I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cassis

Yesterday was Nana's birthday.  I wanted to make a cake she would enjoy, something decadent, rich and utterly delicious. 

Knowing Nana's love of chocolate and raspberries, I thought I had hit upon perfection after a skeg through my pinboards. 

Lil took one look at this cake and said, "It sure is flat!"  Why yes, yes it is.  Flat and full of dense, chocolatey goodness

12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (2-1/4 cups)
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into six pieces; more for the pan
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy; more for the pan

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9x2-inch round cake pan and line it with a round of parchment. Lightly butter the parchment and the sides of the pan and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath and set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 Tbs. water. Beat on mediumhigh speed until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color, and doubled in volume, 2 min. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and continue beating until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add the cocoa powder and mix on medium low just until blended, about 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 40 to 45 min. Don’t overcook. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 min. If necessary, gently push the edges down with your fingertips until the layer is even. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert. Remove the pan and parchment and let the cake cool completely. The cake may look cinched in around its sides, which is fine. Transfer to a cake plate. Cover and refrigerate the cake until it’s very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

(Also, a helpful tip: To slice this cake (or any dense, sticky cake), heat the knife first, either by dipping it in a tall container of very hot water or by holding it under hot running water for a few seconds. Then wipe it dry before cutting the cake. The knife will cool quickly, and the cake will start sticking, so expect to rinse and repeat several times. A crème brûlée torch, if you have one, is also handy for heating up a knife.) 
I modified this blackberry cassis recipe to make the raspberry cassis.  I'd never made one before, and I have to say, this sauce hit the perfect note of sweet and tangy and was an unbelievable complement to the richness of the cake.

1 bag of frozen raspberries
1-2 baskets of fresh raspberries
1/3 cup creme de cassis
1/4 cup sugar, approx.
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tspn cornstarch
pinch of salt

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the raspberries, frozen and fresh, until they begin to release their juices.
2. Add in the creme de cassis, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.
3. When the liquid begins to simmer, spoon about 1/4 cup of the liquid into a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch to the liquid in the bowl and whisk thoroughly until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Return the cornstarch mixture to the berries cooking in the saucepan.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for about a minute.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid begins to be syrupy.  Remove from heat--serve warm immediately or reheat in microwave before serving (if you are freezing the sauce for later use).

This cake wasn't that hard, nor did it take that long to put together.  I made the raspberry sauce while the cake was baking and simply reheated it when it was time for birthday cake.  If you're looking for an easy, yet undeniably decadent dessert, this is it. :o)




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