is the mastermind behind this month's winning Serena Bakes Simply From ScratchSupper Club recipe: a swoony, rich, and perfectly classic chocolate cake (recipe below). Peek inside Serena's mind (and refrigerator!) as she answers our usual questions.
What ingredient are you currently obsessed with?
My current obsession is definitely strawberries, ever since the arrival of the first bright red berries of the season! Most of my last week has been spent day dreaming of new ways to use the juicy little berries.
Favorite food memory?
Breakfast with Granny. She would spend the morning fixing whatever you requested which many times was between 3-4 different meals, dependent on how many people were in the house. My usual request were puff pancakes or pancakes with blueberry sauce. When I was in about 4th grade she made me puff pancakes almost every day for a year, I never did become sick of them. She also made everything from scratch and was the biggest inspiration for my blog.
What's your go-to easy dinner?
I definitely fall back on gingered mussels and clams with kale! It's elegant enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight meal. Everything is made in one pot and requires just a little prep work. It's delicious, easy and passed the approval of my kids. We usually enjoy them with a nice crusty loaf of bread to sop up the broth and a nice glass of white wine.
Ketchup or mustard?
I love dijion mustard! It goes great in sauces, on sandwiches and gives a great little kick to salad dressing.
Who would be the ideal dinner party guests (living or dead)?
I would love to have more time with my Granny and Granddad so I could spend one night in the kitchen baking together with my Granny and they could meet Colt and the kids! My Granddad always shared wild stories of when he was growing up and I am sure he could keep my husband and kids occupied for hours! Of course the rest of my family would have to be there too. I also would definitely invite Jamie Oliver because I love what he is doing with the food revolution. I think Julia Child is a given––I spent many hours watching her on PBS when I was a kid––and Deb of Smitten Kitchen. I just love her blog and her pictures are delicious!
It's your last meal. What's on the menu?
A small filet mignon, pan roasted asparagus and twice baked potatoes. Dessert would definitely need to be chocolatey with a nice glass of red wine.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 servings
FOR THE MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pans
1 cup buttermilk or milk
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup coffee, very hot
FOR THE GANACHE FROSTING:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 ounces chocolate, semi-sweet or dark that you would eat plain
FOR CHOCOLATE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degree's. Grease 2 (8") cake pans with butter. Line with parchment paper and butter parchment paper. Dust with extra cocoa powder and shake off any excess.
Place all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until ingredients are fully incorporated.
Place melted butter, buttermilk or milk, eggs and vanilla into a small bowl and mix with a fork until fully incorporated. Butter will conglomerate a little bit from the cold buttermilk. This is great, do not worry.
Dump wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix on medium low until almost incorporated about 45 seconds. Slowly poor in hot coffee with mixer and medium low. Mix until fully incorporated.
Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in cake pan until room temperature. Remove from pan and finish cooling on a cooling rack.
FOR GANACHE FROSTING: Combine granulated sugar, heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Place chocolate in a medium sized bowl and pour cream mixture over the top. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth.
Allow ganache to cool for 1-2 hours until desired consistency is reach to frost the cake. (Watch ganache closely as it will eventually harden like chocolate. Ganache can always be remelted over the top of a double boiler if this occurs.)