle for 95! Miss you Dad

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

Do you ever get a hankering to bake cookies? Well I did this morning. I looked through the dessert binder and found our recipe for While Chocolate and Cranberry cookies and then checked the pantry. I was in luck. We had all the ingredients.

So my baking process began. I took a stick of butter out of the refrigerator to soften, grabbed a couple of eggs and then got the mixer out. After a couple of hours I was ready to go.

Measuring out the flour

I thought with this recipe I would get some shots of the process. Here you can see the recipe on the counter. When we find a recipe online we print it out. After preparing it we make notes on how it tasted, anything we would tweak and sometimes we will not if it is.ffodie friends worthy. This recipe had some note to turn the cookies into something similar to Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars. But not today… the process continued.

My helper is always close by.

The next step is adding the baking powder, salt and baking soda. These are stored in our lazy Susan in the corner of the kitchen. Generally my favorite stop to mix things up. It is also Mr. Magoo’s favorite stop to sit and watch. He is always looking to see what will fall down in his area.

A baking essential

Any good cook will have a great mixer. Ours is our kitchen aid. Hubby got it as a work Anniversary gift years ago. You know, one of those catalogs you get and have to pick out a gift. At the time he didn’t need the company watch or general jewelry gifts. The mixer seemed to be the best gift as we were really picking up our baking and kitchen aids are so expensive.

This one worked out great with this recipe for mixing up the softened butter and then adding the sugar and the 2 eggs.

Next up was blending in the flour mixture and adding the white chips and cranberries. Everything came together so quickly.

Time for the flour
Ready to go

Another great kitchen baking help is a cookie scoop. Ours is a Pampered Chef small scoop that I got years ago when I hosted a party. Pampered Chef has some great products especially for baking. My favorites are the chopper for nuts, the cookie press for Christmas cookies and the scraper for clearing the baking surface. A little flour fell out on the counter and with the scraper it was quickly back in the bowl.

Ready for the oven

Every thing came together quickly and using the parchment paper was great for clean up. But one thing did happen….my assistant fell asleep on the job.

So, here is the final outcome from my hankering for some cookies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels

1 (6-ounce) package sweetened dried cranberries

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; set aside.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in white chocolate morsels and cranberries.

Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake

Chocolate, moist and absolutely delicious!  This is what you will get if you make this cake.  We were having our friends in one night for some wine and dessert.  I looked through the folder of recipes that I wanted to try and found this one.  It has been hanging around for quite some time and i thought what goes better with wine than chocolate.  And in this definitely fit the bill.

The coffee added brings out the flavor of the chocolate and the whiskey adds great flavor.  The recipe said it would taste even better the next day, and it sure did.


1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus 3 tablespoons for dusting pan

1 1/2 cups brewed coffee

1/2 cup American whiskey

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Garnish: confectioners sugar for dusting


  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch bundt pan well, then dust with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
  2. Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and remaining cup cocoa powder in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, whisking, until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes.
  3. While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.

Kreb’s Brownies

Growing up my mom would make a simple brownie recipe that she said came from this old restaurant in Skaneateles, NY called Kreb’s. At the time the restaurant was open seasonally and specialized in a set seven course family style dinner. They were only open Mother’s day into the fall. I remember her saying that they would pass out brownies on Halloween.

My parents lived in Skaneateles before I was born, then moved to my small town place of birth DeRuyter to open their first diner. Mom had the recipe and that was our family brownie recipe ever since. Skaneateles has always been a part of my growing up even after my parents left, with my grandmother living there and then my brother. Mom and Dad slowly moved back to the area via a second diner and then moving into the place mom lives today about 5 miles from Skaneateles. Eric and I were married in Skaneateles too. We had been there a long time ago and ate upstairs in the bar area where they would have those ranch flavored oyster crackers. I never got a chance to try the seven course meal.

The restaurant closed for some time and then was reopened within the past five years. We did get a chance to go to dinner there after it reopened. It was a wonderful dinner, but no brownie for dessert for us.

So when I needed a quick dessert for Valentine’s day I pulled out my mom’s recipe and when they came out of the oven I added some chocolate and caramel candies on top to make it a little more special.

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup butter melted

2 squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts

Dash salt

Melt butter and chocolate, stir in sugar. Add vanilla and eggs plus dash of salt. Add flour and nuts, stir to blend. Place in greased 8 x 8 pan and bake in 375 oven for 20 minutes.

Dessert, Dinner

Chocolate Cake for two

Being “empty-nesters” with our son at school now makes meal planning a little less stressful as we don’t have to make sure dinner is something he would like.  It also makes us think twice about a dessert because there is only the two of us at home.  And like every other person at the beginning of the year, we are trying to cut back.  Christmas desserts have been finally removed and we aren’t really interested in making anything that is going to last for two long. Finding this recipe was perfect.  A quick dessert that is meant for two.  So, no leftovers that linger and tempt us. Note – coffee is a great liquid for this recipe.  You can substitute milk.


1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 (heaping) tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon warm coffee

For the frosting: 1/4 cup powdered sugar + more as needed for frosting consistency 1 (heaping) tablespoon cocoa powder coffee, as needed sprinkles, optional


First, spray 2 6-ounce ramekins very well with cooking spray, and set them on a mini baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and pinch of salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, and coffee. Add the dry ingredients in two batches to the wet ingredients, and stir gently to combine. Divide the mixture between the two ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. While the cakes cool, make the frosting: whisk together all ingredients, adding more coffee to thin it out to a pourable consistency. Sprinkles!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

This recipe has been haunting my dreams for quite some time. I love chocolate, and even love it more when there is peanut butter involved. When I see a recipe like this on a menu, generally they tell you you will have to wait for it to be prepared. It is a special order dessert. Reading this recipe I saw how easy this was and having all of the ingredients on hand I made it for the special men in my life – my husband and son. It was my turn to plan dinner and why not add a dessert to the menu. The extra one did not go to waste. The growing 16 year old had seconds! This is so good and would make a great Valentine’s Day dessert if you are planning ahead.

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
8 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
Cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius). Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with butter and dust insides with cocoa powder. Gently tap the ramekins to remove any excess cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a medium bowl. Microwave on high in 10 second increments, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until just combined. Add the flour and egg mixtures to the bowl with the melted chocolate, and mix until no lumps remain. The batter will be slightly thick.

Pour roughly half the batter evenly into the four prepared ramekins. Place 2 teaspoons of peanut butter into the center of each ramekin. Top evenly with the remaining batter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until the edges appear to be solid and firm. The top should look slightly soft.
Allow to cool slightly, then cover with an inverted plate and turn over. Remove ramekins with a towel or oven mitt. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

Chocolate Cassis Cake – Decedent yet basic!

Hubby and I saw this cake being made this morning on the Food Network and thought that it would be good to make for dessert tonight.  We thought that we had to go to the liqour store for the Creme de Cassis but when I looked on Google for what it was we realized we already had a bottle from Ina’s Blueberry Pie recipe we made last summer.

When I was prepping the recipe my husband exclaimed that when he goes to find a recipe he likes on line, he get’s sick of all the long stories that accompany the  blog post and the advertisments. He said “cut to the chase and just post the recipe, no one want to read all that stuff”.  So in honor of his request – Here is the recipe!

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cassis Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

Baking spray with flour, such as Baker’s Joy
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the glaze:

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To serve:

2 (1/2 pint) boxes fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup creme de cassis liqueur


For the cake, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder, cassis, and vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.

Fifteen minutes before serving, toss the berries gently with the sugar and cassis. Cut the cake in wedges and serve with the berries on the side.

Recipe From  Ina Garten’s cooking with Friends


Chocolate Raspberry Almond Bars

For a few weeks we were in a raspberry mode.  I believe we made three different kind of bars all having some form of raspberry.  This recipe was by far the richest tasting and it also made a ton because of the 9 by 13 inch pan.  I am thinking that maybe if we made it in a 8 x 8 the bars would be thicker and be more of a full dessert rather than just a cookie bar to grab.  I say that now because I don’t think the three of us at home had the opportunity to finish the whole pan but we did put a good dent in it.  The chocolate and the almonds put it over the top with the sweetness of the coconut as a surprise addition! 

 Chocolate Raspberry Almond Bars


For the Crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 box yellow cake mix

For the Toppings:

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 cups sliced almonds, divided
3 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a bowl stir together melted butter and cake mix. Press into greased 9×13″ pan.

On top of this crust, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups almonds.  Pour condensed milk evenly on top. Sprinkle with coconut.  Carefully spoon jam over the top as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and almonds.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges lightly brown. Let cool before cutting into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.


Chocolate Brownie Tart

Some say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Probably a good idea when you are newly dating and want to impress your date, but when you have been with someone for 30 plus years, you know you have captured his heart a long time ago.  This past Valentines Day I wanted to  prepare a complete dinner for the two most important men in my life – my husband and our son.  We are not ones for showering each other with flowers or extravagant gifts for Valentines Day.  A simple exchange of cards will do and a great dinner prepared at home.  
I prepared a great au gratin potato dish (to be posted later) and Ina Garten’s steakhouse steaks.  To finish off the evening I made her Brownie Tart.   With only a half a cup of flour you know the dish will be rich and delicious. And this is not just a Valentines Day dessert…  Any special dinner will do.  Possibly Easter?

Chocolate Brownie Tart

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.

Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream and drizzle on the tart.

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Easy Chocolate Cake

Last Sunday morning we were having coffee and plotting out our day.  We knew that it was going to be a day spent at home around the house, doing laundry, taking care of our new landscaping, and just catching up on household chores and such.  One of the first questions my husband asked was “What do you want to do for dinner?”.  Our day at home doing nothing big will generally revolve around what we can whip up in the kitchen, gathering a grocery list and making that daily stop to Wegmans. (Well, it seems like it is daily!) My usual response to that questions is “What are you thinking?”.  He loves to cook and try out new recipes but this time I got back “you know, I really want that Chocolate Cake that you made from Penzey’s Spice Catalog.”  “That would taste good to me because the cake is rich and the frosting is so sweet.”
So he goes looking for the Penzey’s catalog in the cupboard , but I remembered it was already cut out and placed in our big blue binder of recipes.  I found it with the notation – Father’s Day 2009.  What a memory he has.  I would take care of dessert that day and we both would fill in the rest of dinner together.
This cake is so moist and rich.  It really reminds me of a cake my mom would make for my dad called a “3 hole cake”.  There was something about that cake that you mixed in the pan and in the dry ingredients you would create 3 holes and then pour the liquid ingredients in the holes.  It was made in a 13 X 9 pan just like this cake.  She made that for his birthdays and family dinners, I think anytime she needed a dessert.  Then she let me borrow her pan one time and I left it at a friends camp.  Never heard the end to that one.  I have tried to find her recipe but have not succeeded, but I believe this is pretty close.  

Chocolate Cake


2 Cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 Cup) butter
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups boiling water
2 eggs



Preheat the oven to 350°. Sift together the flour, COCOA, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the VANILLA, butter and sugar. Add the boiling water, blend, then add the eggs and mix until well blended. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into an ungreased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350°. Either sprinkle with cake decorating sprinkles for a lower sugar version before baking, or when cool frost with Buttercream Frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted
1/3–1/2 Cup soft butter
1/8 tsp. salt (eliminate if using salted butter)
3–5 TB. milk
Beat together the sifted powdered sugar, butter, salt and VANILLA. Add enough milk to get the frosting to a good spreading consistency. For chocolate frosting, add 1/2 Cup COCOA POWDER.