Some Recipes I've Been Meaning to Share

comments: 80

For many, many years I have loved my favorite chocolate cake recipe. But my sister Susie's is even better. This cake is awesome. It's dense, moist, perfectly chocolatey, and, I don't know, but there's just something really sophisticated and steady about this cake. It tasted as good as it did on the third day as it did on the first day. I agree with Susie. This is the

Best Chocolate Cake in the Whole Wide World

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (we used Cacao Barry Extra Brute, which she says is the best)
1 1/4 cup hot water
3 cups brown sugar
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
9 oz. butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (warmish) water

Preheat oven to 350 F, unless you have a convection oven. I have a convection oven and we baked this at 315 F and it came out perfectly. Grease and flour (or use cocoa powder instead of flour if you aren't going to frost the sides) two 9" round baking pans, and maybe throw a few cupcake papers in some cupcake tins in case there is more batter than you need. (Note: I use this 6" x 3" cake pan for my little cakes. The baking time is almost twice as long. I slice the cake into thirds when cool.)

Mix the hot water with the cocoa powder and let it sit for a few minutes until the cocoa is dissolved. Combine the brown sugar, cake flour, baking soda, and salt — paddle (we used a Kitchen Aid mixer, but you could use a hand mixer on low) until it is all combined and looks consistent. Add the cocoa water to the dry ingredients and beat on low until combined. (Side note: She was not happy with how fast my lowest Kitchen Aid speed was — we had to put a big dish towel over the mixer to keep the batter from flying out of the bowl everywhere, so be careful.) Cut up the butter into smaller pieces and add to the batter. Paddle for about 3 minutes on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Beat eggs lightly and mix them with the warmish water and the vanilla. Add these wet ingredients to the batter in thirds until just combined. Scrape down the bowl a lot. Pour batter in the cake pans until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 22 minutes and then check them; a toothpick poked into the center should come out clean. The cake might take 15 more minutes, but you don't want to overbake it. Let the cakes cool in their pans, then remove and frost with Cloudburst Frosting. (Please also read my notes there about this frosting; you have to beeeeeeeeeat it a lot lot.) Decorate to your heart's content! I used crazy-good fresh blackberries and mint leaves.



I also made up this soup. I almost never make up any recipes but I have to confess I was super happy with this one, and everyone else seemed to like it, too (including my brother-in-law, who ate it out of a glass dish that Andy and Susie brought to him at the bar where they were meeting after he got off work to play pinball [in his suit, unless they brought him a t-shirt, too, I don't know]. I just thought the image of him eating this in a bar was so hilarious).

Curried Potato-Shrimp Chowder

2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons good yellow curry (I use Dean and Deluca's)
Salt and pepper
1 quart chicken broth
2 ears fresh corn (you could use frozen; I'm not sure how much that would be, maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups?)
1/2 pound fresh shrimp, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
A handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 or 2 little ripe tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded, then chopped up, just 'cause I had them
*1 can coconut milk

In a large stock pot, fry the bacon until it is crispy then remove it from the pot and let it drain on some paper towels. Pour out the bacon grease and then add the olive oil to the pot. When it's hot, add the onions, carrot, celery, and potatoes and sautee until the vegetables are starting to brown. Add the garlic and the curry powder and the salt and sautee for a few more minutes until it's really fragrant. Add the chicken broth and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender (I like them quite tender, almost mushy). Add the corn, fresh shrimp, peas, and bacon (thanks for catching this JenW!) and simmer until the shrimp are cooked and the corn and peas are heated through. Add the basil and some chunks of fresh tomato and chow down (at the bar).

Hopefully I got these recipes right [bites nails nervously]! I get very nervous posting recipes!!!

*DRAT: I was just at the store getting ingredients to make this again and realize that I forgot to mention: We also added the thick part of one can of coconut milk, too! You could leave it out but it's really good with it in. I am really sorry I forgot about this!


Is it just me, or is it getting COLD in the NW these days? For those of us who get that little anticipatory stirring and fluttering, I must confess ... I started drinking pumpkin ale at dinner this week =)

it's probably too soon. There are no orange leaves in my sightline =)

Alicia, thank you for the recipes. My family and I are in Florida preparing to hunker down for Hurricane Isaac and I decided to make us this "hurricane cake." Mine is not nearly as beautiful as yours (no fresh berries in my house during the storm, unfortunately) but it is really delicious, especially with the incredible homemade frosting.

Readers be warned: this cake is addicting and RICH! My hubby and I indulged in a slice around 4pm and neither of us were hungry for dinner all night! Totally worth it, though!

I have a shellfish allergy -- as the inventor of the recipe, what would you suggest I substitute for the shrimp?:-) And when are you going to write a little cookbook?

You're right this is the best chocolate cake i've ever made/tasted. so easy to make and tastes divine. Thanks for posting all your recipes, i will be keeping this one to make again for sure.:-)

Both recipes seem wonderful! Can't wait to try them!

Mmm, I'm making the chowder right now and my kitchen smells so good! Maybe I'm blind but I didn't see where you said to add the milk, so I will at the end. Thanks so much, Alicia! I also just ordered a embroidery kit- so excited!

Oh, Alicia, I just made this cake today for my birthday and WOW, it was the best cake I have ever had - your Cloudburst frosting was perfect and the cake was so wonderful, moist, perfect - and I didn't even have the fancy chocolate on hand. I can only imagine how good it would be with it... Thank you!

Jan Pirkle says: August 27, 2012 at 08:53 AM

The potato curry and shrimp soup looks divine. Plana to make it this week. My mother used to make a great chocolate cake with blackberries and lost the reipe but will try to incorporate with your recipe adding berries.

Your soup is delicious. I made some pretty hefty substitutions (I made it vegan) by using okra instead of shrimp and omitting the bacon, but kept the same flavor palette. Yum. Thanks for sharing.

thank you for sharing!! both recipes sound amazing! i used to attempt to frost the top and sides of all my cakes and it always looked horrible... but i noticed your method of just kinda dolloping the frosting on and... oh my goodness.... that method is amazing!! just love your beautiful topping! the flower in there is yarrow? right??

Alicia, we made your soup tonight and my husband and I both LOVED it! We thought it tasted like summer in a bowl- fresh corn, peas, tomatoes, and basil paired with light coconut milk and shrimp. De-lish! Thank you for sharing!

Also, I'd like to echo the comments of Christine, above me. Your blog has the best vibe. It's one of my favorite things to take a minute and read through your words, focus on your lovely images. Like taking a big deep breath out in the busy-ness of blogs. Beautiful.

Oh my gosh! Look at that cake! It's glorious!!! It's almost too pretty to cut in to. Really hope to make such beautiful creations one day!!

Vannessienoo says: August 29, 2012 at 07:45 AM

Cloudburst frosting! It sounded and looked so lovely! And I SOOOOO wanted it and I mixed it all up and beat it and beat it and beat it until it was beaten within an inch of its life and it just didn't get fluffy so I just poured it onto the cake (note - poured!!) and now its just sitting looking at me and looking so despondent and forlorn!! OH THE SHAME!!!! Hahaha!!!!

so does your one 6x3 pan take up most of the batter (with some left for a few cupcakes as suggested?) I wonder how well a deep pan like this will bake in a regular oven--have you tested that? I hate burnt cake edges...but love the look of smaller cakes.

thanks for sharing your wonderful spirit through your blog. It's seen me through some tough times since being widowed. Always uplifting, even in difficult times. (hugs)

Megan McClain Kwacz says: August 29, 2012 at 06:31 PM

I made both recipes!!! AND THEY WERE AWESOME! My 7 year old daughter saw the cake and it was a MUST DO. She did it mostly by herself with some help from me, making sure she was beating it long enough.
But dear God, the curry potato shrimp soup made me so happy to be alive and eating! I invited our flat mates up to our apartment because I did a double batch (this from a girl who cooks basically nothing because it is so yuckky). My 7 and 5 year old loved it as well...which means the Kitchen Gods were with me.
Thank you for the recipes and your beautiful blog. Your pictures are lovely...I'd love to know what you shoot on. Setting P????

Hi Alicia~
I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks, I made your chocolate cake with the Cloudburst Frosting this past weekend for a bridal shower that I was hosting for my best friend and it was a smash, everyone loved it! I've linked to your recipe on my blog post about the shower, gotta give credit where credit's due! Thank you for always being so wonderful, you're the best!

Thankyou so much for such a wonderful soup recipe! It was just what the doctor ordered for some late summer sniffles around our parts. I made it on Sunday with smoked salmon instead of bacon and it was EXQUISITE! THANKYOU!

The curried chowder looks delish!!!!!!

Just made the soup! Holy moly, Alicia! You should enter it into a contest or something. My husband and I keep sneaking back in for refills. Heavenly! I used cilantro instead of basil, because it was what I had. thank you for sharing. I also would eat this in a bar. I would damn well eat it anywhere! Have a great holiday.

YOUR soup recipe is WONDERFUL it was perfect!!!!!! thank you. our family loved it. My 4 yr old son did shout out both nights we ate it.. more shrimp and more bacon! so next time we make it we'll try this. i LOVE your blog so much!!! your photos are so beautiful! thanks for brightening my day with all your creations and words. best!! a pdx fan

I've listed your chocolate cake recipe on my 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime.

My husband thanks you and your sister very much for this cake recipe. He said it is his favorite chocolate cake. First time I made it with a german coconut & pecan icing. Second time a espresso buttercreme. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes! they are wonderful :-)

I am salivating just by looking at this beautiful cake. Yum.

I made your chowder yesterday and boy was it yummy! I had to use the curry I had on hand, but I imagine it would have been even more spectacular with the top notch curry. The coconut milk was the icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing :)

Alicia, I made a little cake like this for my mom's birthday this week and put a little mound of rasperries and a few mint leaves on top. What a sweet Alicia cake it was! You inspire me so! Thank you. (That Hershey's cake is such a keeper. I sometimes substitute part of the oil with prune baby food. No one knows but me and I feel less guilt when I can't stop eating it.)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at