Beatty’s Chocolate Cake Plus Two Fair Trade Giveaways: Lake Champlain Chocolates Hot Cocoa; Bag of Fair Trade Goodies

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Earlier this month, upon realizing that I had officially become my mother, not only in my preferences, but also in how I impose my preferences on others — dark meat chicken, cakes without frosting — I decided it might be wise to branch out a bit, to bake a cake with not one but two layers and to guild it not with a delicate dusting of powdered sugar but with a slathering of silky frosting.

It was a healthy exercise. You see, I didn’t know that frosting — chocolate buttercream in this case — has the ability to silence a table surrounded by both toddlers and adults and afterwards to elicit unprompted comments such as: “You are such a good cooker.” This cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It’s another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite.

I’m so happy I branched out. Because while I am completely embracing that I am my mother’s daughter, adoring almond tortes and torta capreses, I understand there is a time and a place for layers of cake and frosting. A silent table is always (or almost always) a sign of success.

Now, let’s stay focused: Fair Trade. October is Fair Trade month, and like last year, I am sneaking in at the tail end to join the discussion. Let’s review what Fair Trade means:

• Fair Trade helps farmers (more than 1.2 million worldwide) in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.

• Products that bear the Fair Trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated.

• Fair Trade ensures that farmers follow internationally monitored environmental standards and also provides financial incentives and resources for organic conversion, reforestation, water conservation and environmental education.

• Fair Trade empowers women to play an active role in their families and in their co-ops by starting businesses with guaranteed access to health care, certain job rights and freedom from harassment.

• Fair Trade supports education with revenues set aside to build schools and maintain enrollment.

Earlier this year, Lake Champlain Chocolates earned Fair for Life – Social & Fair Trade Certification, a rigorous certification that looks at a company’s practices as a whole, including the ingredients used in its products. All of LCC products are made from top-quality ingredients, and I particularly love the LCC unsweetened cocoa for baking, which I have on hand year round. This time of year, too, I stock up on LCC hot cocoa, both for me and to give as gifts. For the first giveaway, LCC will send one of you three tins of hot cocoa, one each of the Organic, the Mocha, and the Spicy Aztec.

For the second giveaway, Fair Trade will send one of you a beautiful cloth bag filled with Fair Trade goodies ranging from chocolate to vanilla extract to lip balm (details and photos below).

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. Tell me what dish/food/tradition you most look forward to on Thanksgiving or anytime during this holiday season. Note: there are two givewaways here and so there will be two winners.

Update: The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations: to Ridie Ghezzi and Kelly. I have emailed you.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Giveaway #1: Three tins of Lake Champlain Chocolates Fair Trade hot cocoa:
Lake Champlain Chocolates unsweetened cocoa

Giveaway #2: From Fair Trade, a prAna cloth bag…
Fair Trade Shopping Bag

… filled with goodies: coffee (different than pictured below…I drank the Allegro and Just Love Coffee Roasters coffee before snapping a picture…sorry!), Honest iced tea, hot tea (Numi Tea and Rishi Tea), Frontier All-Natural vanilla extract, Eco Lips One World lip balm, Tcho chocolates and Alter Eco chocolate and truffles:
Fair Trade Goodies

Sifting the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt:
sifting

Wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, coffee:
wet ingredients

A friend who had been reading Bouchon Bakery this summer introduced me to this vanilla bean paste. I’m a fan:
vanilla bean paste

batter

I saw the coolest trick on my PBS station, Create, for cutting a perfect circular cake pan liner. On a recent (for me at least) episode of Baking with Julia, Markus Farbinger, a chef from the CIA, teaches Julia how to make a most delectable looking Viennese poppy seed torte. As he’s preparing his pans for baking, he lays a sheet of parchment paper on top of an upside down cake pan, rubs the back of his knife along the edge, and pops out a near perfect circle to lay in the inside of his pan. I found that to get a clean cut I needed to use something with a sharper edge, so I used the bottom of a tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don’t have such a tart pan, try using the bottom of your cake pan — you might, at the very least, be able to score the parchment paper and finish it off with scissors:

ready for the oven

chocolate cakes cooling

cakes cooling

Making the chocolate buttercream:
making the frosting

chocolate frosting

frosting the cake

two candles

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home

Confession: When I baked this cake over the weekend, I forgot to add the two teaspoons of baking soda, which is why these rounds look on the thin side in the photos above. If you decide to make this cake, you can look forward to layers twice as thick and twice as light. This is the third time I’ve made this cake this month, and of course I had to goof on the day I decided to take pictures. Anyway, without baking soda, this cake is still delicious, but the texture of the cake when it is made properly is SO light and lovely. Also, Ina makes this cake in the stand mixer, but it doesn’t seem necessary, so I whisk by hand.

Also, this cake is similar to the double chocolate cake I made last year, which is richer and denser and also delicious. Not a chocolate fan? Angel Food Cake is a favorite birthday tradition in my family.

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups (7.75 oz | 222 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups (14.75 oz | 418 g) sugar
3/4 cups (2.25 oz | 66 g) good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons (3/8 oz | 10 g) baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs (98 g) at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then flour the pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the coffee and stir just to combine. Batter will be really thin. Pour the batter — if you feel like being really precise, pour about 690g of batter into each pan — into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

3. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (Ina recommends Callebaut.)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (5 3/8 oz | 152 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional — I skipped this)

1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Alternatively: Melt in the microwave at 30 second to 1 minute intervals until spreadable.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. If you are adding the coffee, dissolve the powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

two years old

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Comments

  1. Jill_R says

    The dish/food/tradition I look forward to on Thanksgiving ismaking the pecan pie. I agree that it is important to suport our fair trade farmers. Great giveaway, thanks!

  2. Amy says

    I have too many favorites… but to name just a few, I love making and eating rum balls, apple pie and spinach salad with my mother. The two of us do all of the holiday cooking/baking. I can’t wait to see her for the holidays!

  3. Alex says

    living abroad i’ve missed the last 7 thanksgivings at home. besides hanging out with family, what i miss the most is my mom’s apple pie. but luckily she makes it for me everytime i do come home no matter what time of year.

  4. Brenda says

    I look forward to the sausage stuffing cooked inside the bird on the smoker. I’ve made this Ina Garten cake before and it’s delicious.

  5. kate says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Everyone in my family gathers together and for two days we share good fun, games and especially good food. We all love to cook and eat and everyone -young and old-has a meal/entree they are responsible for. Great memories !

  6. Shelley says

    My favorite part of the holidays is just all the attention spent on food and cooking and being in the kitchen period, no matter what is being prepared! I would love to win some cocoa or some Fair Trade goodies!

  7. Kendra says

    My cousin makes the most amazing chestnut stuffing. I literally look forward to it all year long! In fact, my mouth is watering as I type! mmm!

  8. sarahem says

    My mom makes the best from-scratch stuffing I’ve ever had, and it’s by far my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. And for the past few years I’ve been making a cranberry chutney that everyone in my family devours. Put the two together and I’m a happy eater. :D

  9. Beth says

    I love all of the smells of the holidays, how a homemade goodie can bring a genuine smile, and the openness of hearts!

  10. says

    What a wonderful looking second birthday cake! Silence at the table really is a huge compliment for a recipe.

    The two dishes that I must have for Thanksgiving are our homemade dinner rolls that we only make for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sweet potato casserole topped with a brown sugar and nut streusel – not marshmallows. The holiday isn’t complete without both! (And then, I get to start thinking about the incredibly decadent, once-a-year cinnamon rolls we make on Christmas Eve… my absolute favorite treat of the holiday season!)

  11. Carrie says

    Mmm that cake looks so good! I’ll have to give that one a try soon. I really look forward to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I told someone that Thanksgiving is my all time favorite meal – it would be my death row meal, for sure!

  12. Jen says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; with my daughter’s birthday landing on the 27th, we always have an excuse for a little extra indulgence – if that’s possible! This year I will be making this cake for her celebration. Thanks for the giveaway and the years of wonderful yummy pictures and posts!

  13. Sunie says

    Corn pudding! I have been making a Perla Meyers Spur of the Moment recipe for years and it never fails to impress. Lotsa butter, eggs, corn. It makes a great pot luck dish also and can be changed up with cheese, chilies, ham, or whatever you fancy.

  14. Eunice says

    Alexandra,
    I love your site! The giveaway’s are too awesome to pass up so I also wanted to put my two cents in. I’ve been craving choc cake lately, so it’s definitely on my list.

  15. Emily R. says

    I love pie at the holidays. Not too particularly about what kind – chocolate cream, pumpkin, cherry, apple – but there’s something about the flaky, buttery crust and dense sweetness that makes pie the perfect dessert at the holidays!

  16. Jessie says

    I am boring. The dish I most look forward to at Thanksgiving is . . . the turkey. :oP It is always from the Amish, so it’s downright delicious, and my uncle injects it with butter. ‘Nuff said.

    I also love pumpkin fudge.

  17. says

    I love THanksgiving — our table is overloaded with lots of fall veggies (think roasted brussels sprouts and kale salads) that my sisters and I help mom make, a tradition I can’t imagine going withouth. Furthermore, every year, I am in charge of the turkeys… Brining, roasting, cutting. Yeah, move over dad. Nothing makes me happier than the smell of a roasted turkey sitting on the kitchen counter (and old turkey drumsticks the next day). Makes my two labs thrilled too.

  18. Hannah says

    I went on your webpage for the specific purpose of printing off your most recent chicken recipe and, once again, got completely distracted by another delicious looking dessert. Doesn’t that vanilla bean paste rock? I use it at the patisserie I work at for our vanilla sable cookies. This time of year always has me looking forward to gingerbread houses. :) Thanks for the new ideas you always give me!

  19. Kristina says

    Never get tired of Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree from the good old Silver Palate. Make it and enjoy it every Thanksgiving.

  20. Marji says

    I look forward to my mother’s Thanksgiving feast. She never misses on the turkey and stuffing, always moist and flavorful, never dry, and she feeds close to 30 people these days. I don’t know how she does it but I need to figure it out because age is wearing her down.

    One other observation about the outrageously beautiful child in the tiger costume, heart melting.

  21. Teri says

    Our favorite part of Thanksgiving ~ aside from having a lovely time with family ~ is our Grandmother’s ravioli. My brother and I are the keepers of this tradition and we make it with love every year, for the folks gathered around whatever table we find ourselves at! The filling is spinach-based and we make both a vegetarian version and one for the carnivores.

  22. Adrienne says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and as Halloween passes, my excitement ramps up. I love the time with family most, but the food doesn’t hurt. I can’t wait for our buffet table to be packed with different pies and custards and creams! We actually have to clear everything from the first go-around to make room for the sheer volume of pies. Also, I don’t drink coffee so is there any way to make this cake without it and still have the same depth of flavor? Thank you!

  23. Dianne Wist says

    My favorite holiday food to prepare and eat are tamales. The first weekend of Decmember for as long as I can remember we set out to make about 35 dozen tamales. My dad raises his own meat and grows and grinds his own chilie. They are a labor of love and tradition.

  24. adrienne says

    For Thanksgiving, I most look forward to helping my mother make the traditional meal, but we always throw in a new recipe to spice things up. This year we are going to make some spicy roasted brussel sprouts. Totally looking forward to it.

  25. Christine says

    I remember my mother storing a multitude of cookies in different ice cream buckets in our dining room during the holidays. I would sneak in to try and pick as many as I could from the buckets where iI thought she might not notice… Why do covert cookies taste better? I still try and sneak them past myself today!

  26. Hillary Peach says

    We have already had our pumpkin pie this year at Thanksgiving (up here in Canada), but I am so excited for upcoming Christmas cookie swaps with family!

  27. says

    I make danish for thanksgiving and christmas morning most years and that’s the only time it is worth the effort – I can’t wait! so tasty.

  28. Ellen says

    My favorite thing is leftovers! Also, that I don’t have to cook the whole thing because of my wonderful family.

  29. says

    I always looked forward to going home to my parents for Thanksgiving when my mom was still alive. She cooked every Thanksgiving for my dad’s family and sometimes it was on the order of 40+ people! My favorite dish were her sweet potatoes (yellow) with marshmallows on top! She also made yams (orange) as well. She passed away suddenly right before Thanksgiving in 2010 and I miss her so much around this time of year. Thanksgiving will never be the same. Love you mom!!

  30. Charlsey G says

    I am most looking forward to recreating my grandmother’s recipes this year. She currently suffers from dementia, so she will not be able to cook as she normally does. I think it would be nice if she and the family could still enjoy her great tasting food even though she isn’t cooking it. Prayers needed :)

  31. Julia says

    What do I look forward to during the Holiday Season?

    1) This started very recently (when we moved away from family), A fresh- organic turkey from a local farm by us. Once we tasted the quality and I can trust that they are indeed humane, I will never go back to the traditional super market turkies.

    2) To keep the Family Tradition alive and feeling of the Christmas jumping even when our family is 15+ hours away, we roast a Prime Rib every year! My mom started this tradition about 20 yrs ago for Christmas Dinner. We also cook the Rib with a Yorkshire Pudding for a touch of Old English-style fare. It’s amazing!! Always, always there is either a tiered Chocolate Mousse Cake or Double Fudge cake with a deep dish apple pie for those that want something fruity vs chocolate-y.

    I think I look most forward to the Rib Roast. I hate being away from my mom and siblings during the Holidays, now even more that we have a baby girl. But with this dinner even though we are miles apart, it’s like we’re sitting together at the family table once more.

  32. Lanee says

    I suppose a giveaway is as good a time as any to finally comment on here and tell you how much I love your blog! This is by far my favorite food blog, thanks for posting! I think I’m most excited at the prospect of brûlée-ing my pumpkin pie this year . . .

  33. Linda Marsh says

    For Thanksgiving, I always make raw cranberry-orange relish. Since I don’t eat meat, I make gluten-free dressing with vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and mushroom gravy to go on it. My husband and son have turkey, but he always saves me a nice fish in the freezer for my meal. Last year it was a delicious striper, baked with Tuscan herbs. I bake gluten-free pies, usually sweet potato or pumpkin, and blueberry.

    Think I’ll try this cake recipe with a gluten-free flour blend and see how it turns out! Thanks for posting it!

  34. Laurie says

    My newest favorite tradition is coming up with the menu which is the easiest and funnest part of the meal! My oldest favorite tradition is gathering flowers and branches from the garden for the table…..this time of year everything is lovely….autumnal and sacred. Memories are evoked of my mother and grandmother who are both passed but they instilled in me a love of family and cooking for those I love. (My favorite weekly tradition, at the holidays and everyday, now…is coming to this blog to see what my favorite writer, photographer and fellow foodie has to inspire me with today….I love this blog, I love the way you love food the way all of us do and I love that you understand the spiritual connection that food has with humans….XO)

  35. says

    cake! happy birthday Graham! I think before I try this beauty of a cake I’m going to need to make that chocolate almond cake – holy WOW that looks good.

  36. MAryB says

    I most look forward to sharing my grandmother’s recipes for cinnamon rolls and also dressing (stuffing) with family and friends on Thanksgiving day.

  37. says

    While I love food and always look forward to the food at a holiday, I love spending time with family during holidays. Doesn’t hurt that a lovely apple pie will be on its way too!!

  38. Kelly Sullivan says

    I always make blueberry over night french toast for Thanksgiving morning. It is a tradition that has gone on for us for 17 years… can’t wait.

  39. Trish says

    I love hosting the holiday get togethers for my family. The sounds of their laughter, the wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen, the sharing of food and stories…life doesn’t get any better than that! And this year my beautiful niece is due to have her first baby right before Thanksgiving. So blessed!!
    (Oh, please don’t enter me into the contest as I have already won one).

  40. Anne says

    Over the last few years, I’ve taken to making stollen during December, both for home consumption and as gifts. Everyone loves it, and I enjoy making it. Really, though, all of the foods of the holiday season are so good, it’s hard to choose a favorite.

  41. Lauren says

    As others have stated, I too am missing my mother who instilled a love of cooking and entertaining. So, I will be cooking up a storm this holiday season and thinking of her every step of the way. One family favorite is butternut squash with goat cheese and pecans. The other “must make” is fresh cranberries in gin – fantastic!

  42. Terry C says

    I look forward to three things at Thanksgiving: homemade butter crescent rolls, corn pudding, and pecan bars (from Ina Garten). Yum!

  43. Inge says

    Aaaaah, Thanksgiving, that once a year menu that entices me so….. always want to try something new, but can’t get away from my traditions that ground me… My mother’s greenbean casserole, that for years I couldn’t get it right, just wasn’t “hers”, low and behold, come to find out she always used VELVETTTA cheese (ACCCKKKK)…. I must have blocked that out when she told me and I used cheddar. Alas, the velvetta is what makes it taste like home…..
    Brussel sprouts, with red onions and balsamic vinegar…. stuffing, oh, lovely stuffing… all veggies, a few apples and chestnuts…. lots of sage…. Oh, I’m so hungry now!!!
    Oh and pumpkin pie… made from hubbard squash. Yes, the color isn’t appealing, but the taste is soooooo divine
    Happy THanksgiving to you and your family. So Thankful for so much… always thankful for your awesome blogs and what new “thing” I can make :)

  44. Margaret says

    That cake looks so good to my first trimester preggo eyes (little else does…). This year I’m looking forward to dusting off my German grandmother’s stollen recipe. German baking is the only kind of baking around the holidays. Oh, and I can’t wait for the yearly delivery of Lebkuchen from Nuremburg!

  45. Bridgett says

    My favorite is a rice dish my grandma makes for Thanksgiving with ground lamb and pine nuts. It’s amazing and she really only makes it for the holidays, so I look forward to it all year.

  46. Desha says

    My family is Caribbean so our Thanksgivings are not the typical turkey and stuffing menu. We eats lots of foods from our homes countries such as oxtails and curried goat. I LOVE IT. My daughter is 17 months and has grown up eating the same dishes that I did as a child. It warms my heart and I hope she has the urge to learn all of these family recipes.

  47. Alicia says

    I look forward to green bean casserole every Thanksgiving. We are traveling this year for the holiday so we are doing our Thanksgiving dinner on Halloween instead.

  48. Becky says

    Besides the leftovers, I love the perfect bite of fried turkey, dressing, gravy & sweet potatoes that goes together so well- oh and with a little tart cranberry sauce on the side. Chased down with my mom’s fabulous yeast rolls!

  49. --anu says

    I was going to write stuffing, since I love it but seeing another comment reminded me that I LOVE fruitcake. I make my own and it doesn’t have any storebough candied fruit, just homemade. Soooooo good. And I love that a loaf will give me a couple of weeks worth of small slices for breakfast. Yum!

  50. Natalie says

    My favorite holiday tradition is the thrill of trying new recipes and having some of them work out really great.
    I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for a beautiful website and helpful instructions. I have learned so much from reading your posts and everything I have made from here has turned out really great.

  51. Laura says

    I love making dinner for my friends that don’t have family nearby. I do most of the meal and others bring dessert, wine and appetizers. We always have a blast and everyone has food to take home.

  52. says

    This looks fantastic! I crave Thanksgiving cooking all year long. But to be honest with you the things I look forward to most are a pancetta wrapped turkey and sweet potato casserole! Oh and pies… always a variety of pies!

  53. Lindsey says

    We just moved back to the East Coast, within driving distance of my family, so I’m really excited to be spending Thanksgiving with them. I think I most look forward to my mom’s sausage and apple stuffing–I can never get mine to turn out like hers.

  54. Ally says

    Well I’m Hmong and my hometown always celebrates the Hmong New Year during Thanksgiving weekend. That’s what I look most forward to each year. This is the one time where I can wear my traditional clothing and celebrate my culture with my family and friends and the Hmong community. The best part is that we provide food to the entire community, Hmong or not, for free and this brings us all closer together.

  55. Kelly says

    I look forward to our Minnesotan family’s much-loved “Governor’s Carrots,” an unthinkably delicious mess of butter, Velveeta cheese, sautéed onions, dill, and (oh yeah) sliced carrots! I keep promising/threatening to make it for my East Coast friends — so much doubt, but it only takes one bite to be a believer.

  56. Christine says

    Christmas dinner was always a big deal in our house. My mom obviously loved to do it, because every year she wowed us. The table was always decorated nicely with the Christmas tablecloth, napkins and the special dishes and cutlery. There were Christmas crackers and yes we did wear those silly paper hats. When I look back at our Christmas photos we were always wearing them: my Dad’s always looked especially nice contrasted against his white hair. One food that always makes me remember those Christmas dinners is brussel sprouts. We always had them and they were always moist and delicious.

  57. says

    Thanksgiving, holidays, and festivities make me look forward to the people I will be spending them with. I love cooking and eating together with friends and family – especially the cooking. The more we are in the kitchen, the merrier; no matter what we cook.

  58. Aisling McSweeney says

    That’s the brand of vanilla extract I use, too. My favorite dish is chipotle candied twice baked sweet potatoes.

  59. lisabella says

    I can, and do, make pies year round. But there’s something about apple and pumpkin pie this time of year. I love having them during the holidays.

  60. Maureen says

    I’m looking forward to my daughter coming home from CA and making all her childhood Thanksgiving favorites including a yummy apple squash casserole, rutabagas and of course apple and pumpkin pie.

  61. Ridie Ghezzi says

    My favorite dish to make at Thanksgiving is a sweet potato pie. I have been making this pie for at least the 33 years of my marriage, every Thanksgiving. Although I grew up in New Jersey, my parents are both from the deep South, and sweet potato pie is one of those dishes my mother would always talk about. I learned to make it because of this and it always gives me a great feeling of connection to my southern roots and relatives, and to the wonderful stories my mother would tell me about the dishes she would eat, many of which I was brought up on as well. My mother would have been 90 years old today, in fact, and she almost made it. Every year I would make her a sweet potato pie and baking powder biscuits, both of which she would savor, making them last as long as she could (which usually wasn’t very long). I will always think of her, the wonderful heritage of Southern cooking and every Thanksgiving that has come before when I make my sweet potato pie. Another one is coming along soon!!

  62. Aliza N says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love baking desserts for it. I usually do a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and something chocolate (try my best to use fair trade).

  63. says

    Wow this cake looks so delicious! For Thanksgiving, I look forward to the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, all mixed together… especially if it’s dark meat turkey that has been properly brined and roasted. My husband makes an amazingly moist and flavorful turkey and I look forward to it every year!

  64. Olivia says

    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving where I live, but if we did I am certain I would look forward to pumpkin everything! And cider, of course.

  65. says

    This is just gorgeous! So glad you shared a layered, frosted cake with us — I always trust your recipes implicitly. Love that photo of your sweet little one smiling so big!

    I think I get most excited about vegetable sides to cook for Thanksgiving. I try new ones every year – brussels, raw or cooked, broccolini, radicchio, squash — much to the disappointment of my sister-in-law, whose favorite thing about Thanksgiving is enjoying the same traditional, tried-and-true dishes each year! I do put her through a ride every holiday but I just can’t wait to try out new tastes and textures on everyone. I love that the family has me host and make the turkey and everything each year! I can’t wait.

  66. Angela says

    I love making rugulah every holiday season with my mom and sister. It all started with my grandma and even though she passed away years ago, I still feel close with her when we make and eat these tasty cookies together.

  67. Mama Poule says

    I am soooooo on a baking kick, I might have to try this cake in the last days off before the new gig rolls in….
    Traditions…they vary based on where in the world I am and which holiday we are talking about:
    – for my annual expat thanksgiving I LOOOVE my corn soufflé
    – for xmas eve with the in-laws jn France, oysters, smoked salmon and foie gras has to be IT
    – for a typical Bulgarian xmas with my clan, stuffed meatless grape leaves are something I could never do without

    You keep a piece of everywhere you live with you at all times and it becomes part of you. Including food. Or should I say, particularly food!

  68. says

    I always look forward to my grandma’s special holiday sugar cookies! When I was a little kid I always use to go over and help her decorate them. It is one of my favorite holiday memories. Also, they are just plain delicious. :)

  69. Jessica says

    I look forward to making homemade cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving morning with my family! Also, I’ve made this cake before and it is AMAZING!

  70. says

    I am hard-pressed to name a favorite food tradition — roast turkey, savory stuffing, squash or sweet potatoes enriched with something apple-y or maple sugar-y, and pumpkin pie all vie for favorite category. What I love best is a holiday narrowly focussed on food and time with family and/or friends, without any commercialim or materialism. A nearly guilt-free holiday! (Overeating aside.)

  71. Deb says

    First, I just recently discovered this website/blog, and I’m really happy I did.

    The thing that I look forward to most on Thanksgiving (and really, is the only thing worth the work, at this time or any other time) is my mother’s matzo stuffing. She used to make it for Passover, but we loved it so much that she now makes it for Thanksgiving. Anytime it is changed, it is (of course) never as good, and she is the only one who makes it properly. I will help if she insists, but only very begrudgingly. One year, in an attempt to make it a bit healthier, she added wheat germ. Now, I was younger then (though I’ll admit to not being that much younger) and I essentially threw a temper tantrum. I wouldn’t eat the stuffing and insisted she remake it (sans wheat germ) after Thanksgiving. I will never live that down, but there have been no more attempts to change the recipe.

  72. Wehaf says

    I love pumpkin pie; for me it represents the whole Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and there is nothing more delicious.

  73. Leah says

    Every year now I make my uncle’s butternut squash souffle. It’s pretty easy but looks so fancy and is always a hit. It really blurs the line between side and dessert :-)

    Looking forward to multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends!

  74. Julie says

    I make Martha Stewarts soft gingerbread cookies with dark chocolate chunks every year and mmmmmm I love them so much. Yes, sure, I could make them any time of year. But they are just right this time of year.

  75. Laurie says

    I posted earlier Ali but can’t see it now….I just wanted to laugh when I re-read the post after work, I’ve been trying to find another person for years who watches Create! I ‘accidentally’ got it when we got a new cable service on the TV in the bedroom and now it’s rarely off the channel! Isn’t it wonderful? Gotta LOVE anything with Julia in it! Anyway, I hope my comment is really out there in the blogosphere….a new Thanksgiving tradition here is going to be making this cake for after the lamb chops! lol! Love and happy Fall! XO!

    • says

      Laurie, this is too funny! I am obsessed with the Create channel! It’s the only thing that is on around here…besides the World Series when Ben is home :) I know, Julia…just love her. Did I tell you I made lamb chops? They were delicious!

  76. Kim C. says

    The dish that I most look forward to on Thanksgiving is definitely the stuffing. I have my own recipe and I make it every year.

  77. Natalie J Vandenberghe says

    Now that my parents are no longer here (because their delicious holiday meal is what I most looked forward to), I’d say my favorite Thanksgiving/holiday dish is my cranberry salad (it has chopped apples & nuts, crushed pineapple, and cream cheese–it’s really yummy!)
    I love all these #FairTrade goodies. #BuyFair #BeFair
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  78. Livia says

    Roasted sweet potatoes and stuffing, and of course, sharing it all with family!
    What an amazing looking chocolate cake, BTW. I love your recipes.

  79. Lori McClintick says

    I love most of the Thanksgiving foods. I am most looking forward to candied yams. I make them the way my grandmother made them. I partially bake them and slice them lengthwise. I heat them in a skillet alternating yams, melted bitter, and dark browb sugar. Delicious!!

  80. Julie Davis says

    I just love being with my family. I do splurge on my grandmother’s pecan pie. (Mine isn’t as good as hers was but I still try).

  81. says

    I love that you did this will ALL fair trade! YAYYYY! I also LOVE Lake Champlain Chocolates, went to the store when I was in Burlington. The guys there were so friendly and had such great recommendations!

  82. Shannon says

    Gorgeous photos and the cake looks delicious! I would love a piece now, please! My favorite holiday tradition food is my grandpa’s homemade cornbread stuffing. It is a labor of love that we all love making still and passing along to new generations.

  83. Aubrey says

    I love to make pecan pie. It is my mom’s favorite. Other than that, my family and I spend afternoons in the kitchen making new and traditional dishes. It is some of the best times.

  84. Liliana Worley says

    Once I got introduced to the wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving I became addicted to the sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce !!! We don’t have either sweet potatoes nor cranberries where I come from….

  85. Sonja says

    Thanksgiving is my FAVE!!! i love making the turkey, especially since i’ve discovered brining. so delish! we basically try something a little different every year.

  86. says

    the cake looks so good! I love chocolate frosting! I’m looking forward to trying a few new baked goods for the holidays as well as making some favorites: bourbon pecan pie for myself, and soft ginger cookies for the husband :-)

  87. Katie says

    Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my big brother and I go home to our parents’ house and make apple pies from scratch – a tradition I look forward to almost as much as the actual product!

  88. Erin says

    I really need to stop looking at your site before bedtime…my mouth is watering and I don’t even like cake! A couple of years ago I picked up ottolenghi’s ‘plenty’ cookbook. I introduced my Midwestern, meat & potatoes extended family to an amazing three bean dish that is fresh and bursting with herbs. Seeing them try and like such an ‘adventurous’ food isu favorite, and I try to introduce new recipes every holiday now!

  89. Melissa says

    I love making cookies and fudge with my mom, aunts, & cousins the week before Christmas. It’s a tradition that I hope lasts for a long time!

  90. Long says

    I look forward to watching a Charlie Brown Christmas before Thanksgiving, watching some version of Home Alone during the 4-day weekend, and grabbing a slice of pumpkin pie somewhere in between.

  91. Tina says

    One thing I look forward to is being with the family. I miss the big family dinners we had growing up. Food-wise I love green bean casserole and the dinner roles!

  92. Judy says

    I love thanksgiving. I think it’s all about lots of sides and pies. I look forward every year to suprising everyone with a new pie. Lots of sides lets me try out new ones every year. The fav pie is chocolate pecan.

  93. Deckled Edges says

    There are so many holiday traditions I love, but one of the most enduring is the buche de noel we bake for my dad’s birthday.

  94. Sindhu says

    I have always loved thanksgiving sides…mashed potatoes and cornbread are my favorite! I have watched Ina make his cake on the food network a countless number of times…can’t wait to try it on my own!

  95. Sharon says

    I love me some stuffing! I really love that it’s just a mushed up sandwich with more creative “filings” than most people would dream of in their sandwiches. Oysters, chestnuts, sage? Sign me up! I love the cornbread ones the best. YUM!

  96. Patti Breiner says

    Stuffing or as some people call it, filling, is one of the holiday foods I love. Even though it is so easy to make, I only make it on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think it is time to change my ways!

  97. Brenda says

    I love making (and eating!) the cornbread dressing recipe that my mother and grandmother always made — nothing tastes better or reminds me of home more than that dish!

  98. Samantha says

    I most look forward to my mother’s hot fruit casserole at the Thanksgiving dinner table – a mix of pineapple, apricot, pear, and spiced apple baked in a sherried butter sauce.

    I will definitely be trying this chocolate cake recipe!

  99. Jessica @ OrganicallYou says

    I am looking forward to Thanksgiving because I am going on a cruise! I would love to win either of these amazing Fair Trade giveaways! Thanks for the chance to win :)

  100. katie says

    I love all the side dishes. Who needs turkey and ham when you can eat delish items like sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, cranberries, and the list goes on.

  101. says

    Awesome giveaway! The thing I most look forward to at Thanksgiving is the gravy…it makes everything else taste better, and unlike other things on the Thanksgiving table, I really only have it at that time of year.

  102. Dorothea says

    Who cares about the baking soda if a cake looks this good!!! Chocolate is our family’s favorite and this one looks so delicious. And be it a coincidence, I just got all Ina’s cookbooks from the library this Monday!
    Happy Halloween Alexandra!

  103. says

    My mom makes popcorn balls during Christmas time, but I must admit that every year I look forward to my Grandma’s Chinese New Year dinner, the only time of the year we get the best homecooked duck in the world!

  104. Nicole says

    I lurve Lake Champlain Chocolate (and vanilla lip balm)! I look forward to stuffing made with some homemade bread, kale and sausage. Mmmmm tastes just like the holidays.

  105. christine says

    For Thanksgiving look forward to roasted parsnips, rutabaga & sweet potatoes. At Christmastime love making cookies with my family.
    Thanks!

  106. Christy says

    I wait all year for my Mom’s pumpkin pie! It’s wonderful! I would love to win the hot cocoa’s – they sound delicious! Thank you.

  107. Caitlin says

    The best Thanksgiving treat in my family is definitely the chocolate pecan pie that my mom makes. I have a monopoly on most baking projects in the household, but I can’t compete with this one. My mom has the magic touch when it comes to her candy-bar dressed in pie clothing.

  108. Ali says

    Speaking of Ina and the holiday season, her Spinach Gratin has become a stable on our T-Givs menu. It’s utterly decadent with Parm, Gruyere, and heavy cream–and perfect as a special dish to be served once a year.

  109. Dawn Sweeps says

    My sweet potato casserole and my special 4 cheese macaroni and cheese are the most requested items at Thanksgiving. The mac and cheese is made often, but the sweet potato casserole is reserved for Thanksgiving only. There are also the desserts….that’s my favorite part!

  110. Kat says

    Every Thanksgiving I cook a turkey and my Dad’s stuffing recipe which I have been cooking for the past 20+ years. Thanks for the giveaway.

  111. Susan Christy says

    I love cookie and candy making at Christmas. My favorite things to make and eat are Pumpkin Cheesecake bars with salted caramel swirl & a delicious white chocolate, cranberry & pecan tart.

  112. michelle says

    my favorite thanksgiving tradition is gathering with family and friends and eating lots of sides and dessert…and just little bit of turkey :)

  113. Kevin says

    my favorite tradition is gathering around at my family’s early morning and making turkey congee. it is the best thing ever! if you don’t know what congee is, it’s basically rice pouridge. overcooked rice with lots of water that can be flavored any way you like. in this case, we like to use turkey on thanksgiving. it gives it extra seasoning and this smoky flavor.

  114. Sam says

    We love cornbread-sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving and then having it again with a poached egg for breakfast the next day!

  115. Susan L says

    I could just eat stuffing and be happy! I have an old recipe off a Bell’s Stuffing Mix box that has cranberries, apples, and walnuts! The best!

  116. Kelsey W says

    This cake looks amazing! The thing I look forward to the most at Thanksgiving is my Mom’s dressing. These days I’m actually the one who makes it, but somehow it always tastes the best when it’s made in her kitchen, using her bowls, and with her looking over my shoulder.

  117. courtney says

    my favorite thanksgiving tradition is when my family heads to my aunt’s house in the mountains and it’s cold outside, but warm inside and we drink wine and laugh and nibble and much and are so full by the time the food is ready but it’s all so delicious (and a bit on the non-traditional side) so we stuff ourselves anyway and we don’t regret a minute of it because it’s so wonderful!

  118. Heather says

    My family does a large fondue dinner (cheese, meat, and chocolate!) every year on Christmas Eve. I look forward to it all year long. Because you’re only eating one bite at a time, and have to wait to cook many of those individual bites in the hot oil, it’s a slow luxurious dinner filled with lots of conversation.

  119. ikkinlala says

    I’m not sure whether your giveaway is open to Canadians (just in case, my favourite tradition is playing crokinole with family and friends over the holiday season), but your cake looks delicious even without the baking soda.

  120. Allison Downes says

    I always look forward to making a pumpkin cake roll

    Thank you for the nice giveaway!

    lola_violets_2010{AT}yahoo{DOT}com

  121. ginger m says

    I’m just going to say it…I make THE best stuffing…ever. It’s the best because it’s simple and just the way I like it, bread, butter, onion and lots and lots of fresh sage. I do it first thing in the morning and I feel overly accomplished. Also, I’ve been to Lake Champlain chocolates….fantastic place!!

  122. Pei says

    I don’t have one particular component that I love about Thanksgiving dinner – I’m looking forward to experiencing a whole plate of delicious flavors!! Our family combines traditional American dishes with some Asian favorites i.e. dumplings, ginger scallion salmon etc – the only time all of these different favorites comes together!

  123. Amy L says

    My husband makes the turkey for Thanksgiving and I SO look forward to the stuffing he makes. It’s old-fashioned, with bread and herbs, and it it amazing!

  124. Jamie says

    Thanksgiving is really delicious, everything about it. #1. Hand-traced Turkeys, with people inspiration/gratitude written on the palm, decorated however one personally feels their turkey should look. #2. Anything home made with fresh ingredients and love. It’s true…I can’t even sit here and think of my favorite. I have had SO many good dishes, and they always have those two things in common.

  125. Stacia says

    My favorite tradition is prepping homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve and baking them up for the family in the morning.

  126. lizzie says

    Beatrice Ojakangas s danish pastries made in the food processor………..spicy swedish cookies………..sage and onion stuffing. Pecan pie with the nuts chopped quite small.

  127. lizzie says

    Beatrice Ojakangas s danish pastries made in the food processor………..spicy swedish cookies………..sage and onion stuffing. Pecan pie with the nuts chopped quite small.

  128. Charlotte says

    My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is pork roast with enough really good gravy that you could have it as a beverage. The best part is making the pork stock ahead of time. I use fresh hocks, and try to find something interesting to do with all the luscious meat left once the hock has flavored the stock.

  129. C says

    My favorite tradition is making a huge breakfast on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas morning we have homemade cinnamon rolls and cafe lattes! Yum

  130. says

    I’m not complicated, my favorite thing is simply the stuffing cooked in turkey. I could inhale it. Such flavor from the turkey’s juices. And of course some turkey. Love the little dark meat nuggets under the drummies. After that, my pumpkin pie made with sweetened condensed milk. Yum!

  131. Whitney Lindeman says

    Ohhh my favorite will always be green bean casserole! With tons of crispy fried onions, of course. I think I’m the only one who likes it, because I’m ALWAYS the one to make it!

  132. Cindy A. says

    Turkey, dressing, and candied sweet potatoes. I could live on those three treats for the rest of my life and be perfectly content.

  133. Angela says

    Super excited about fresh cranberries, persimmons, and citrus!
    Love making cranberry sauce, olive oil-orange cake, and persimmon bread.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  134. Marwa says

    My favorite part of thanksgiving is the jalapeño cream corn. It’s always the first to go. This year, I also want to incorporate some of my culture into the day. I’m going to attempt to make my mom’s baklava and kak.

  135. Katherine says

    My sweetie’s mother-in-law was famous for her nut rolls at Christmas, which her daughters said came from a secret recipe. Not knowing any better, I asked her about them and she whipped out the recipe. Now it’s my Christmas treat to savor and to give away, especially now that she’s gone. She’d make like 40 loaves. I settle for four and they’re all in her memory.

  136. Marcie says

    Pie – any kind but pumpkin, cherry, lemon or apple are my best for the holidays. My mom is tasked with the pie making and she learned it from my nana and now my sister and I are keeping the tradition going. I am really looking forward to it!

  137. Rebecca Carey says

    Last year I made Sugared Cinnamon Almonds in my slow cooker. The kitchen and the slow cooker smelled like cinnamon for days! It’s my new holiday tradition.

  138. says

    I try to buy organic, fair-traded goods whenever possible, but even more essential to me is the assurance that it’s 100% VEGAN. Read “The World Peace Diet” by Will Tuttle. Most brilliant book EVER!

  139. Mayra J says

    The dish I look forward to the most for Thanksgiving is my tia’s sweet potato and marshmallows casserole. The crispiness of the outside and smoothness of the inside is a great texture combination!

  140. Leah says

    As this post features a birthday cake, I’ll share with you my fav. My mom has an old newspaper clipping titled Marva William’s cake. It is essentially a sponge cake with real chocolate whipped cream frosting. Once it comes out of the oven, my mom cools it upside down on a bottle. I’ve requested this cake for my birthday for as long as I can remember. Now, 30+ years later, if my mom makes it when I am not at home, I get a phone call letting me know who received my customary special treat of licking the beaters!

  141. Heather says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for cooking and baking! Among other dishes, I will make my grandmother’s squash biscuits. She made these wonderful soft rolls every year until she was 93. I will also make the gravy using her silver spoon, literally worn down at the edge from years of stirring. She passed away last month, and we will all remember her as we sit down to the table. Maybe with this new chocolate cake recipe!

  142. Twyla says

    Love your recipes! My favorite is Thanksgiving Turkey with homemade sage sausage stuffing. My best friend, who passed away 2 years ago, taught me and my daughter how to make it, and now, my daughter and I carry on her tradition. It would not be Thanksgiving without our dear Frannie’ s stuffing! We are so grateful that she shared so many wonderful holidays with us.

  143. Aly says

    I am a traditionalist when it comes to my Thanksgiving meal. Standard Roast Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes/gravy & butternut squash! I look forward to the planning of this meal & spending hours preparing for my family.

  144. Anisha says

    Here in India, what I love most about the festival season is the tradition of sharing food. Starting with Diwali, when we go to my friend’s house to feast on her mother’s homemade Indian sweets and savouries, until Christmas, when my mother makes her fruit cake and we go around giving it to our neighbours, there’s a joy in giving and receiving homemade food that is deeply engrained in our culture. To add to it is the tradition that you never return a box or plate empty – you always have to send it back with something in it.

  145. Heather says

    Since moving from Louisiana to California, I’ve come to appreciate the Cajun cooking passed down from my Maw-Maw and my Mom. During the holidays, I make batches of pralines drizzled with chocolate and give them to my friends and neighbors… It’s my way of brining a little Cajun to the West Coast!

  146. Deb says

    First of all, this cake is so AMAZING, as is your blog. I enjoy it so much and come looking for inspiration and ideas all the time. I’m looking forward to Christmas baking and spending time with my family most of all. I love making Christmas cookies and homemade hot chocolate. For Thanksgiving, I’m thinking I may have to try a fun new pie and a twist on a standard veggie.

    • says

      Preeti, it is beautiful! You are a true artist! I was thinking of you because on our way home from CT, we rolled into town around dinner hour and had a serious craving for Indian food, so we did a yelp search and came up with Karavalli…it was SO good! Have you been? our favorite was the lamb madras.

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