Chocolate Espresso Cake

This summer my husband and I left the homestead for a weekend to go on vacation for our anniversary. We spent the day in New Glarus, Wisconsin and stayed at the beautiful Madison Concourse Hotel in the Governor’s Suite, with full access to the Governor’s Club and some of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried!

This cake is so moist and exquisite, you will have to be scraped up off the floor after falling from your chair in a contented heap from tasting just one piece of this rich chocolate experience. Mmmmm….maybe that’s just me?img_5759

The espresso adds a depth to the chocolate that finishes the flavor of the cake and enhances the sweetness of the frosting perfectly.

This not too sweet, yet total chocolate over load has no coffee taste to it, yet without the espresso it would lack the WOW factor this cake certainly leaves you with.

That is why I choose to call it Chocolate Espresso Cake still, even though it has no coffee taste unless you decide to frost it with the espresso chocolate frosting! Which you totally should if you have no kids in the house and can do things like that……One day when my kids are old I will make this with the espresso frosting and not feel bad for them at all!img_5749For now I will just enjoy an espresso on the side with my cake for that coffee flavor!

My big annoyance with chocolate cake recipes or brownie recipes are when they call for large amounts of either butter/oil or baking chocolate squares or chocolate syrup instead of baking cocoa. I want a good old-fashioned basic recipe that uses unsweetened baking cocoa in it and doesn’t use up all the butter in the fridge or way to much oil.

Baking cocoa is faster and more economical and let’s face it, we don’t always have baking chocolate squares on hand….unless its the Christmas baking season. At least this girl doesn’t.

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With the seasons changing so fast here, it will be that Christmas baking time before we know it!

img_5758This summer my husband and I left the homestead for a weekend to go on vacation for our eleventh wedding anniversary.

We spent a day in New Glarus, Wisconsin and stayed at the beautiful Madison Concourse Hotel in the Governor’s Suite, with full access to the Governor’s Club and some of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried! img_3012They served us delicious appetizers that were a meal in themselves and in the evenings they set out an enticing buffet of desserts of all kinds. We enjoyed the night-time view of the Capitol while eating petite fours and mouth-watering desserts.img_2993img_2990img_2988Since that trip to Madison and the New Glarus fudge shops, I have been wanting to find a recipe to make at home that comes close to those chocolate creations we enjoyed so much.

So the search began for a chocolate cake recipe that was one of those memorable, to die for experiences!img_5748

 After finding a good basic straight forward chocolate cake recipe and…

….adding a trick I learned on America’s Test Kitchen, by adding espresso powder to enhance the flavor of the chocolate……

I have for you the best, CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CAKE RECIPE! I am so willing to stake my reputation on this one because it turned out just amazing.img_5760

Now I know you may not have espresso powder on hand but a good finely ground coffee could work just as good or substitute the 1 cup boiling water for 1 cup hot! hot! dark freshly brewed coffee! 

Chocolate Espresso Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs (room-temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º F.

Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans.

 Use a stand mixer, hand mixer or your own elbow grease for this recipe!

For the cake:
Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder into a large bowl.  Combine well.
In a separate bowl whisk together milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Slowly incorporate the liquid mixture, into the flour mixture and a little at a time until combined.

Add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat WELL and at a  high-speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes, test with a toothpick in the center of each, if it comes out clean they are done. Do not over bake.

Remove from oven.

Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.
Frost with your choice of frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is what I used, but a Chocolate Espresso Frosting would totally ROCK this cake!

Notes:
The cake batter seems very thin after adding the boiling water, that is correct and the outcome is the best, most absolutely super moist and delectable chocolate cake ever!img_5761Use your favorite frosting or here is the recipe for what I used this time.

Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup butter
  2. 2/3 cup cocoa
  3. 3-4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  4. 1/3 cup milk
  5. 1 Teaspoon vanilla
    Instructions: Using a stand Mixer
    1. Melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and thick. 
    2. Add the milk and vanilla alternately with the powdered sugar to the bowl until you have the spreading consistency you desire.

Go slow with the powdered sugar, if it gets too thick add a drizzle more milk to thin it up.

Next time you need a chocolate overload or a dessert that will surely impress your guests, make this cake and YOU WILL BE SO GLAD YOU DID!

-J

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

Our Homestead Dairy Cow’s & Cheese Making

The whole process is this beautiful battle to produce something no one else can. The air in the cellar as the cheese ages, the grass the cow eats to make its milk and even the richness of the cream the cow produces is unique to your homestead. One of a kind flavor in each wheel of cheese you make that is the flavor of your farm.

Having a dairy cow on your homestead brings to the farm a wonderful old-world aspect that has been such a charming and warm experience for us as a family. I am so glad  my husband introduced this way of life to us. It is really how a small farm should be run.

Nothing completes the circle of life on a  homestead and running one successfully, as have a dairy cow does.

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It has been 7 plus years now, that we have always had a dairy cow on this homestead of ours.

 This is not milk that we sell to a creamery but milk for us to drink and use. Our own “house cow” for our own milk and for cheese making. 

Having our own dairy cow, has become such a part of our everyday life, that we don’t think anything of it anymore. Although it still causes eyebrows to raise when people find out that we have a cow to milk!image

How it all got started~

I still remember sitting in my husbands, Grandmother’s living room listening to him trying to sell me on all the good points of having our own dairy cow. His Grandma sat their smiling, watching him and she would interject comments like, “He has always loved cows.” or “People should have cows and make their own food, that’s how it was when I was young.”

I kept wondering, what will people think of us? They will think we are weird! That’s what!

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He talked on and on about how we could have our own milk and cheese. And how much I would love our cow and grow so attached to her and the kids too.

When my husband showed me the Craigslist ad for this soon to freshen heifer and asked if we should go pick her up, I gave in to his sparkling puppy dog eyes and that slanted grin that gets me every time! “Sure!” I said. ” Why not? Lets get a house cow!” And we named her Patricia, Patty for short and to those who knew her well, Patty Cake.

And so it started!

Patricia was a black and white milking shorthorn cross.  She was a rescue animal pretty much, as the (I hazard to call the place we bought her from, a farm) the “farm” we bought her from had been shut down for several reasons, including not taking care of animals and very low quality of milk.

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After a summer here Patty was looking so much better than when we bought her.

Patty was a feisty first cow for this city girl to get used to. My husband grew up on a dairy farm and it is in his blood, he is a true herdsman and wonderful with animals, especially cows. I on the other hand had only been around horses, not cows!

imageI thought the idea of having our own cow to milk was a quaint idea. Why not? We had tried milking two goats the summer before, the result of that venture was us finding out the long way around that we didn’t care much for the taste of goats milk, even fresh goats milk! But they made wonderful weed trimmers and we kept Violet and Marigold for a few years after that and had several other goats join our farm.

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Violet one of our dairy goats.

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The rigid schedule you must keep and the standards you must maintain with having a milk cow, bookends your day with your trips to the barn for morning and evening chores.

 You accomplish more before 6am than you ever did before and this rigid schedule you must maintain, results in a barn full of healthy animals that get cared for properly twice a day, everyday on time and fresh milk to drink and use for butter, yogurt, cheese and more!

 

Touching more on the circle of life on a farm, dairy cows provide food for more than our family, the milk is food for young beef steers and our hogs are raised on milk up until they are butchered as well.

We raise milk-fed hogs to sell and eat and hogs that are raised on milk have the most tender pork to eat and it has such amazing flavor.

 

Having our own dairy cows producing some of that feed for the hogs and beef is a wonderful supplement for them and means we are buying less grain to feed too.

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Beyond producing milk: 

The manure a cow makes goes into the gardens and the result is like nothing you can get from store-bought fertilizers, the proof is the hundreds and hundreds of pounds of vegetables my homestead gardens produce each year. I always tell people, that I garden just the same as them, the only difference is that we have cow manure and use lots of it!image

I have done blog posts on amending your soil in your gardens, I have told people until I am blue in the face that you have to put more in the ground than you could imagine, yet people are still amazed when our garden plants are giant and are still producing vast amounts of produce way after theirs are done for the season.

I don’t mean to sound like I am bragging about the gardens! One of the reasons I started a blog was to help others  to homestead….So when I write about something that goes well for us, it’s from years of trial and error and from the joy of finding the way that made it work great for us and the passion that comes with all of that!

imageCheese-making:

 I haven’t touched on the subject much on the blog yet because……Well…..I don’t feel like you should teach something you haven’t mastered yourself.

Cheese making is an exact science. There is little room for error.

Not to say that I haven’t made a lot of very good cheese in the years that I have worked on this craft. And I have also had just as many failed attempts at making a batch of cheese. It’s not something for those who want to try it because of a whim. Cheese making can be the most frustrating and most rewarding of skills to learn. 

Several years ago in the early fall, I made this wheel of Colby that I still dream about.

It turned out so delicious and so perfect that now when I start a batch of Colby all I can think about is accomplishing something close to the success of that wonderful wheel of cheese again.  It draws you in. The whole process is this beautiful battle to produce something no one else can. The air in the cellar as the cheese ages, the grass the cow eats to make its milk and even the richness of the cream the cow produces is unique to your homestead. One of a kind flavor in each wheel of cheese you make that is the flavor of your farm.

Making your own cheese connects you to what you eat and cook with, like nothing else can. It’s a beautiful elegant process.

 

 

Here’s to the home dairy cow! What are you waiting for? Time to add to your homestead!

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread & Homestead Update

We have had a mess of things as our area got hit by torrential rain fall that lead to flash flooding all around us. It caused millions of dollars in damages and lives were lost. Farmers lost cattle, fences and buildings and a house on a bluff was destroyed in a mudslide killing the man who was asleep in his home. A state of emergency was declared for our county by the Governor of Wisconsin.

With a subtle hint of sour dough for its flavor and a chewy crumb similar to a baguette, this no-knead bread will be an instant favorite that your family will ask for again and again.image

Mild days and cool nights mark the season of fall that has settled into the coulee region, here in southwestern Wisconsin. The trees are starting to change colors and the corn fields are starting to be harvested which means it really is the end of summer.

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We put the young cattle out in the front pasture to eat down the gardens. Isn’t he a cutie?

But its been a hard transition the last few weeks. We have had a mess of things as our area got hit by torrential rain fall that lead to flash flooding all around us. It caused millions of dollars in damages and lives were lost. Farmers lost cattle, fences and buildings and a house on a bluff was destroyed in a mudslide killing the man who was asleep in his home. A state of emergency was declared for our county by the Governor of Wisconsin.

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Here are a few pictures from the morning after, the bridge stayed in place but the road is totally washed away. My husband, who is a patrolman for our township and who took these pictures, said that the water got over twenty feet deep here.

Our house is, you guessed it….on a hill….so we didn’t have any damage from the storms but the township we live in and work for, got hit very hard. It will be a long time before it gets back to normal around here.

The men and women who have been working to clean up the damage and put our towns and roads back together have been working very long hours and are doing such a great job.img_1351

The last two weeks have gone by so fast since all this happened. I’ve been busy doing a lot of what my hubby usually does when he’s home but hasn’t been able to do with the long hours he’s been keeping cleaning up after the flooding.

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The animals are enjoying the sunshine and some dry days too!

imageOne thing I have been doing a lot of is baking and cooking. Trying to keep him fed as he works these long days. And this recipe is a wonderful one that I fall back on when I need something a little special to warm the house and belly’s of my family.

I first found this recipe when I watched a YouTube video from my favorite channel, Wranglerstar.

Mrs. Wranglerstar did a tutorial with her mother on how to make this delicious crusty bread. I tried it, loved it and have been making it ever since. Now I want to share it with you!

 

After you mix up the ingredients, you let them sit on the counter for 15-20 hours.

I used to stay away from recipes that were long processes…….but you will find that they make your job as “cook” so simple! And the  recipes that take more time, produce far superior taste when compared to quick recipes! 

imageAfter supper one night, mix this simple recipe up. Let it sit covered on your counter until the next afternoon. Finish the process to have fresh hot dutch-oven bread for supper that night! When its hot out of the oven, you can hear the crust sizzling and popping gently as the cool air hits the crust. It is best served right out of the oven…but is wonderful eaten when cooled as well!

If you don’t have a dutch oven, any pan with a lid or tinfoil can work too…but the crusty crust comes from using a searing hot dutch oven!

 

image If you would like  the full rundown and a visual on how to make this bread, watch her YouTube video on this wonderful recipe.

The “Wranglerstar” family and YouTube channel is our absolute favorite homesteading inspiration and once you start watching their videos on everything from logging, gardening, cooking, canning, beekeeping, traveling, wild-land firefighting, EDC’s, prepping, homeschooling, tool restoration, land management and everything homesteading you will be hooked!

This is a great YouTube channel the whole family can watch together and I highly recommend you check it out! You can find them on Instagram and on Facebook as well.

On to this wonderful recipe!image

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 5/8 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp yeast

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until the dough reaches a shaggy consistency. Cover and let sit on the counter for 15-20 hrs.image

After the dough has sat for 15-20 hrs, pour it out onto a floured surface and mix in just enough flour to form a nice round dough ball that is not super sticky to your hands. Place the dough ball, seem side down, into a greased bowl and let rise for two hours.

For the last 30 mins that your dough is rising, place a greased dutch oven into your oven. The dutch oven will get nice and hot as the oven heats up to 450*

Once the dough has risen for 2 hours and the dutch oven sat in the oven to heat up for the last 30 mins of that 2 hours, place the dough ball into the searing hot dutch oven and bake with the lid on for 30 mins and after that another 15-30 mins with the lid off until it reaches a nice golden brown. image

You want this bread darker rather than lighter, so if you are wondering how long to leave it in for that last 15-30 mins, go for the longer time.image

As soon as its done you can remove it from the dutch oven with a metal spatula and start eating it! It’s hard to cut hot bread that has a nice crusty crust….but its so worth the struggle! Hope you enjoy this great bread recipe! image

P.S. It would make a phenomenal side to any soup!    < There’s your supper plan for tomorrow night! 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and have a blessed weekend friends!

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.