That Old Black Magic…Cake

I love chocolate cake. If there were no repercussions I would eat chocolate cake every day. I love it with chocolate frosting, vanilla buttercream, Ciddy Ellifson* frosting, Seven Minute Icing and yesterday for my birthday, mint chocolate chip frosting. Why had I never thought about mint frosting for this wonderful cake? Can I have a piece for breakfast? Apparently ladies my age cannot have chocolate cake for breakfast (and still fit into their jeans). When I am an old woman and wearing a muumuu, I will have chocolate cake for breakfast. I better have a smoothie before I cave!

Anyway, this is an old recipe that exists in various forms in our grandmother’s and mother’s cookbooks. The batter is thin, but it raises up perfectly into a dark, rich, moist cake. Seriously, cake! Stop staring at me! Chocolate cakes from scratch turn out so good. I don’t know why white and yellow cakes are so tricky.

Black Magic Cake

1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee, cold
1 cup sour non-dairy milk
1/2 cup oil, olive or coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, baking powder and salt together. Add eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9×13 or two 8 or 9 inch round pans. Bake at 350* 35-40 minutes for the 9×13 or 8″, 30-35 for 9 inch pans. Check center with toothpick or cake tester. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then turn out to cool completely on wire racks.

Next post will be some of my favorite frostings!

*This frosting recipe comes from my mama, who used people’s names for recipe titles. This frosting is used for red velvet cake and is sometimes called Velvet Icing. It’s my favorite for chocolate cake. For years I requested Black Magic Cake with Ciddy Ellifson Frosting


Romantic French Toast?




Sometimes I’m tired of eating healthy. Shocker, I know. I’m really trying to view food as fuel for my body. But food is so much more. When I think about romantic food, I do not envision a smoothie. I love smoothies, but I think one of the most romantic things is brunch. I’m a girl, what do you want? I get nostalgic about brunch. I have had some wonderful brunches in my life, not many, but a few great ones.

Jacksonville Inn in Jacksonville, OR. Croissant French Toast. I was in high school and it was a revelation. My two favorite breakfast foods in one!

Mama’s on Washington Square in San Francisco. Orange Cranberry French Toast. I was in college and again it was a revelation. I started making French toast with all kinds of quick breads. I love banana bread French toast. Now, these brunches were memorable, but not romantic. They were brunch with friends. I remember talking and laughing and having amazing food.

Five Sister’s Jazz brunch in Pensacola Florida. Fried Pork Chops, they were not a revelation. They were really good, but they didn’t change the way I saw pork chops. I was married, had a small child and a baby. I was so thrilled to sit down, listen to live music and have someone bring me delicious food. Again, it was the setting and the company and the food that made for a memorable brunch.

With food allergies dining out can be more of a hassle than a pleasure. I can’t eat French toast at restaurants anymore. I adapted this overnight French toast recipe so that I could have a memorable and romantic brunch at home. The work is done the night before so you can enjoy your coffee or mimosa or both while breakfast is in the oven.

Overnight French Toast
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Baked French Toast

1 loaf  French Bread
8 whole Eggs
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups coconut or almond milk
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract


1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 pinch Nutmeg – Optional
1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with coconut oil.

Cube the bread and fill the pan with it.

Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla together and bowl and pour over the bread. Cover the pan and place it in the fridge overnight.

Stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together and then cut in the butter/oil. Pour it into a bag and put in the fridge for morning.

In the morning preheat the oven 350*. Pour the crumb topping over the top of the bread and pop the whole thing in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Make some coffee and a mimosa and snuggle while this bakes. Serve with warm maple syrup or berry syrup or anything your little heart desires, like another mimosa.


Turkey Enchiladas…um, I can’t wait

I remember sitting alone at the kitchen table, I was seven or eight years old. It was dark outside, I was watching the reflection of the TV in the sliding glass door. The dishes were done, kitchen cleaned, light turned out. In front of me was the only plate not in the dishwasher. On this plate the remains of enchiladas, cold and congealed stared up at me. I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished. I hated enchiladas! They were too spicy, my mom used too many onions, I just didn’t like them. Oh, how times change! Of course I chop my onions finer and I try to make them a little milder for the kids, but I still use the same recipe my mom always did. This is my favorite enchilada sauce recipe. It was originally from a hippy cookbook my aunt had. My mom got the recipe in the early eighties and made it her own. By the time I was old enough to help in the kitchen I loved these enchiladas. We use the red sauce for turkey and the green sauce for fish. Oh great, now I also have a craving for halibut enchiladas. Break out the Vitamix, it’s sauce time!

My Gumbo

No, I am not from Louisiana, but my husband is. I had heard of Gumbo before I was married, New Orleans food sounded yummy, but I had no idea what it actually tasted like. When we were first married I tried making gumbo from a box. I didn’t think it was that bad, but apparently it wasn’t gumbo. First I had to actually taste some gumbo. There was a restaurant in Anchorage called Little New Orleans, where my husband and I loved to go. I thought it was wonderful, he thought it wasn’t too bad. Then we went to the Double Musky Inn in Girdwood. And the food there, we agreed, was fabulous. But I really didn’t try making my own gumbo until we moved to Florida, or Lower Alabama, as the area we lived is known. I actually got to go to New Orleans! I don’t really remember my first foray, but I know I started with a recipe from the Double Musky cookbook. Yes, the recipe I used came from Alaska. I have tasted quite a few gumbos and my recipe has evolved over the years. And now I have finally written it down!

New Years Nibbles

Any reason to have finger food!  I have had a super-bowl party by myself, just to make finger-food.  Going to parties is particularly difficult for those of us with allergies.  Never go to a party hungry because there may not be anything you can eat.  So, I like to have a reason to make a party food spread at home.  Ah, the feeling of knowing that I can eat anything on the table I want!

Party Menu

  1. Chicken fingers
  2. Ranch dip
  3. hummus
  4. pitas
  5. cucumbers and carrots
  6. assorted  olives
  7. queso dip
  8. tortilla chips

I totally cheated with the chicken fingers and bought them from our neighborhood grocery store.  The Ranch Dip I have posted before, but the hummus and cheese sauce recipes I need to write down.  I make both of these things all the time.  They are easy and kid-friendly.


Dairy-Free Potato Casserole

My husband bought a turkey fryer.  We have had three turkeys since Thanksgiving.  We have another turkey in our fridge ready to fry.  I didn’t want more turkey for Christmas so we had ham.  I have made mashed potatoes to go with ham, but unless my aunt is around to make ham gravy I’d rather have hash-brown casserole.  I remember this casserole from my dairy days.  So creamy and cheesy and greasy and yummy.  Turns out it is pretty easy to make dairy-free and it is still really yummy!  Even my husband loved it.



I did not measure ingredients while I was making my white sauce, I never do.  I put some margarine or other fat in a sauce pan, stir in flour until I have a thick roux, then I add milk or broth until I have the thickness I want.  Season to taste.   Here is a recipe that has real measurements and maybe it is even kitchen tested.  Only thing is it isn’t dairy-free, so substitutions are needed.  I don’t know if cow milk makes sauces thicker because this recipe seems to have not enough flour and too much liquid.  Guess I’ll try it and see if it works.

The Rocky, Rocky Road

Candy without dairy doesn’t always work like you want. I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to make toffee for years. I actually got pretty close this year when I was trying to make caramel. It turned out more like those See’s lollipops. Well, this is a recipe I was a little nervous about. I didn’t think the candy was setting up, but I left some out of the fridge overnight and it didn’t melt. Success!

Mama’s Rocky Road

2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons dairy-free butter or coconut oil
3 cups mini-marshmallows
1 1/4 cups dairy-free sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped nuts (I used pecans and actually like it!)

In a double boiler, or stainless steel bowl over a pan of water, melt chocolate, butter/oil and milk together. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine nuts and marshmallows, fold chocolate in chocolate mixture. Line a 9×13 pan with waxed or parchment paper. Press candy into pan (mine didn’t fill a 9×13) and chill for 2 hours. Cut with sharp knife and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

That is it! It was a bit messy, but I really didn’t mind licking all the chocolate off of bowls and utensils. In fact I think I might have another piece right now.

rocky road

Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

I haven’t decided if I am going to make Rocky Road or my Aunt Velma’s Candy Balls with the sweetened condensed milk I just made or I might have to make more milk and make both.

Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup soy milk powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Blend in blender for 30 seconds or until smooth.


Quick and easy and smells so much better than the canned kind.  I usually don’t like to use soy, but I have had a difficult time finding unflavored powdered rice milk or other kinds of dried dairy-free milk.  It’s not like I’m making anything healthy with sweetened condensed milk anyway!

Dairy-Free Eggnogg

I love eggnog, I really do.  So Delicious makes a pretty good eggnog, however it has no eggs.  And it can be a bit difficult to find.  So, blah, blah, blah, here is my recipe.


Dairy-Free Eggnog

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (Native Forrest)
  • 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup sugar (depending on the sugar content of your milk)
  • dash vanilla
  • dash eggnog flavor (just bought it, optional)

Blend everything up in the blender until foamy.  Pour into a small glass and grate nutmeg over the top.

If you are afraid of raw eggs you can take a lot more time and cook it.  I think the best way would be to separate the eggs, mix the yolks well.  Heat the milk and cream on the stove, add the sugar, when it starts to bubble around the edge, temper the yolks by adding a little of the hot milk to the yolks and then add the yolks to the pan.  Stir and cook until temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Alton Brown says to whip the egg whites and add them when the nog is cold, but then aren’t you just adding raw eggs to what you just cooked?

I have made cooked eggnog, but it seems like too much work.  If I’m worried about raw eggs I’ll just add a shot of rum, that kills everything, right? (Totally kidding, I have no idea if it kills anything.)

Christmas Goodies!

In my fridge I have 4 or maybe now 3 dozen Red Velvet Cakeballs. There isn’t a fancy recipe or anything. I made a cake from a box (READ the ingredients!) cubed it into a big bowl and added a can of Pilsbury Cream Cheese Frosting. It does not have any dairy ingredients (at this time) I don’t really want to think about WHAT is in there! Anyway, I mixed that together stuck it in the fridge overnight. Used a small cookie scoop to make balls and then left them on cookie sheets in my pantry refrigerator for a few days, not on purpose, but because I didn’t get back to them. Then I dipped them in dairy-free, Kosher white chocolate (King David brand) and dairy-free chocolate chips. I also added paraffin to the chocolate, don’t judge, that is the way I learned to dip chocolates from my Aunt Velma. It makes the chocolate thin and easy to dip, gives a nice shine and prevents you from eating too many. (Paraffin will clean you out. I have heard.) So anyway, on to the real reason I turned the on computer.  Just made my first pan of fudge this year.  Hopefully more candy recipes will follow.

Five Minute Dairy-Free Fudge

2/3 Cup Coconut Milk Creamer (So Delicious)
1 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Stir together in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

1 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 1/2 Cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
(1/2 cup chopped nuts, I don’t care for nuts, but if you really want them, whatever)

Stir until the marshmallows melt. Pour into a 9×9 pan and chill. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can substitute any dairy-free creamer for the coconut milk creamer, even flavored, just cut back on the sugar. This fudge is super easy and if you do mess it up you can always add a cube (or blob) to warm coconut milk and have hot chocolate!