Chocolate Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoA chocolate cake to die for is the only thing you can say about these deep, dark, delicious layers waiting for myriad fillings and finishes. These chocolate cake layers start moist and stay moist for days making them ideal whether you are producing one cake or 20 cakes.

I can’t remember how long ago I found the original recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine.  Rose Levy Beranbaum was commissioned to make a celebration cake for the magazine and it was all chocolate (what else do you celebrate with?).   It was around the time I was first starting my bakery, Truffes.  When I first started I thought that every cake had to be made with butter  because I was upscale.  Big mistake!  What I actually found was that cakes made with butter have a shorter life span and stale quicker than cakes made with oil.  Since I was selling to restaurants and hotels which need a longer shelf life than caterers (to whom I also sold) a longer shelf life was necessary.  As much as you want to believe all of your hard work and deliciousness is selling out immediately, it generally isn’t – unless it’s a catered event.  So of ultimate importance is shelf life. Continue reading

Oatmeal Cookies

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal cookies have always been my favorite.  It’s something about the spices and texture of this oatmeal cookie.  It’s particularly  difficult to describe.  It’s crispy on the outside with a center that is loaded with the add ins of your choice.  It almost has a lacey quality to it.  I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me how much they loved this oatmeal cookie.  It is not your usual oatmeal cookie which probably explains the response.  This is a chocolate chip version that is not shy on spices.

I have not included how to pics with this as it is a really basic cookie and I don’t think anyone will have a problem with it.

One thing you will notice is the enormous amount of add ins.  You can use chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts – whatever you want to make these yours.  I think the large amount of add ins gives this oatmeal cookie its lacy quality since there is just enough dough to hold the add ins together. Continue reading

Chocolate Cherry Bread

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate Cherry BreadChocolate Cherry Bread combines two foods I love – chocolate and bread. So combining them seemed a natural. I can’t remember when I first tasted Chocolate Cherry Bread but it is among my favorite breads.  Besides how can cocoa, melted chocolate and chocolate chunks all in one bread be anything by super.

Cocoa is a natural and here I have combined it with melted chocolate and chocolate chunks for the greatet depth of chocolate flavor.

This Chocolate Cherry Bread freezes well and is great as a hostess gift. This bread, because of the chocolate in it, can be a slow riser and I often use my proofer to help it along. Try this once and I can assure you fear of bread baking will be in the past – at least I hope so. Continue reading

Lemonade Cake with Blueberry Sauce

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Lemonade CakeI was once asked where creativity comes from. It can be found anywhere and everywhere. A pot of basil can inspire pesto but then what to do with it. Why turn it into a Goat Cheese Pesto Tart of course. A great dessert you taste can make you think of what you would do with it – how you would tweak it. Or, in this case when I was asked for the recipes six months out for a class, I just made up Lemonade Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce. Doesn’t that sound inviting? The only problem there was no recipe.

I always mean to start early when I have designed something on paper but not tested it in the kitchen. I usually don’t. As the days counted down to the class, I tried every lemon mousse I could think of and made some up myself. In the end, I reverted to my go to recipe for the most lemony of all fillings – lemon curd. It was a simple matter of folding in beaten egg whites and whipped cream to give the Lemonade Cake a smooth, luxurious feel in your mouth. There is just enough gelatin in the curd to have the mousse set up perfectly. Continue reading

Goat Cheese Pesto Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished PhotAt the retail shop, the clientele loved this Goat Cheese Pesto Tart.  It is the perfect example of a savory tart and we did many of them.  This Goat Cheese Pesto Tart came from my love of peppers and basil – in this case,  pesto. While I appreciate goat cheese, I find it very astringent and usually cut it with cream cheese to mellow it out as I have done here.  I used this filling for small crostadas which we used as appetizers. We crossed slivers of red and yellow pepper on the top and they made a dazzling display on a tray when passed.  They can be made, as can the tart, ahead and frozen.

For the crostadas, I would freeze them without the peppers on top, adding them after they had been reheated.  I particularly like to use this filling for the crostadas as it didn’t lose it shape when heated.  We would pipe it on with a large star tip. Continue reading