Chocolate Chiffon Cake & Pistachio Ice Cream + 5 Quick Desserts for Back to School

I found this chocolate chiffon cake recipe while shuffling through some of my grandmother’s recipes Though I do not remember her making it she had it cut out and taped to a weathered and stained piece of paper. Maybe she hoped to make it one day, maybe there would be an occasion for it, or maybe she intended to make it on an ordinary day that called for chocolate cake. I don’t remember it though I wish I did. While I whisked together the dry ingredients I thought of all the things she may have intended to bake but never did- something unexpected came up for her as those things do. So many different directions are taken in one day, some directions chosen others happenstance. I finished making the cake and popped it into the oven, fingers were crossed it would taste like something she would make on a day when something or someone didn’t pull her away.

I paired this fluffy and moist chocolate cake with a simple chocolate ganache though her recipe called for chocolate icing. I think either will work here. I had just made a batch of her creamy and simple pistachio ice cream a few days prior and decided to add a scoop. The combination of rich chocolate and the nutty pistachio is delicious. I highly recommend it. I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Cake recipe slightly adapted from my grandmother

Chocolate Ganache recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Serves 10-12


½ cup dark cocoa powder

¾ cup boiling water

1 + ¾ cups cake flour (I used Softasilk)

1 + ¾ cups sugar

1 + ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable oil

7 eggs, separated

3 teaspoons vanilla

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache:

 2 four-ounce bars of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup of heavy cream

Directions for cake:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Set aside an ungreased 10×4 inch tube pan.

Stir together cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Using a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and add oil, egg yolks, cocoa mixture, and vanilla. Mix using a wooden spoon until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in eggs white into the batter until just blended.  Pour batter into an ungreased tube pan. 

Place pan on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for about 55-60 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it onto a bottle if the tube pan doesn’t haven’t legs.  Allow to cool completely. Once cool, run a knife along the sides and the tube to remove the cake.  Place the cake on a serving platter and pour the ganache over the cake spreading with a spatula and allowing the ganache to drip over the sides.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.  Enjoy!

Directions for ganache:

Heat cream in a small saucepan until just simmering. Poor cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk together the cream and chocolate until it is smooth.  The ganache will thicken as it cools.  Allow it cool for a few minutes then pour over the cake.

Pistachio Ice Cream

Recipe from my grandmother


2 cups cold heavy cream

2 cups cold light cream

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon almond extract

½ cup of chopped, unsalted pistachios

Directions: Pour all the ingredients except for the pistachios into a chilled bowl. Mix until combined.  Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice maker and follow the instructions based on your ice cream maker. Once the ice cream finishes churning fold in the pistachios.  Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze.  Enjoy!

5 Quick Desserts for Back to School

Craving cookies? Check out this recipe for fudgy chocolate drop cookies and this recipe for 3 variations of snickerdoodles- yes, please!

If you love a good blondie head here.

Quick and easy fudge brownies here.

Any interest in rice krispie treats with chocolate and pretzels? Head here.

No Muss No Fuss Chocolate Sheet Cake + 5 Spring Cake Links

“Hold your breath…good.”


“Doing ok Ann?”

Not really. Four MRIs in a year, same result, still no answers.

“I’m good.”

“Ok, almost done. You’re doing great.”

Ann forced her eyes closed.  Staring at the white ceiling just a foot from her nose was more than she could handle at 6am on a Tuesday morning.  Maybe it was the exhaustion from the 4:30am wake-up time or the restless sleep she just endured but Ann found herself wishing for her mother. Tess would provide comfort once she endured her own anxiety.  Medical issues were avoided by Tess. And Tess tended to assume the worst. “It’s probably cancer Ann.”  “Why bother with the testing?” “ You don’t want to know what they will come back with.”  “You’re a damn fool, Ann.”

Jesus Tess not now.

Now was not the time to think of her mother. As much as Ann loved Tess, she found her difficult when she was alive and even more so now that she was dead.  Three years had passed, and the grief eased but a day didn’t go by when Tess didn’t come to Ann either in a memory or a dream. At times it was a relief to see her or hear her or remember her.  Yet other times memories and dreams of Tess left Ann frustrated like a child seeking an answer to a question when the answer is not known.  Ann understood grief changed forms.  Now she understood.  Whether what she felt was love, resentment, hate, or annoyance towards her mother it was all just grief. Grief, it turned never really ended. It wasn’t something to get over or bypass.  Grief demanded attention like a needy lover.  It required the bereaved to hold on with ripped bloody hands hoping at some point the pain would ease.  And it did and then left what remains.

Ann pushed Tess out of her mind.  Tess would be back but for now, Ann would silence her. Ann felt her wedding rings vibrate as the machine churned out images of her insides.  She thought of the day that lay ahead- school drop-offs and pick-ups, sports, follow-up phone calls and looked forward to being busy.  Maybe if there was time, she would bake a chocolate cake.  She had been craving chocolate lately.

No Muss No Fuss Chocolate Cake

Recipe adapted from my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe and Hershey’s

Serves 12-16

Ingredients for cake:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon espresso powder- optional

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot water


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with baking spray.  Set aside.

Using a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir together until combined.  Add hot water and stir until completely blended.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Tap on the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan on the wire rack before frosting.  Once cool, frost the cake and decorate with sprinkles if desired.  Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  Enjoy!

Ingredients for vanilla buttercream frosting:

11 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon heavy cream


Sift confectioner’s sugar into a large bowl or a large piece of parchment paper and set aside.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Turn the mixer off and add the confectioner’s sugar.  Beat on a low speed then increase the speed slowly as sugar blends with the butter.   Once the sugar is incorporated add the vanilla, salt, and heavy cream.  Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Frost the cake as desired.

5 Cake Links

A cake for rhubarb lovers.

Angel food cake with a twist.

Lemon lovers here is your cake.

An olive oil and ricotta cake that screams spring.

If you make only one cake this spring make this cake. It is delicious!