chocolate mashed potato cake

when you have the responsibility of bringing a cake to a meeting each week, you can run out of ideas.  after all, no matter how great something is, most people like variety.  luckily for me, i have a large file of recipes and a fearless sense of adventure when it comes to baking cakes.

so if you take that sense of adventure and add chocolate to it, chances are you get a good cake.  when i wrote my second book, i included many cake recipes that were considered classics.  cakes such as angel food, hummingbird, blackberry jam, tomato soup and many more.  one of my favorites is a chocolate mashed potato cake.  potatoes are a wonderful addition to cakes and breads.  they add moisture and structure and very little potato flavor.

chocolate mashed potato cake
1 (12 cup) bundt or tube pan serving at least 16
1 large baking potato
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
glaze recipe, follows
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a large bundt or tube pan and set it aside.  peel the potato and cut it into large cubes.  place in a sauce pot and cover with water.  place over medium high heat, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.  drain the water off and using a masher or a mixer, mash the potatoes until no lumps (or very small ones) remain.  measure out 3/4 cup for the recipe.  take the remaining potatoes, season them as you desire and eat them before they get cold.  
in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, place the sugar, cake flour and baking soda and with the mixer on low, allow the mixture to combine, about 1 minute.  add the potatoes, butter, melted chocolate and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine.  raise the speed to medium and allow it to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  while this beats, whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk.  slowly add the mixture to the batter.  scrape the bowl well and combine it completely.  scrape the batter into a pan and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about an hour.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then remove it from the pan to finish cooling on a rack.  prepare the glaze recipe and glaze the cake after it is completely cooled. 
chocolate ganache glaze

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup half and half

place the ingredients in a small saute pan over low heat.  as it heats, stir to melt the chocolate.  do not let it boil or simmer.  keep stirring until half the chocolate is melted.  remove from the heat and stir to melt the remaining lumps.  use a piping bag or a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

potato bread

it’s confession time.  i’ve made this bread before-several times actually.  making it for this weeks tuesdays with dorie challenge was not much of a challenge for me.  actually, i was looking forward to the bread-it is simple and almost guaranteed to work each time.  this weeks challenge is hosted by dawn of simply sweet so if you are looking for the recipe, buy the book or visit dawn’s blog.

this right here was the only hiccup in my plan:  no russet potatoes in the house!  actually, i made the bread with a combination of yukon gold and russian banana fingerlings and of course, 1 lonely rose potato.

when cooked, they were a buttery yellow, except that rose colored one which stayed a subtle pink shade.

all mashed up and ready to mix-the pink is no longer obvious

when the potatoes were mashed and mixed into the dough, it wasn’t very obvious that i used potatoes with color.  the directions tell you the first mixing stage will resemble pie dough and that was a very accurate description.

it starts off looking dry and then transforms into a soft and sticky dough.

as stated in the mixing directions, the dough is very similar to brioche in behavior as well as appearance.

but when the mixer stops, after the full 11 minutes, it is most definitely a bread dough.

the loaves are easy to shape and quick to rise.

and just as quick to bake!
restraining myself was the hard part-who can resist warm bread?

just look at the interior!  i subbed a cup of whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour and split the remaining amount evenly with bread flour and all purpose flour to make up for the lack of structure of the creamy potatoes.  in the end, it worked like a charm and i will not hesitate to use different potato varieties in the future.  bake on friends and be sure to visit the tuesdays with dorie page to see how the other bakers did!

potato crusted meatloaf pie; #32 of 52 pies

to keep things interesting, i like to use my weekly pie as a means to put dinner on the table.  in this heat, it hit 101 in nashville today, that makes baking any kind of pie, whether it is sweet or savory, a true challenge.  not only does it heat the house up, you then end up eating a hot meal while you sweat.  not at all what i wanted to do!  but i did want to try and make a pie crust of mashed potatoes and a filling made of meatloaf.

the mashed potatoes are slightly drier than usual and they are spread out evenly in a greased pie plate to make a bottom crust.  after prebaking the crust, it is ready to be filled with meatloaf.

the filling is made with lean ground turkey, 93% fat free, and studded with chopped mushrooms, grated carrots and zucchini.  the leaner the meat is, the firmer the filling will be and less fat will be incorporated into the potato crust.  the result is a lean but hearty meal.  another advantage to the filling recipe is that it can be made with any lean meat.  and for those that are gluten sensitive, the bread crumbs called for can be replaced with a gluten free bread or cracker to make this a gluten free meal.

the top crust is spread over the meatloaf filling and it bakes up in about an hour.

potato crusted meatloaf pie
1 (9″) deep dish pie serving 8
potato crust
6 potatoes, fist sized-peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
place the potatoes and salt in a saucepot and cover with water.  bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.  drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl and mash with the butter and salt until almost no lumps remain.  set aside while the filling is prepared.
meatloaf filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 pound lean ground meat-maximum fat content of 93%
2/3 cup bread crumbs
3 egg whites (or 2 large eggs)
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried italian herb blend
preheat the oven to 750.  saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until they begin to caramelize.  add the mushrooms, lower the heat a bit and cover the pan to cause the mushrooms to sweat and release their juices.  continue to saute over medium-low heat until the mushrooms are cooked then remove from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl to allow them to cool a bit.   combine all of the ingredients for the meatloaf in the bowl and using gloves, thoroughly mix and knead the filling together.
to shape the bottom crust, grease the pie dish and place slightly more than half of the potatoes in the dish.  with a rubber spatula, carefully spread and shape the potatoes into a layer that evenly covers the bottom and sides of the dish.  prebake the crust for 20 minutes.  remove from the oven, spread the filling evenly in the crust and top with the remaining potatoes by spreading them evenly over meatloaf.  place the pie on a baking sheet to catch the drips, lower the oven to 350 and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 for turkey or 155 for beef, about 1 hour.   allow the pie to rest for 10-15 minutes then cut into wedges and serve.
hopefully, you will enjoy this as much as we did.  this is one that i plan to make again, just as soon as the temperature outside drops by 50 degrees, literally…bake one and send me a photo.  i promise that you will see it here!  stay cool my friends.

back in business with pie #13, potato knish pie

this has by far been the longest two weeks of my life!  never in my wildest dreams would i have thought that i could miss having my oven.  when the heating element in my oven burned out, my first thought was that it was time for a new oven.  we had already spent a lot of money to have the burners repaired/rewired due to the excessive workouts our cheap electric range gets.  the visions of a new range, a gas range, a gas range with a convection oven…pick one, they all danced around my head like sugar plums at christmas.  then was the realization that i would need to hire a plumber to run the gas lines, buy a not so cheap range and i’m sure i don’t need to explain.  we then thought about just replacing the electric box with another and still, it was more than we wanted to spend right now.  after a quick internet search for elements and youtube how to videos, we went the cheapest route and ordered parts.

the parts arrived and my husband set about installing the new element.  it all went well and i am back in the business of baking.  with the oven out of action for two weeks, i had to use up a big bag of potatoes in a hurry.  normally, i cut the potatoes into wedges, toss them in olive oil and seasoned salt and then bake up oven fries.  but for some reason, i wanted to make a more substantial dish with them-a pommes anna or a gratin/scalloped potato dish and since my in house repair man has a thing for knishes, a knish pie was the solution to my abundance of potatoes.  the nice thing about this dish, it doesn’t really require a recipe.  it can be made in any size dish and with any kind of potatoes.

while my potatoes for the filling boiled, i used my mandoline to slice some potatoes into thin rounds.  they were layered into a greased glass pie dish and brushed with some olive oil.

the boiled potatoes were mashed and mixed with caramelized onions and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper and combined with some freshly grated asiago cheese.  this was carefully packed into the “crust”.

a final layer of potatoes was arranged over the filling and also was brushed with some olive oil.  into the oven it went!

 an hour and 15 minutes at 400 and my pie was ready.  this pie is so versatile.  the filling could be made with any potatoes you like-how about purple potatoes?  mix in some parsnips or other root vegetables or maybe some of your favorite herbs.  want a vegan dish-leave out the cheese or for you meat lovers, add some crumbled bacon, chives and cheddar for a loaded potato pie.

potato knish pie
1 (9″) pie serving 8

potato crust
6 medium baking potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
wash the potatoes and using a mandolin or similar slicer, slice the potatoes no thicker than 1/16″ thick.  grease the pie dish and layer the slices in the bottom and up the sides of the dish.  brush carefully with the olive oil using a soft bristle brush.  save the remaining slices to decorate the top of the pie.

knish filling
6 cups diced potatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1/4″diced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely shredded asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
preheat the oven to 400.  place the potatoes in a pot, cover them with water and gently boil until soft.  heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions until translucent-3-4 minutes.  add the garlic and continue to saute until a golden brown color, stir frequently to prevent burning.  drain the potatoes and using a ricer or a food mill (if you have one, otherwise just use what you have) mash the potatoes to remove the lumps.  add the onions/garlic and cheese and mix well.  season them to taste with the salt and pepper.  when finished, carefully fill the crust with the mashed potatoes and smooth it out.  use the remaining sliced potatoes to cover the top of the pie.  bake the pie until the potatoes are a nice golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 9″ dish.  cut into wedges to serve.

this dish can be served with gravy of any kind if you have to eat your mashers with gravy.  a dollop of sour cream may also be a good garnish.  for those knish fans out there, you know that nothing else is necessary!

and as always, make one, send me the photo and see it here!

welcome back mr. kenmore!