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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya // Karista's Kitchen

I’m a little late on that promise!  I promised to post this decadent little recipe yesterday and I got completely side-tracked with other projects. I think my brain is mush these days.  I try not to multi-task and that’s the problem.  I like to focus.  Focus generates quality.  And I like quality; especially if it’s got my name on it.

I found that my thoughts on this subject have been researched and I most recently came across this study conducted at Stanford University which states “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully”.   I feel so validated.

Yes, there are moments I am forced to multi-task.  But as I tell my children… it’s not my favorite.  These are the words I often say when one of them is standing in front of my desk talking and all I see are lips moving because I’m so focused.  This does not make my people happy – but I know they will completely understand one day.

Until then, let’s eat chocolate!

I created this lovely recipe this past spring for the fabulous folks at Home By Design Magazine.  However, I’ve been making this Mexican Chocolate Sauce for years.  The one thing I love about chocolate?  It’s not seasonal!  Which is great news because I have to admit, I keep a chocolate drawer in the kitchen.  And I have a little piece each day.  Unless I indulge in a slice of this cake, slathered with the chocolate sauce and topped with fresh papaya.

If you’re not keen on baking a cake during this hot summer season, just buy one.  But definitely make the sauce and find a fresh papaya.

Perfect for a weeknight, weekend dinner guests or a weekend barbecue.  And I’ve been known to have a slice for breakfast.  🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

Serving Size: 8

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya


    For The Cake
  • ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Papaya slices
  • Sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
    For the Sauce
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, crumbled
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 drops almond or coffee extract
  • Pinch of cayenne


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a standard 5 x 9 loaf pan.
  • Whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time while mixing and then mix in the unsweetened cocoa mixture until all ingredients are blended.
  • Add the flour to the batter and mix gently or on low speed until the batter is smooth and combined.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place it into the oven. Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool 10 minutes before slicing.
  • To prepare the Mexican Chocolate Sauce, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.
  • In a medium saucepan add the cream and water over medium low heat. Once the cream and water are heated through, whisk in the melted chocolate and cinnamon. Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in the extract and pinch of cayenne.
  • This sauce can be refrigerated up to one week. Re-heat as necessary.
  • To serve, top each slice with fresh Mexican chocolate sauce and papaya slices. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint if desired.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    It has been one of those weeks that desperately required a sweet.  Not just any little ole sweet but a down and dirty, honest to goodness, sweet.  Which for me is anything that includes chocolate.

    I think this cake has it all.  It’s totally and unabashedly sweet. The kind of sweet that requires either a large glass of milk or a lovely cup of tea.  A cake rich with banana, dark chocolate, marshmallow cream and another drizzle of chocolate.  I believe I have achieved my goal.

    This cake recipe came from one of my favorite chocolate cookbooks written by Max Brenner, Chocolate, A Love Story.  The original title is so fun it caught my eye immediately – Lipstick Banana Chocolate Cake Bonbons enrobed in well-behaved white chocolate and a nutmeg lady’s coat.  How fun is that?  It stopped my page turning immediately.  I read through it, bookmarked it and now it’s one of my go to sweet recipes for when I need a little indulgence.  I’ve made the recipe as written and then I’ve deviated.  I think you know by now I love to deviate.

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    This is my deviated version, or one of them at least.  I was too lazy to cut squares out of the cake to make the bonbons, so I decided to make the recipe using these cute little cupcake papers.  Rather than topping these cakes with the white chocolate glaze, I did what I often do… top that cake with some marshmallow cream.  I know, you can’t believe I have marshmallow cream in my pantry!  I do.  It sneaks in the pantry once a year around the holidays for baking and for dipping into with large spoons for general holiday merriment.   For some reason my jar of marshmallow cream was never opened this last holiday.  So I put it to good use on these cakes.

    These are fun, festive and most of all, satisfies the sweet tooth!

    I’m taking a little time off to enjoy my family this next week.  A little hiking, a little biking, lots of reading, my daughter hopes a little shopping is included, definitely exploring some new restaurants and popping open that bottle of Rocca wine I’ve beens saving.  If you are on Instagram I’ll be posting some candids of our week so be sure to check it out.  And I promise I’ll post something completely delicious when I return.  Happy Spring!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    6 large mini cakes or 12 cupcakes or 1 8-inch loaf

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Cake recipe by Max Brenner from Chocolate, A Love Story


    • 4 ripe bananas
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, room temperature
    • 3/4 sugar
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons aged brown rum (I used 1 teaspoon rum extract)
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips (I probably used a bit more)
      For the Topping
    • Marshmallow Cream
    • 1/4 cup dark chocolate
    • 1 tablespoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Either butter and flour an 8 inch loaf pan or use cupcake liners for a cupcake tin
  • In an electric mixer or by hand, mix together the mashed bananas, butter and sour cream until smooth. Gradually mix in the sugar, egg and rum or rum extract.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, mixing just until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan or cupcake tin and then place them in the oven. Turn the heat down to 325F. Bake until puff and golden brown on top. The loaf pan should take about 40 minutes, the cupcakes should take about 20-30 minutes.
  • Gently heat the dark chocolate and tablespoon of water in the microwave 10-15 seconds at a time, whisking gently until the chocolate is smooth enough to drizzle.
  • Let the cake/cupcakes cool and then top with marshmallow cream and chocolate drizzle right before serving.
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    Karista's Kitchen Sweets vegetarian

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    pear galette

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    My culinary journey has been a winding road.  Sometimes with hairpin turns and sometimes with steep uphill jogs. (If you know me, you know I am NOT a jogger) A few downhill walks and some lovely flat, grassy roads have led me from the past to the present.

    And it seems that in every phase, I gain a little more passion and a bit more vision into my culinary world.  Often scribbling words that become my foodie quotes.  Pieces of paper with the written word littering the top of my desk.  I find notes in my handbags, in my drawers,  in my files, and a few found their way into the kitchen junk drawer.  🙂

    Today, I often find myself thinking of this quote.  The one that truly speaks my heart. “Food should not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul and nourish our bodies while delighting our senses”.  So with every recipe I create, or cook, or teach, this is always my reminder.

    Pear Galette

    Delighting the senses is exactly what I had in mind when I created this dish.  I’m often asked to review new food products. Most of them I turn down.  However, a few have captured my attention.

    The Spicy Gourmet company contacted me and asked if I would review their new line of organic and fair trade spices.  They had me at organic and fair trade.  But would flavor be just as impressive?  I was delighted and intrigued.

    Dinesh Perera of The Spicy Gourmet sent me the Classic Garam Masala Spice Kit.  So off to testing I went.

    Thinking seasonal, thinking spicy, thinking holiday parties made me think of something sweet.  Festive and just a little indulgent.  But just a little.  😉

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce.  A little spicy, a little saucy and a lot of delicious.  The Classic Garam Masala is an exquisite spicy blend, perfect for all savory dishes.  But I loved the idea of this spicy blend in a sweet dish.

    I did cut the black pepper in half as well as the cumin and then added in a little ginger and nutmeg.  Perfect.

    I adore fresh, whole, spices, ground as needed for optimum flavor.  I was so impressed with the quality, taste and fragrance of my new spices, I chucked my old bottles of cardamom and cloves!

    Many thanks to Dinesh Perera at The Spicy Gourmet for allowing me the opportunity to test their products.  This is a small company with big flavor.

    Wishing you all a happy, healthy and most delicious holiday season.

    Loads of Love,


    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Serves 6-8


    Galette Dough

    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup cold butter, cubed

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon sugar

    ½ cup ice-cold water


    3-4 pears, sliced

    1 tablespoon butter, diced

    2 teaspoons Spicy Gourmet Garam Masala*

    ½ teaspoon Ginger

    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

    1/3 cup sugar (I love using Coconut Palm Sugar in this recipe)

    Chocolate Drizzle

    4 ounces dark chocolate

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    2-3  tablespoons water


    Prepare the dough –  In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

    While the food processor is on slowly add ½ cup water.  The dough should form a ball to one side of the food processor bowl.  If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.

    Place the dough in the center of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

    Prepare the filling – Place the pears in a large bowl and toss with the diced butter, Garam Masala, ginger and nutmeg.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Roll out the dough into a large circle.  Place the galette dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.

    Reserve about 5-6 slices of pear.  Place the remaining pears in the center of the galette dough, leaving about a 2 inch border.  Pull up the sides to form an open face tart.  Artfully place the remaining pears on top of the other pears in the center of the galette.  Brush the galette with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar.

    Place the galette into the oven and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.  Turn down the heat to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the galette is golden brown.

    While the galette is baking make the chocolate sauce.

    In a double boiler melt the chocolate and whisk in the heavy cream and water until smooth and glossy. Adding all the water if you’d like the sauce a bit thinner.

    When the galette is done, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Drizzle the chocolate sauce on top, reheating the sauce if necessary.

    Drizzle dessert plates with a little more chocolate sauce and then place slices on top of the sauce. Serve immediately.

    *Each Garam Masala will have a different blend of spices.  I highly recommend blending your own Garam Masala with spices from the Spicy Gourmet.  However, if you have your own Garam Masala blend, or purchased a prepared Garam Masala, be sure it doesn’t include the ginger or nutmeg.  If it does, then feel free to omit the ginger and nutmeg in the recipe, or add in a little less if desired.

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    My two sassy gals love this cake.

    A slice of spice

    Actually, my two sassy gals love all cake.  And I can’t forget my main man, Ranger Craig.  He lives for cake.  And seafood with sauce on top. He’s a saucy guy 🙂

    My Two Sassy Gals

    Hmmm… two sassy gals and a saucy guy.  Sounds like my family’s a handful.  They are.  And I love every sassy, saucy moment!

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    Thanks so much to my sweet friend Heidi Rodgers for sharing this fabulously delicious recipe with me!


    1 package (2 layer size) spice cake mix

    1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened and divided

    1 cup canned pumpkin

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    ½ tsp ground ginger

    6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

    ½ cup thawed cool whip topping

    2 tablespoons sugar


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake mix as directed on package, reducing water to ½ cup and increasing oil to ½ cup.  Add half of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Stir in chopped chocolate.  Pour into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10 inch tube pan.

    Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes then remove from the pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

    Mix the remaining cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar until well blended.  Spread on top of cooled cake.  Cut into 16 slices.

    *You can use yellow cake mix for the spice cake mix if you prefer.

    *I like the cake with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of the frosting.  But the Bennett Crew loves the frosting.

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Heidi’s Peanut Butter Cups

    Chocolate!  It’s time. It’s time I posted something über delicious and almost naughty.  And these little darlings are just that.  So delicious and so decadent and rich they almost feel like your breaking a rule or telling a fiblet (Fiblet… my word for when my two darling daughters don’t QUITE tell me the honest to gosh truth).

    In trying desperately to describe to you how wonderful and rich and “decadent” these confections taste, I decided I needed to pull out my handy Thesaurus.  I’m giggling as I read the synonyms for decadent.  Wicked, self-indulgent, and immoral.  Not quite the words I was looking for… but I did say they tasted almost naughty.

    I think I could say these candies are a little self-indulgent but not the least bit immoral!  A treat to be savored to the last bite.  Crunchy, crumbly and densely chocolate confections that put smiles on my family’s faces and made little giggles escape from my girls mouths.

    Thanks to my dear friend Heidi Rodgers for this latest and greatest chocolate treat.  Yes, she and my other culinary gal pal, Linda, are my go to treat recipe professionals.  Thanks ladies for keeping the Bennett Crew well stocked in yummy, and almost naughty :), treats.

    Better Than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

    Recipe created by Heidi Rodgers


    1/2 cup butter

    3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

    3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 squares)

    1/4 cup granulated sugar

    1 cup milk chocolate chips

    1/4 cup whole milk

    1/4 cup chopped peanuts


    Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.  Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups, about 2 Tbsp. per cup.

    Combine chocolate and milk in another saucepan.  Stir over medium until chocolate has melted.  Spoon as evenly as possible over peanut butter mixture.  Top with chopped nuts.  Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Almond Toffee Chocolate Squares

    All I can say about this recipe is WOW!  I don’t prepare many sweets at home as I’ll be the one consuming all that sugar.  However, a few weeks ago my friend Heidi sent me this recipe.  I finally had a chance to prepare it and it literally took 3 hours and every bar was gone.  I quickly blamed our big old dog, Elwood (our Airedale Terrier),  I thought he’d snagged all the bars off the kitchen counter!

    My big old boy Elwood the Airedale 🙂

    To save our old boy from the wrath of Mom, the Bennett crew confessed, they were the consumers of all those delicious treats.   So, I did what any good Mom would do, I made a second batch.  This time I doubled the recipe and after just one day, only half the bars are remaining.  I’m hiding the rest!

    These yummy little treats are divine!  A perfect picnic dessert, take to school treat, after soccer game treat or just a special treat for a weekend.  I have to confess, they even make a tasty little breakfast treat with coffee!

    Enjoy these decadent little bars, and don’t forget to hide a few for yourself!

    Thanks Heidi for sharing this yummy recipe!

    Makes 24 bars


    13 graham crackers (large rectangles)

    1 bag (8oz) toffee bits

    1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds

    1/2 cup sugar

    1 cup unsalted butter

    3/4 cup (4oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

    3/4 teaspoon coarse salt


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on the sheet, edges touching.  Sprinkle with toffee bits and almonds over the graham crackers.

    In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high.  Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture is syrupy about 2 minutes.

    Immediately pour over the graham crackers.  Bake until the sugar topping is bubbling, about 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over the crackers.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares.  Let cool completely on the sheet on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. (however, I think they’ll all be eaten in 1 week!)

    Recipe compliments of Heidi Rodgers

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Flourless Chocolate Cake

    Cake never lasts long in my house.  Especially flourless chocolate cake.  This light and fluffy cake is rich in dark chocolate and can be topped with whipped cream, ice cream or a simple raspberry sauce.  Although, my youngest daughter loves to smother her flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce.

    And I do have the loveliest of chocolate sauce recipes.  A Mexican chocolate sauce.  It’s divine!  Just click on the words “Mexican chocolate” and it’ll take you right to the recipe.  A little sweet, a little spicy.  A perfect topping for a perfect cake.

    Happy Baking!

    Flourless Chocolate Cake


    10 oz dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)

    ½ cup unsalted butter

    ½ cup granulated sugar

    6 eggs: 2 whole eggs, 4 separated eggs

    1 teaspoon coffee extract (or add 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

    Large 9 inch fluted pan or spring form pan

    For the topping:

    2 cups heavy cream

    1 teaspoon coffee extract

    2 tablespoons granulated sugar

    Cocoa powder for dusting

    Fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)


    Whip together heavy cream, coffee extract and sugar until cream is nicely firm


    Preheat the oven to 350F.  Liberally grease the cake pan with either butter, Crisco or coconut butter.

    In a saucepan melt the chocolate pieces over a double boiler or low heat and then add the butter.  Whisk gently to incorporate the butter.

    In a mixing bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the ½ cup of sugar.  Once light and fluffy, slowly add in the melted chocolate and butter, a little at a time so you don’t cook the eggs.

    In a second bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites and a tablespoon of sugar until the egg whites nicely hold their shape.  Add about ½ cup of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and incorporate into the batter.  Then slowly fold in the remaining egg whites being careful not to over mix.

    Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the cake is nice and firm in the center.

    Once the cake is done, cool slightly and then with a knife roll around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan onto a cake platter.   The cake will fall a bit in the center and looks very rustic which is absolutely ok.

    Prepare the whipped cream topping and then pour on top of cake.  Dust with cocoa powder and serve with fresh raspberries, strawberries, or sliced papaya.