A Sailing We Will Go…

The oppressive heat of the Florida summer is finally starting to wind down, and it’s time for me to gear up the baking again.

Although, not this week. Due to my guilt at not writing anything since June, I had the brilliant idea of giving a report out on the desserts that I’d tried on a recent cruise that Scott and I took. We were on Carnival, which can be a hit-or-miss when it comes to desserts eaten outside of the main dining rooms. And NOTHING beats their Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.

So, let’s dive on in!

Key Lime with Graham Cracker Crust and Almond Napoleon – Upper Deck Buffet


Florida is a good place to track down decent Key Lime Pie. The best place that I’ve ever had a slice was Key West (go figure). So, you would assume that any port in Florida would have access to the right ingredients.

From the first bite, I could tell that they had probably used a lime-flavored gelatin instead of the fresh lime juice. Granted, it is harder to keep ingredients fresh on a cruise ship, so substitutions are common (I won’t go into the “Mushroom Alfredo” that I know started life as cream of mushroom soup).   And I will give them props for making everything fresh on board (they claim). However, not terribly impressed by it.  Perhaps they should have borrowed some of the fresh limes from the bar.

The almond napoleon also left me a bit wanting. A napoleon is not something that I have had a lot of, but I’m pretty sure that the pastry part is not supposed to be limp. And I think that there should have been a bit of almond flavor.  And it had what I think were blueberries in it.  However, they had no flavor, so I don’t know for sure.

Bitter and Blanc – Main Dining Room


I believe that this was supposed to be their version of bread pudding. Normally I stick to the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake at dinner, but this was for research (and I just can’t bring myself to order more than one dessert, even if it is a cruise ship and everyone is doing it.) Anyway, I was excited to try this after reading the description.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The semi-sweet chocolate custard was lovely (I would have loved a little dish of it to pour on top since I there didn’t seem to be enough of it, and the vanilla custard soaked immediately into the rest of the pudding), and the “bread” was flavorful. There was also a lot of it. The top was covered with four croutons (toasted bread cubes, for lack of a better description), that I ended picking off since they were a bit too much on the crunchy side for my taste. Once I got past the top bit of custard, I was faced with about three inches of nothing but bread until I reached the bottom. I dug around until I found more chocolate custard on the bottom, but I was so full from the bread, that I didn’t finish it.

Banana Cake – Upper Deck Buffet


Normally I am not one to like banana in desserts, but this was a delightful surprise. They called it a banana cake, but it was more of a pie, having a lovely crisp crust on the bottom and yummy and banana-y custard filling. If I wasn’t eating different desserts for research and they offered this dessert every day, I would have stuck with this one any time we ate in the buffet restaurant. Sorry about the half-eaten quality of the picture. Scott dove in before I could get a full glamor shot. The cake is also accompanied by two chocolate chip cookies. Those are pretty good, but I don’t cover them in this post.

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake – Main Dining Room


This must be the Mecca of all chocolate cake desserts. I had never had anything like it the first time I ate one, and I doubt that anything will come close. This is not a chocolate dessert for the faint of heart. This is a warm, dense, gooey, cup of soul-soothing chocolate like no other. The top appears to be just another small dish of chocolate cake topped with powdered sugar. The first spoonful soon betrays the secret hidden inside each cup – this cake has molten goodness straight to it’s core. And this isn’t milk chocolate, either. This is grab-you-by-the-tastebuds-and-shake-you-like-a-dog semi-sweet chocolate.  Served with vanilla ice cream so you aren’t too overwhelmed by the chocolate.


I want one right now. I have the recipe. I will have to try making it.

Linzer Torte and Pear Torte – Upper Deck Buffet


I took one bite out of each of these because that was enough. The Pear torte was really a piece of chocolate cake that had a bit of candied pear on top with some vanilla custard or something like it (custard is very popular, I’m noticing). The Linzer torte was a piece of spice cake smeared with a flavorless red jam and latticed with an equally flavorless pastry. In comparing pictures of Linzer tortes with the above photo, I’m thinking that they may need to hire a new executive pastry chef.  Thank goodness for the chocolate chip cookie.

Carrot Cake – On board coffee shop


Sweet mother of carrot cakes, this is a tasty thing to eat! Again, Scotty dove in before I had a chance to get a full shot.

This was everything a piece of carrot cake should be – nutty, carroty, just enough spices in the cake, slightly sweet cream cheese frosting…my mouth is drooling just at the thought of it!. And to top it all off, your own marzipan carrot!  We split this while playing multiple rounds of trivia on a rainy afternoon (Silly people thought they could beat me at Ultimate Disney Trivia.  Peasants.)

I have one or two more that I tried, but frankly I’m on so much of a sugar high from just writing all this that I need to stop!  I promise that I will update more often now that the weather has cooled off.  Sure, it’s in the high 80’s vs the mid to high 90’s, but that is a start, right?

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes


Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Scott has been boring in his treat choices lately.  He really just wants cookies to take to work, but I keep running across all of these crazy-good-looking recipes that I am itching to try.  So, this week, I made him cookies (white chocolate macadamia nut, may post that later), and I made a fresh strawberry and yogurt cake for my coworkers. 

Late January and February is strawberry season in central Florida.  There’s even a strawberry festival that celebrates them. (It’s pretty cool.  Lots of food with strawberries.  All of it delicious.)  So, we have them in great abundance and for pretty good prices in local grocery stores.  I found a recipe for oven baked strawberries on Pinterest (damn you, Pinterest) that I can’t wait to try. 

Anyway, I knew that I had to make this as soon as I saw it…and the results were amazing!

Original recipe found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/fresh-strawberry-yogurt-cake-426872

What you Need:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 lemon, zested
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt or 8 ounces vanilla, greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

And Here’s What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan.  Sift together 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in the lemon zest.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.  Alternate adding the yogurt and the flour mixture, mixing until all incredients just until incorporated.

3. Add in the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the strawberries into the rest of the batter.

4. Add the batter into the Bundt pan.  Bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. (I baked for about 65 minutes)

5. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cook completely.  Once the cake is cooled, whisk together the remaining 2Tbsp of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

What I Did

I followed the recipe (I know, shocking for me as of late).  I’m not a cake maker, so I am unsure as to where I have wiggle room in those recipes.

I did not glaze the top, as my cake was a little broken when it came out of the pan.


I promise that I followed the recipe and following the instructions!  I don’t know why it broke!


Scott has been under the weather this week, so I’ve been kicking around in the kitchen while he sleeps as much as he can before trundling off to work.  The night I made this, I woke him up and asked him if he wanted a piece.  I got a muffled “No, thank you.  I have cookies.”, and assumed that he wouldn’t touch it. 

I was wrong.

After sending him off to work, I returned to the kitchen to find that we’d been robbed!  But the thief only took a large hunk of the cake.  So, I think he looked at it and couldn’t resist…Anyway, I sliced up the rest and let my coworkers have a go.  At one point, one of them was hunched over while eating it, emulating Golum petting his Precious.  I swear I almost saw tears come out of his eyes.

I think I will make this one again.