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Chocolate Mocha Pudding Cake

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend, just in case you’ve managed to miss the pink and red hearts, over-priced roses and boxed chocolates lurking around every corner. Does anyone have any plans for this Sunday? If you are anything like us, you will be avoiding the restaurants and enjoying a relaxing evening at home 🙂 | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

If you don’t have dessert organized yet, forget the heart-shaped supermarket chocolate, and make this chocolate mocha pudding cake instead! If you are married to a self-professed dessert-and-chocolate lover, like I am, you will not go wrong with this pudding for Valentine’s Day.

This year, like most years, Jonty and I will celebrate at home by cooking something simple, having a drink or two, and eating this chocolate mocha pudding cake (perhaps by candlelight, as a nod to it being Valentines day!). | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

This pudding cake is totally old-school (both Jonty and I remember eating a variation growing up), and it is utterly delicious. The dark chocolate is subtly enhanced by the coffee (it’s certainly not overwhelming, I promise!) and the rich gooey pudding sauce that forms at the bottom of the pan makes this easy dessert feel extra fancy. | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

I think we can all agree that easy-to-make desserts that taste completely decadent, are the best kind of desserts 🙂 | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

Chocolate puddings like this are best shared with those you love, whether they be husbands, wives, family or friends. Just make sure to serve it warm from the oven, topped with a hefty scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream 🙂 | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

Oh, and to save your Valentine from having to clean the bottom of the oven from pudding over-flow, Jonty would recommend you bake this in a deep pan (a loaf pan works well!) 🙂 | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Mocha Pudding Cake
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6 - 8 servings
  • Serving size: ⅛th of pudding
  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 19.1 g
  • Saturated fat: 9.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.9 g
  • Sugar: 32 g
  • Sodium: 70.9 mg
  • Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 77.7 mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the Sauce
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 25 g (3 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 285 mL (1/2 pint) hot coffee
For the Cake
  • 85 g (~2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 4 g (1 scant tsp) baking powder
  • 25 g (3 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) chocolate chunks
  • 50 g (~1/2 cup) walnut pieces, roughly chopped
  • 112 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 - 2 tbsp milk
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a 5"x9" loaf pan (or a 9" square pan with high edges).
For the Sauce
  1. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and hot coffee until dissolved into a liquid. Set aside.
For the Cake
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the granulated sugar and butter until pale.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs and milk. Slowly add the egg mixture to the sugar / butter mixture and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold until the flour mixture is fully incorporated.
  5. Add the walnut pieces (if using) and chocolate chunks, and gently fold to combine.
Putting it together
  1. Grease a 5"x9" loaf pan (or an 8" square pan with high edges).
  2. Spoon the cake batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  3. Pour the sauce liquid over the cake batter. Do not mix this into the batter!
  4. Place the pan into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the top of the cake looks set and the sauce starts to bubble around the edges.
  5. Serve warm from the oven, with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream.
If you bake this in a 9" square pan, make sure to place a baking tray underneath, as the sauce will bubble up and may overflow.
If you don't want to use coffee, just use very hot water instead.

KEY: This dessert can go from having lots of pudding sauce to almost no pudding sauce in about 5 minutes, so start checking at the lower time recommendation.

Enjoy! | Chocolate-mocha pudding | Chocolate-mocha pudding cake

New Meal Monday: Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Mascarpone Cream

Somebody has a birthday today… and it’s not me!

M: What kind of birthday treat would you like this year? I’ve been thinking about it and have some ideas.

J: Oh, nothing fancy, maybe some scones like we had in Leavenworth (with the raspberries and white chocolate)… Well, maybe a cake would be nice… Maybe a sponge or a pound cake? … Chocolate might be nice… Maybe some fruit or something? … But really, anything is just fine…

Now you’re talking! In the words of Tom and Donna, Treat Yo Self! 🙂

The Birthday Cake? A chocolate layered cake with mascarpone cream and raspberries!

I was looking around for a new chocolate cake recipe (because one can never have too many cake recipes…) and many of them called for a cup of freshly brewed coffee, to bring out the flavour of the chocolate. I’ve never tried this before, so figured now was as good a time as any! The cake turned out very chocolate-y, and you cannot taste the coffee at all (if you’re wondering).

The cake recipe I used said the batter would be very thin… and it was. And as I began pouring the batter into the spring-form pans, I started to second-guess my choice of pan. Yup, the batter started leaking out the bottom. QUICK, QUICK, INTO THE OVEN!!! A little bit leaked out, but not as much as I was expecting, cake-crisis deftly averted 🙂

To boost the raspberry flavour, I reduced some raspberries down to a thick purée. While this was cooling, the mascaropone was whipped with icing sugar and a touch of vanilla. | Chocolate raspberry cake with mascarpone cream

First layer topped with mascarpone cream and a layer of raspberry purée.

The result was exactly what I pictured in my mind! The tart berries, rich chocolate and slightly sweet mascarpone meld together in the most fantastic way. | Chocolate raspberry cake with mascarpone cream

The look on Jonty’s face when he saw the cake confirmed that my birthday-cake-vision was a good one. | Chocolate raspberry cake with mascarpone cream

And the taste? Pretty darned good, if I do say so myself! The cake is really moist and has held up well in the fridge for the past few days, as we nibble away on it. This cake recipe is definitely a keeper! | Chocolate raspberry cake with mascarpone cream

Happy Birthday, Jonty!

New Meal Monday: Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Mascarpone Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the cake:
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or boiling water)
For the decorating:
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, for the top of the cake
  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen), to reduce into a purée
To make the cake:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and prepare two 8 or 9-inch cake pans (line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the bottoms and sides). I used spring-form pans, which leaked slightly. If you do the same, make sure you place your cake pans on a cookie sheet to catch the leaks.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make sure any clumps of sugar and cocoa powder are completely broken down.
  3. Add the milk, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the coffee (or water) and stir until just combined. The batter will be very runny. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes our clean.
  5. Let the pans cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, and invert the cakes onto the wire rack to cool completely.
To make the raspberry purée:
  1. Place 1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen) into a small saucepan over medium-low heat and reduce them down until they thicken
To make the mascarpone icing:
  1. Whip the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until the icing is nice and fluffy. Taste the icing at this point. We don't like super-sweet icing, so this was good for us. If you prefer a sweeter icing, feel free to add more icing sugar to taste.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Spread half the icing on the bottom cake. Cover with the cooled raspberry purée.
  2. Place the second cake on top and cover this with the remaining icing. Top with whole raspberries.
This cake holds up well, covered in the refrigerator, for 3 or 4 days, but for the best visual appearance, wait until you are serving it before adding the raspberries to the top.


February Already?!!

Man, I can’t believe how quickly January has come and gone! Well, actually, I can. Month #2 of the sabbatical has started and that means we only have a few more days until we pick up our RV! This week will be a test of my organizational skills. At the moment, my To-Do list feels quite long, but I’m crossing off a few things every day. We will be definitely be almost ready-ish by Sunday Monday 🙂  Our medical travel insurance is sorted (we’re okay to injure ourselves rock climbing and cycling, but getting attacked by an orca while scuba diving is out), and I just found out that our bikes are completely covered by our home insurance (for theft or “mysterious disappearance”) while we’re travelling. Wahoo!!

Date Day this past weekend was a bit of a last-minute affair. Planning was minimal, but sometimes those simple meals are just what you need! Jonty made Blueberry Parfait again (we need to get our fill before we go 3 months without an oven!!) and I decided to make salmon tacos. I did a quick search for a cabbage slaw, and then just winged it. It was pretty tasty! Add a bit of guacamole and a smear of spicy Sriracha mayo, and dinner was good to go. Such a quick and easy meal! | Salmon cooking for tacos | Coleslaw and guacomole for tacos | Blueberry parfait

Salmon Tacos with Honey-Lime Slaw

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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400 g salmon (skin removed), cut into 1-inch strips
Freshly ground pepper
Lime-infused sea salt

Honey-Lime Slaw
1/2 medium-sized head red cabbage, finely shredded
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp liquid honey
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Lime-flavoured salt, finely chopped parsley

6 – 8 small corn tortillas, warmed
Sriracha hot sauce


For the Slaw, mix everything together and taste. It should have a nice zing to it. Add more of any of the seasoning to fit your taste. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour (longer if you can) to let the vinaigrette soak in.

For the Guac, I just mash everything together and taste, adding a bit more salt or lemon juice until I like the taste.

For the salmon, season both sides with salt and pepper. We have some lime-infused sea salt that went nicely with this meal. Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon strips to the pan, leaving some room around each one. Let cook for 2 – 3 minutes (until the salmon is cooked almost half-way through). Flip and sear the other side for 1 – 2 minutes more, or until your preferred level of done-ness.

Load up your tacos and liberally douse with hot sauce!!

Date Day

We’ve started the “performance phase” in our climbing schedule this past week. It’s been a bit different to tailor our training for this performance session because we knew we would be climbing in the gym (the winter season isn’t the most reliable time for projecting outside on the West Coast). There are a few climbs we’ll work on until we leave on our trip next week. We climbed as soon as I flew back into Vancouver on Saturday afternoon, then decided to head back on Sunday morning for another session. We knew we would still be tired from the day before (so a short climbing day) and opted for a Sunday Date Day.

Jonty was in charge of breakfast, and I was on coffee duty. We picked up a new roast this week (it was tasty, but I think I still prefer the JJ Bean). He made panini’s again: egg, bacon and sausage, with a bit of Camembert to hold it all together. Great start to the day! | Parallel 49th Coffee | Coffee beans in | Making fried egg | Making fried egg | Making fried egg | Fried egg sandwiches with coffee

Dinner was a bit of an impromptu plan. We were going to have scallops for dinner last week, but our fish monger sold out of them by the time we stopped in. We managed to score some this week, and I found a recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks that looked tasty. As usual, the meal did not disappoint 🙂 | Scallops with salt and | Sliced fennel and chopped | Scallops with quinoa fennel pomegranate | Scallops with quinoa fennel pomegranate salad

Quinoa and Fennel Salad with Scallops and a Pomegranate Glaze

Recipe adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

  • 300 g scallops (should be at room temperature before cooking)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (original called for veggie broth, but we were out)
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Handful of spinach, thinly sliced

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 low-sodium chicken broth (again, with the veggie broth)


For the glaze, combine the honey and sherry in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the pomegranate juice and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and reduce by half again. Set this aside.

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add the well-rinsed quinoa. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, thinly slice the fennel and chop the herbs. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the fennel, herbs, olive oil and pomegranate seeds. Toss well.

For the scallops, make sure they are at room temperature. Pat dry and salt & pepper both sides. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scallops to the pan, leaving some room around each one. Let cook for 3 – 4 minutes (depending on size). Flip and sear the other side for 1 – 2 minutes more.

To serve, divide the quinoa salad into two bowls and top with the spinach chiffonade. Add the scallops and drizzle with the pomegranate glaze.

Date Day

On the weekends, we have a Date Day. We spend time cooking food that we know the other person will appreciate. We’ll either use it to try out a new dish or dessert and enjoy a good beer or bottle of wine. For six days of the week, we’re relatively structured (i.e. crazy) with the food we eat and calories we consume. So Date Day always feels like a special treat, and we usually spend the rest of the week deciding what we’re going to make for the next weekend! Remember, I did say we’re a bit crazy… 🙂

The usual contenders are always a really good cup of coffee (we’ve been drinking local roaster, JJ Bean, for the last few weeks) and Jonty’s specialty, a blueberry parfait. He makes the granola, blueberry sauce and meringue from scratch. It’s quite impressive to look at, and even more impressive to eat! | Coffee brewing in French | Meringue On | Empty Parfait Glass

Just before Christmas, we started drinking the Salty Scot Sea Salted Caramel Scotch Ale.It’s from another local brewer and tastes just as good as the name sounds! It’s a seasonal beer, so we’ll have make sure we enjoy it a few more times before we head out on our trip. | 49th Parallel Salty Scott beer | 49th Parallel Salty Scott beer

For dinner I made up a Winter Citrus Salad with pomegranates, oranges, toasted walnuts and creamy goat cheese. We picked up a nice filet of salmon to go with it. It was a nice, light meal to cut through some of the rich food we had during the day. Really tasty! | Kale and spinach salad with pomegranate, oranges and goat cheese | Pan-fried salmon | Pan-fried salmon with kale, pomegranate, orange, goat cheese salad

For dessert, Jonty made a Treacle Sponge. We usually save this steamed pudding for the winter and haven’t had it in a few years. I LOVE this dessert! The gooey, caramel bottom of the pudding is just so good. And with a spoonful (or two… or three!) of home-made custard, it really just cannot be beat! | Treacle sponge dessert

And, without fail, the tummy starts rumbling for the next Date Day menu!

Treacle Sponge

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 3 – 6 tbsp Golden Syrup (use up to 6 tbsp, if you like extra pudding goo)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 175g unsalted butter, melted slightly
  • 1 tbsp black treacle (or molasses)


Grease a 1.2L pudding bowl. Add golden syrup to the bottom of the bowl.

Cream the egg and sugar. Mix in the flour and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and black treacle. Mix thoroughly. Pour the pudding batter into the prepared bowl.

Cover the top of the bowl with parchment paper and tinfoil (parchment closest to the batter) and secure around the edge of the bowl. We use a few tight-fitting elastic bands.

Place the pudding bowl in a steamer basket over a  pot of simmering water. Place the lid on the pot and steam the pudding for 2 hours.

TIP: Make sure your water bath comes at least half-way up the sides of the pudding bowl. Add more water throughout the steaming process, if too much water has evaporated. This site has a good description for how to steam puddings.