Chocolate-Rye Crumb Cake + 5 Chocolate Desserts to Get You Through Winter!



I flagged this recipe from Bon Appétit a couple of months ago, placed the magazine on top of a collection of sloppily organized cookbooks and walked away.

I’ll make it next week…

Weeks passed, more snow fell, kids got sick, training runs got longer and more depleting, I avoided my cookbooks and magazines.  I made easy comfort food and desserts.  My cooking self hibernated, hunkered down, got through…winter.  It wasn’t until last week I felt motivated to make something new.  Maybe the sudden sound of songbirds in the early morning, or the longer days woke me up.  I can’t say.  Maybe spilling the red bowl of Kosher salt that sits next to stove near the cookbooks was the catalyst for cooking something new.  The spill did force me to clear the entire counter, wipe it down and then sort of organize my cookbooks and magazines.  So forget the songbirds or the longer days.  My clumsy self set off a series of events that forced my withdrawn self to wake up.  Or least make this long forgotten recipe: chocolate-rye crumb cake.


I have never baked with rye flour.  As I folded the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, the dough became quite sticky and dense.  I thought about throwing it out, but I carried on, spread the batter into my prepared pan and sprinkled the top with the cacao nib crumble.  55 minutes later the cake was ready.  I let it cool and went about my day.  (This is not normal behavior, I know.  Fresh chocolate cake sitting on the counter begs for a knife and fork, and a plate is optional.)  I guess I assumed the cake would taste like cardboard, despite containing plenty of butter and sugar.

I should never assume anything again.  One bite and I was hooked.  Moist and tender with a mellow rye flavor, this chocolate crumb cake is one I will make for years to come.  The chocolate flavor is robust and overpowers the rye flour, but that doesn’t bother me.  The crumble, similar to chocolate cookie crunches, but not nearly as processed, is the highlight of the cake.  The cacao nibs add a pure chocolate element to the cocoa powder.  Then all of that antioxidant wholesomeness pairs perfectly with butter and sugar.  Can it get any better?  I doubt it.  Enjoy!

Chocolate-Rye Crumb Cake

serves 8

barely adapted from Bon Appétit January 2015


For the crumble:

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4 rye flour

3 tablespoons cacao nibs

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For Cake:

Non-stick spray

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 cup rye flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

heaping 1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt


Make your crumble.  Whisk together sugar, flours, cacao nibs, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined.  Using your fingers work the cold butter into the dry ingredients until large clumps form.  The crumble should resemble wet sand and there should be no dry spots.  Keep chilled until ready to use.  (Crumble can be made 2 days in advance.)

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Spray a 8×2 inch round cake pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.  Whisk together flours, baking powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat butter, sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy or about 5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowls and add your eggs  and vanilla.  Mix for another 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk.  Mix well.  Add other half of dry ingredients followed by the yogurt.  The batter will seem stiff and sticky. That’s ok!

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread crumble over.  Bake for 55-60 minutes.  The middle should spring back when touched lightly.  Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack before removing.  Serve at room temperature alone or with whipped cream or ice cream.  (Cake can be made a couple of days ahead. Store well wrapped at room temperature.)

5 Chocolate Desserts To Get You Through Winter

St. Patty’s Day is next week so why not celebrate with stout cupcakes with chocolate covered pretzels or triple chocolate Guinness cookies.  Beer and chocolate almost always taste good together!

I have a tub of mascarpone sitting in my fridge and now I have a plan: chocolate mascarpone cake with berries.

Raspberry season is coming.  If you see some raspberries at the grocery store, buy them and make double chocolate raspberry brownies. Go ahead, treat yourself!

My brownie pie will help soothe your winter blues, I promise.

Cherry Galette

We are moving in less than 10 days. It is hard to believe. We brought both of our babies home to this house. It is a place full of good and bad memories, struggles and triumphs. I am sad to leave it. Three months ago we decided to put our condo on the market and it sold in 6 days. We were shocked. For years we have complained about the busy street and the lack of a yard for the kids and our dog, Alice. We are frantically looking for a house to buy but nothing we see feels like a good fit. So we will rent for a while. We will be in a state of transition with no end date in site. I like to feel settled so this feels especially hard. I am surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap and incredibly stressed out but we need to eat and dessert is a must in our house.

I spotted cherries at the market the other day and I couldn’t resist buying a bunch. They are a favorite in our household. Typically we eat them straight out of the bag or I throw them into a salad. I saw a recipe for Rhubarb Galette on Top with Cinnamon decided to make a cherry version.



I attempted to make an oat flour dough but I was impatient. I worked the dough too hard. I didn’t let it rest. The butter was too warm. It was a mess. I am preoccupied with the move. I feel out of sorts. I need to be gentle with myself. Luckily, I had a Trader Joe’s pie crust in the fridge. I let it thaw, mixed the cherries with a little sugar, cornstarch and juice and piled on top of the dough. I brushed the crust with milk and sprinkled it with raw sugar. I will make the oat flour crust at some point but for now things need to be easy.


It baked for 20 minutes at 400 and another 20 minutes at 350.


I served it with vanilla ice cream. Both Bubba and kids loved it.



Cherry Galette

Inspired by Top with Cinnamon’s Rhubarb Galette and Dinner A Love Story’s Apple Galette

For the Crust:

1 Frozen Trader Joe’s or Pillsbury pie dough thawed or a homemade dough

For the Filling:

1 lb pound cherries, stems removed and pitted and sliced in half

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp of juice (Any kind of juice will work here. I used orange but fresh lemon or lime juice also works well.)

2 tsp cornstarch

milk or buttermilk for brushing the crust (I used mil.k)

raw sugar for sprinkling on the crust


Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Pit and slice cherries in half. Mix cherries with sugar, cornstarch and juice. Toss to coat and set aside to macerate.

Cut a piece of parchment paper so it fits a large cookie sheet. Place the parchment paper on your work surface and dust with flour. Unwrap thawed but still cold pastry dough, dust with flour, and roll out into a large circle about 12 inches.

Pile the cherry mixture into the center of the dough, leaving the juice behind. Leave about a 2 inch border.

Fold pastry dough in, pressing gently. Brush the pastry with milk or buttermilk and sprinkle the dough with raw sugar. Dot with butter and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or plain.