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.

Egg Yolk Cake + 5 Vintage Cake Links

“Nostalgia, to me, is not the emotion that follows longing for something you lost. It’s the feeling that overcomes you when some minor vanished beauty of the world is restored…the ache that arises from the consciousness of lost connection.” Michael Chabon

Ann called the number, a number she knew as well as her birth date or social security number, knowing no one was on the other end to pickup. She called often maybe out of habit, maybe hoping for a different result. Was she going crazy? Perhaps. The last few years had taken bites out of her leaving open wounds easily irritated by everyday happenings. In the last few months Ann noticed a callous forming over those wounds. She had become accustomed to feeling untethered since Tess’s passing. She longed for her and yet she felt free. The freedom came from the lack of familial obligations to the family she was born into. Tess insisted the family gather, celebrate everything, talk to each other weekly all while the latest elephant in the room went unmentioned. Until it was mentioned. Then the fireworks and what a beautiful display. Anger, resentment, accusations, and insults hidden behind the initial phrase “to be honest with you” exploding over a dinner of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, and Chianti wine. It wasn’t pretty but it was entertaining. Entertaining as a child but less so as an adult when suddenly you were included in the boxing match.

“To be honest with you” is a phrase Ann despised though she had used it herself at times in the company of her family. What an idiotic phrase. Should I assume you are lying to me if you don’t first preface your next statement with “to be honest with you?” As Ann aged she felt less tolerance for the bull shit of others and her own especially. She could no longer tolerate not being completely aligned with herself, whatever form that self took these days. When she found herself apologizing for the slightest infraction she mocked herself for doing so. When Ann played the role of people pleaser she felt her skin itch as if it were about to peel and molt exposing a new self. A self she both feared and welcomed at the same time.

Does age or loss change a woman? Is one a stronger force than the other? Lately, Ann thought of these questions often. The loss of her mother, the love of her life, had devastated her. In the dark moments of grief she feared she would not recover. Now she knew better. Loss like age will leave its marks. Beautiful, unique marks.

As the plane crept into the sky, as the wheels found their place again, and the plane’s wing sliced a cloud Ann felt nothing but relief to leave home. For the first time in forty three years she could leave Boston with no guilt or worry over Tess. She was free, finally. Ann would continue to care for her children and husband. She would continue to care for her father as she promised Tess. Maybe his sobriety would take this time. Maybe it was a foolish hope. She would maintain friendships worth maintaining and feel no guilt for those lost. She would dial Tess’s number knowing no one was there to pick up. It wasn’t crazy. It was misplaced love.

Ann realized the ache she felt was nostalgia. Nostalgia for Tess and all that she brought to Ann’s world. A pink day lily. Pistachio ice cream. A night swim. So many things brought to light again bringing joy to Ann and a reminder that Tess is gone.

Egg Yolk Cake

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook

Serves 8-10


2 + ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 + 2/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup of unsalted butter

1 + ¼ cups of milk (any kind)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

5 egg yolks, unbeaten


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour Bundt pan thoroughly otherwise the cake will stick.  I use baking spray when I am feeling lazy, and it works well.

Add the dry ingredients to your mixer bowl and whisk until combined.  Add the butter and beat on low to medium speed until just starting to blend.  Next, pour in half of the milk and the vanilla and almond extracts.  Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Pour in remaining milk.  Add egg yolks.  Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Using a spatula gently mix the batter scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.  Bake until golden brown or when a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Check the cake after 35 minutes and adjust baking time as needed. 

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting the Bundt pan.  Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.  Store cake at room temperature in an air-tight container.  Leftover cake will last 2 to 3 days.  Enjoy!

**This cake is excellent alone but also delicious with fresh fruit and whipped cream, fresh strawberry sauce, or ice cream.**

5 Vintage Cake Links

Chocolate mayonnaise cake

Banana Cake

Applesauce Cake

Whipped Cream Cake

Lady Baltimore Cake