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"Why does it always have to be chocolate?"

My sister-in-law used to make a pecan and chocolate torte/confection that was her special occasion dessert, and which she would bring to dinner at our house. My dad was as fond of chocolate as the next man (well, maybe not quite as much as the next man, pace Monty Python) and would always say the above, usually (but not always, not being a man of great tact) after my SIL left.
I love chocolate candy but it's not my favourite flavor in desserts or baked goods either. I'd far rather have something nutty (preferably almond, but any other nut will do), fruity (preferably stone fruits or citrus/lemon), caramel, or vanilla. I can go for a nice piece of good ole plain chocolate cake once in a while, but very seldom if ever order chocolate desserts when I'm out.
Japanese cheesecake (or others), madeleines, macarons, brutti ma buoni, lemon tart/meringue pie/squares, cherry or raspberry pie...all of those ring my chimes much more than chocolate "decadence"-style things.
Am I alone in this? What recipes do you turn to when the urge for something sweet but not chocolate hits?

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  1. Coming from someone who clearly knows their baking, I'm surprised by your story.

    I'm probably the only one in my family that can go huge stretches without chocolate of any kind. When I crave it a dark chocolate bar (just one corner) will do me fine and cover the craving for months. But, I do find myself accommodating the chocolate lust for my family often. Even simple mousse will do.

    When I crave a sweet a small batch caramel, something with almond flavor or really well made raspberry jam over a piece of cornbread makes me swoon. Savory over rich sweet I go for.

    1. I am savory gal, not a sweet one so even my sweets are not overly so. Salted cayenne caramels are to die for.

      One of my favorite fall desserts is an upside down pear tart that I add lots of fresh ginger to which adds a brightness.

      CI's lemon squares are sweet yet the lemon really comes thru.

      2 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          Oh, me too.

          Seems you might like to make a clafoutis, with fresh fruit and a sort of crêpe batter. And I LOVE fresh ginger.

        2. I totally get this! Especially since I find so many chocolate desserts are so intensely chocolate.

          My favorite sweet to have on hand lately is brown butter chocolate chip cookies...without the chocolate chips and with toasted pecans instead to cut back the sweetness even more. I can make a batch and keep them in the freezer so I can pull out just one or two at a time when a sweet craving hits.

          1. I have a huge sweet tooth, but I get migraines from most chocolates, which eliminates seems like every chocolate dessert (unless I make it myself, as I make only what I can tolerate).

            My favorite non-chocolate desserts are blueberry or cherry pie, coffee cake, cinnamon streusel cakes, vanilla bean ice cream with caramel sauce, and butterscotch pudding.

            1. Something combining almond paste and fruit will always top my list. While I have never been a slave to chocolate, when I was younger I preferred milk chocolate. Once I hit middle age my tastes changed and I now like bittersweet/dark. I've always liked white chocolate, though - probably because it plays well with fruit and does not overpower the fruit flavor.

              2 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  I do like a cookie or a bar with white chocolate in it.

                2. I completely agree with you. I enjoy chocolate too but it's not like it's the ONLY choice.

                  My faves are:
                  • bundt cakes -- lemon, pumpkin, apple, streusel
                  • old fashioned basics like bread pudding, rice pudding and creme brûlée
                  • cheesecakes with all manner of things including a little chocolate ganache

                  Above all, anything with cinnamon. …which actually adds an interesting note to chocolate. ;>

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: rainey

                    This.

                    I crave lemon and cinnamon the most.

                    Things I bake the most often:

                    -Scones (plain, or with cinnamon bits in them)
                    -Lemon Bundt cake
                    -Snickerdoodles!
                    -Brown sugar cookies (essentially choc chip cookies minus the chocolate)
                    -Apple pie, tart, or galette (with cinnamon, and sometimes caramel)
                    -Sweet rolls (cinnamon rolls, sticky buns with nuts)
                    -Pastries (I do love pain au chocolat, but chocolate is really overshadowed by the pastry)

                    Whenever I see decadent chocolatey things, my first thought is: "Why all that chocolate?!" Like flourless chocolate cakes with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache. It just looks like too much.

                    I love chocolate, but one bite of a cake like that and I'm done. I'd much rather have cinnamon or spice.

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      "I love chocolate, but one bite of a cake like that and I'm done."

                      ~~

                      i worked in restaurants for many years and was always surprised by how many people scarfed up a chocolate something or other after a giant meal that was swimming in butter.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Can't resist a comment here.

                        I've dined in restaurants for many years and am always surprised by how many of them offer no menu options than giant meals swimming in butter. And the ones that offer really rich chocolate somethings have a disturbing tendency to be precisely that kind of place.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Yes, it's the last thing I would want after a rich fat-laden meal.

                          I guess it's a matter of personal taste/preference though.

                          The only time I might eat something very very rich and chocolatey would be after a meal consisting of salad with grilled chicken breast. Even then, still can't do more than a few bites.

                          What kills me is when eating at Italian restaurants--doing the whole family-style multi-course multi-dish pasta/potatoes/cream sauces/etc. and then being served a flourless chocolate cake with fudge sauce and ice cream. Ugh...

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            Interestingly, that wouldn't be typical of Italy, where if you went the full route - antipasto, primo, secondo, then your dolce (if any) would probably be a sorbetto or something else rather light. Italians aren't especially big on desserts after a big meal - cakes tend to be eaten separately and often for (AS) breakfast. Generally speaking it's the afternoon meal, too, "cena" that's the big one, not the evening "pranzo" which tends to be lighter and after which a richer cake might be more fitting, although one would be just as likely to go for an ice cream - probably not at the restaurant.

                            I'm a very big chocolate eater indeed - but I prefer my chocolate intake entirely on its own - if I have a cake it'll usually be more along similar lines to the German pattern of Kaffee und Kuchen, something in the late afternoon not immediately before or after another meal. Same for bars or anything else - they just seem better on their own.

                            1. re: AlexRast

                              Agree with all of this.

                              I eat my "second breakfast" every day, which usually consists of whatever baked good I made the night before. Could be cake, cookies, sweet rolls, etc.

                              Then a few hours after dinner, I do like something sweet, but not too heavy. Maybe a cookie, but something like sorbet or a fruit-based pastry or pie is perfect. Small portions, not a huge slice. Just a nibble.

                              My father is a doctor and was sent to Italy for several weeks years ago. He was there to lecture and teach, and for some reason they housed him with an Italian surgeon instead of putting him in a hotel. He basically was supposed to follow this surgeon around 24/7. He wasn't looking forward to it (he's a private and quiet guy).

                              When he returned, he seemed sooo relaxed. I asked him about his trip and he said he wanted to move to Italy, like yesterday.

                              According to him, the schedule for an Italian doctor went as follows:

                              Wake up at 8 or 9 (here, he wakes at 6)
                              Eat a nice leisurely breakfast (a full meal, with espresso)
                              Sit around for a while
                              Make some phone calls to the hospital
                              Nap
                              Eat "lunch" (several courses: pasta, meat, veggies, dessert) for approximately 2 hours
                              Sit around for a while
                              Nap
                              Have espresso again
                              Go into the hospital mid-afternoon
                              See 5-10 patients (here he sees 20+ before lunch time)
                              Go to dinner
                              Eat sorbetto and cookies
                              Sit around for a while
                              Go to bed

                              That, and the surgeon he stayed with made approximately double what he makes here.

                              Seems to me they have it all figured out over there.

                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                Until you ask an economist about it.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  or any of their doctors who treat diabetics.

                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                  That world is fading fast - these days most Southern Europeans with professional "office" jobs follow a typical Northern European schedule (i.e. they work all day, just like folks in the US, the UK or Germany)

                                3. re: AlexRast

                                  In my very Italian household growing up, fruit was often the only dessert offered. My mother wasn't a baker, so baked things were a rare treat. It was a food house, not a dessert one.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    after dinner was fruit, nuts, sometimes cookies. fancy desserts were only for very special occasions.

                                    weekday breakfast was most often toast.

                          2. re: rainey

                            Funny, cinnamon does nothing for me. And I've been known to have to cover my face while walking by a Cinnabon in the airport - overpowering in a bad way.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              I love cinnamon, but I have the same reaction to Cinnabon.

                          3. The cacao bush is ONE plant of many thousands that can be sweetened into a dessert. All the other plants (fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, trees) are out there!
                            And don't forget the flavors of rum, brandy, whiskey, even vino.

                            1. I like chocolate, particularly in a 70% bar. Usually if I have dessert during the week (when I am more careful about what I eat) it will be a square or two of a bar. That's plenty for me.

                              When I want a bigger dessert it's almost never chocolate that I crave. For me a much more interesting flavor is vanilla. I go for custards, puddings, flans, and so on, especially when they highlight vanilla beans. I think it might be a textural thing as much as it is about the flavor. I like smooth and creamy more than crunchy, crispy, etc, when it comes to dessert.

                              Most recent obsession: Indiana-Style Sugar Cream Pie, which I discovered a recipe for on Serious Eats in November and have made 3 times since then, modifying the recipe somewhat on each iteration. It's dead simple and -- especially considering how simple it is -- amazingly good. Check it out here: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/11...

                              1. I'm with you... I like chocolate fine (especially brownies), but a lot of the chocolate upon chocolate desserts are not my thing. My favorites are lemon desserts with some kind of crust... tarts, bars, etc. My favorite cookies at Christmas are either peanut butter or gingerbread.

                                1. I like chocolate too. (I am having a piece of dark chocolate as I type this!) But for desserts, I really do like fruit flavors. I also like rich gingerbread better than any chocolate cake I have ever eaten.

                                  1. Usually, my question is "why couldn't it have been chocolate"...lol...As I've confessed many times on this site, I'm an extreme chocoholic. It's the first thing I look for in a dessert, but there are some things I side step or other choices I look for depending on what I'm eating. For example, while I adore chocolate, I'm not that crazy about chocolate ice cream, pudding or fudge. In those cases, chocolate as an accent flavor suits me better...vanilla or coffee ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate....white chocolate fudge with dried cherries etc. Any other time I can eat the heck out of brownies, cakes, etc.

                                    I also can't stand when chocolate is messed up with flavors I don't like, such as mint or coconut.

                                    That aside, I do enjoy non chocolate desserts, particularly fruit pies & tarts with a flaky crust.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                      For the most part, I am with you. I love chocolate and I am always amazed when people don't like chocolate. I will pass on most desserts, unless they have chocolate in them. Things like cheesecake, tiramisu, creme brulee, lemon anything, custard anything, etc. just don't do it for me and I'd rather not waste the calories on something that I don't really enjoy. I do like the occasional apple pie plus a few other non-chocolate items. I don't like flourless chocolate cakes.

                                      And I, too, do not like when chocolate is mixed with other things, particularly fruit. I love it when it's mixed with peanut butter :)

                                      1. re: valerie

                                        LOVE chocolate & peanut butter together, but I also like cheesecake (it's my favorite dessert, especially when it's chocolate) and tiramisu. I will pass over every other dessert for something chocolate...

                                        1. re: valerie

                                          Yes! Chocolate and fruit together is yucky. Eewww.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            Really? You no likey chocolate covered strawberries? Or raspberries with chocolate? And orange rind dipped in chocolate? I actually like chocolate more with fruits rather than by itself!

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              I do not like those Sam I am. Not a single one of them. Especially the chocolate/raspberry mix. I won't say what that tastes like to me because I don't want to ruin it for others, but it is something unpleasant to taste.

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                lol! That's what makes horse races!

                                                1. re: valerie

                                                  I'm also with Valerie on the no creme brulee (or flan, or pretty much anything even vaguely like it).

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    I love those things. Like burnt. And I'm not generally a dessert person - the caloric things I crave involve cheese and other savouries.

                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      Yeah, I'm mostly a savory girl too. And I'd definitely go for a cheese plate over most desserts.

                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                  Chocolate and orange rind is one of my favorite chocolate pairings. The other two you list I can do without.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    I don't like it with strawberries AT ALL but raspberries and orange, I like.

                                            2. in restaurants i never order dessert, much preferring a cheese course or nothing if i am full, however i do enjoy baking.

                                              when i entertain i always make something chocolate because that is always what most people want, but i will make a 2nd choice too for the minority of us non-chocolate peeps.

                                              in summer i like fruit crisps/crumbles, in winter citrus and/or ginger flavors.

                                              am going to a potluck tomorrow and have been asked to bring dessert so am making the smittenkitchen gooey cinnamon cake (will also use ginger in it) and an almond flour jelly roll filled with fresh whipped cream and strawberry-rhubarb jam the b/f's mom made. am confident others will bring chocolate, lol.

                                              oh! and those flourless chocolate cakes in every restaurant are a scourge upon humanity.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                That smitten kitchen cake is soooooo gooooodddd!!

                                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                  yeah, i found it on david leibovitz' site actually, awhile back, and kinda forgot about it. glad to see your enthusiasm.

                                                  tonight i made the joy of baking almond sponge roll that i mentioned above and added some candied almonds to it. light, not too sweet -- fantastic cake.

                                              2. I completely agree, and it sounds like we have very similar taste in preferred desserts. My favourite dessert is cake, but I also love fruity desserts (raspberry, passion fruit, citrus, dates, figs, prunes, mango) marzipan, lemon anything, nuts of any sort, puff pastry, pate a choux, and custardy things. I am making a boozy Far Breton tonight with prunes.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pavlova

                                                  Yum, love Far Breton. And adore passionfruit.

                                                2. I really don't have much of a sweet tooth and I don't like chocolate at all so I am continually disappointed by both individuals and restaurants that incorrectly assume that everyone likes chocolate. On the rare occasion I do want something sweet I prefer lemon, ginger or almond. No cakes, etc. since I avoid grains. I'll eat the filling out of a good pie or tart, though. :)

                                                  1. When i want chocolate i usually just go straight to the source for a chunk of dk chocolate over a dessert with chocolate in it. Surprisingly there is still 1/3 of a bar of Mast chocolate left.... For now :)

                                                    For non chocolate desserts i love carrot cake and hummingbird cake, those french style tarts with almond paste and pears, baked apples with brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon, pecan tarts, and i love the chinese sesame balls with black sesame paste inside, or the sticky rice pastry with peanuts inside (no idea the proper name for either of those!)

                                                    1. I find there are in fact 3 (maybe 4) types of people:

                                                      1: Those who love chocolate and prefer it to everything else sweet (that'd be me - these people prefer good dark chocolate)
                                                      2: Those who don't mind chocolate but who really actually like *sugar* and for whom chocolate is merely a "preferred vehicle" (these people tend to prefer very sweet, mild milk chocolate)
                                                      3: Those who really don't like chocolate and will always prefer anything else (you often see a preference for non-chocolate dairy amongst this group - quite interesting)
                                                      Possible 4: Those who think they're not really fond of chocolate, but it's only because the only chocolate they've been exposed to is poor, either horrible, bitter, overroasted dark or hopelessly sweet, cloying milk.

                                                      I do think people need to acknowledge that chocolate isn't a universal love and provide non-chocolate options where realistic for those not in love with it. One of the most successful and well-received, as well as easiest, is that old standby, creme brulee. I also love the Indian/Persian style rice pudding (made with milk only, not baked but rather cooked in a pot rather like a custard), and with a flavour such as rosewater it has a very exotic taste which feels sophisticated and appealing. As you imply there are many also who like fruits: a nice fruit pie (I love blueberry, although strangely it seems to be the least favourite of the majority; apple is the usual crowd-pleaser) or in summer something like a strawberry shortcake or pavlova is a winner.

                                                      Curious about the SIL: was she under the impression that your dad liked her creation or did she have no such illusions? This can be a source of friction for years, and it's entirely inadvertent: the one, trying to be polite, says nothing, the other, without any negative feedback, quite understandably assumes everyone is thrilled.

                                                      Which brings me to a difficult dilemma: Let's say you have somebody who thinks that something they've done, made, or given to you is something you genuinely like. Let's say in fact you detest it. How do you let this other person know tactfully, without hurting their feelings, that you appreciate the thought but really, you've never liked what they gave you?

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: AlexRast

                                                        I don't fit into your categories!

                                                        I love dark, good-quality chocolate - 70% or so.

                                                        I ALSO love other types of desserts - most any good quality one that isn't excessively sweet. (Too much sugar is a turn-off.)

                                                        I share your love of blueberry pie - I love all sorts of fruit pies, but blueberry is the absolute best!

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          Yup! Put me down as Possibility 5 too. Chocolate is wonderful. So are a lot of other things too.

                                                        2. re: AlexRast

                                                          This is a delicate topic. I think my sister-in-law thought my father loved it and therefore brought it. She is not a person of much guile or passive-agressiveness.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Again, it seems as though the SIL needs to be told somehow. Anyone with diplomatic experience have any idea how one can do this gracefully? (I'd like to know personally for similar situations!)

                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                              Unfortunately there is no longer a need, the SIL is still around (happily) but my dad is not.
                                                              You could probably solve the conflict in Syria more easily than a situation like this in a family.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                Yes, I wouldn't go there, not at all. For a dessert? Made with love? No way. This reminds me of the episode of The Andy Griffin Show in which Aunt Bea was convinced that everyone loved her homemade pickles!

                                                          2. re: AlexRast

                                                            I love blueberries, but I'm fortunate to be from Québec where, as in similar places (such as Maine) we have lovely fresh blueberries in the late summer and early autumn; among those foods that are as delicious as they are nutritious. I don't like to muck them up in pies. Just served as is, perhaps with a bit of equally local and good maple syrup, and of course a hit of some kind of booze.

                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                              Blueberries and maple syrup are so good together. I sometimes simmer them together for pancakes.

                                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                                Muck them up in pies? Blueberry pie is one of my very favorite pies. I love how jammy the blueberries get when they cook. I love them plain too, but blueberry pie is awesome.

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  I love blueberry pies too. It's a shame, because through most of England there not very popular, in spite of bilberries growing wild on almost every highland. Locally here in Manchester we get wimberries (which are another name for one type of wild blueberry) for a very short period; same thing; lovely in pies.

                                                                  I have a recipe where I use twice as many berries as you would normally need for the size pie you're making. Then I gently stew half of them, reducing constantly, until I get a very thick paste - just like making tomato paste in fact. I then fold the remaining blueberries in and use that as the filling. You don't add sugar or anything else because that concentrated paste has also concentrated the sugar. And as a result also, you don't get a pie filling that flows out and causes the pie to collapse as soon as you cut it, but one that remains firm and jammy as you describe. And of course the flavour is super-concentrated, so it's truly the ultimate in blueberry pies. Ideally served warm with thick double cream.

                                                                  1. re: AlexRast

                                                                    Pie making is an art, sounds like you know what you are doing.

                                                                    1. re: AlexRast

                                                                      That's very similar to the method I use except I cook about a cup of the blueberries with all the sugar and some cornstarch, and then mix that in with the remaining blueberries. I have had great success with this-- the filling sets up perfectly, not too thick, but thick enough so that it doesn't slide all over the pan when you cut the first slice. I have even used frozen blueberries this way, as well as sour cherries.

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        Good ole Nick Malgieri, nice trick (from his book Bake, I think?). I do that as well. The no-sugar cooked fruit method is intriguing. My sour cherry nut husband would definitely go for that.
                                                                        Maida Heatter and Paula Peck preceded Nick in espousing this method. (Peck's book is amazing, so much that is old is new again.)

                                                              2. I'm not a big chocolate person either.

                                                                My go-to sweet desserts are tapioca pudding, vanilla ice cream, and just about any kind of fruit pie.

                                                                1. Amen. I like vanilla, spice, caramel and lemon flavored desserts the most.

                                                                  If it's cake then I'm all about a cold, moist, denser-style, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

                                                                  My ultimate dessert though is simple vanilla bean creme brûlée.

                                                                  Seconded by simple vanilla bean panna cotta made with less gelatin.

                                                                  Oh and thankfully my husband and immediate family have the same 'meh' feelings about chocolate. Husband's favorite is tres leches- which I don't think it gets much more milk/plain flavored than that!

                                                                  1. I have a chocolate fruit cake (David Lebovitz recipe) baking in the oven right now.

                                                                    But like you I don't claim to be a big chocolate fan. I enjoy the occasional cake, chocolate chip cookies and mousse every now and then. But I don't crave chocolate and go months without having any.

                                                                    What I do love is anything fruit. Fruit pies, fruit cakes (both the dense Christmas fruitcakes and the cakey English style fruit loaf), tart tatins, upside down cakes, crisps and crumbles, apple turnovers and fruit filled pastries. If it has fruit in it I'll probably love it.

                                                                    And I especially love them served with a small scoop of plain vanilla ice cream.

                                                                    My argument against chocolate is that it's a very intense, dominating flavor. It's also quite heavy. If you serve a chocolate dessert at the end of a meal odds are it'll dominate the sensory memory of the meal rather than being the elegant ending to a nice dinner, in the way a fruit dessert can.

                                                                    The one time I do demand and appreciate chocolate is a small slice of a chocolate torte with a cup of coffee in late afternoon. Especially in a Vienna coffeehouse.

                                                                    1. I absolutely love chocolate, but it is not often my first choice for dessert. Lemon tarts, some nice cheese and honey, rice pudding, fruit pie, occasionally a non-chocolate cake ...these I'm more likely to order.

                                                                      That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my morning yogurt today, which was my usual whole milk greek yogurt, bit of sourwood honey, some chopped pecans, but with some chopped 70% chocolate added in today. And it's quite possible that tonight I'll have another wee piece of that chocolate with a sip or two of bourbon.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                        i do mix unsweetened cocoa into my plain yogurt with some fruit.

                                                                      2. I am not very fond of chocolate desserts with the exception of chocolate ice cream as I find them too rich and heavy. I do like red velvet cake however! I like desserts with a lemon or citrus base and also like almond flavoring as well. Tonight I made a silver cake and used almond flavoring. The cake was an epic fail but the almond flavoring in it was very nice.

                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            I overbeat the egg whites and the cake was tough. The whites turned very fast today was not expecting them to do so. I suppose I could redeem it with some kind of syrup. I have made the cake over and over again but today I used a new recipe, so much for that.

                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                              Oh shoot, I hate when that happens.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                The main thing is I tried and being stubborn I just might wake up tomorrow morning and make the cake with my old recipe.

                                                                          2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                            I have to ask - recently I have seen references on Chowhound to "silver cake" - what is this, exactly?

                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                It's a cake made with egg whites (no yolks) and almond flavoring. It was well known back in the 19th century in contrast to "gold cakes" which were very yellow due to the abundance of egg yolks.

                                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                  Thanks for explaining. I Googled it the other day and came up with a bunch of silver-frosted wedding cakes.

                                                                                  Sounds similar to my go-to white cake recipe from KAF.

                                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                                Made with egg whites only and quite a bit of baking powder which does give a little silver tone to the cake. The cake is usually feathery and light in texture.

                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                    Hi Sandy: I have had much success with the recipe from the a website Cook's.com. I should have used it on Sunday. It is an easy cake to make.
                                                                                    2 c. flour
                                                                                    1 1/2 c. sugar
                                                                                    4 tsp. baking powder
                                                                                    1 tsp. salt
                                                                                    4 egg whites
                                                                                    1 c. milk
                                                                                    1/2 c. shortening
                                                                                    1 tsp. vanilla

                                                                                    Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1/2 of milk, shortening and egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes. Add rest of milk and vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes. Divide into two 8 inch cake pans or one 9 x 12 inch pan which has been greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. Cool and frost.

                                                                                    FROSTING FOR SILVER WHITE CAKE:

                                                                                    1 c. shortening
                                                                                    1 stick butter
                                                                                    4 tsp. milk
                                                                                    2 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                    3-4 c. powdered sugar

                                                                                    Whip shortening, butter, milk and vanilla until creamed. Add enough powdered sugar to spread smoothly.

                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                        You are welcome. I might make it again tonight and this time use this recipe. The other recipe I used was from an old Chatelaine cookbook but it used water which I thought was questionable. When your little voice speaks sometimes it is important to listen!

                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                          How true! Every time I ignore the little voice I regret it later...

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              I use ap for the recipe, it does not call for cake flour and have had good results.

                                                                              3. I don't bake frequently, but when I do bake, it usually involves strawberry-rhubarb, blackberries, currants, pears, peaches or sour cherries, usually in the form of upside down cakes,clafouti, cobblers or crumbles.

                                                                                When I'm dining out, I'm generally more likely to order a fruit-based dessert than a chocolate, vanilla or caramel dessert. Very tired of seeing creme brulee/creme caramel/panna cotta/sticky toffee puddings on dessert menus, which means I rarely order dessert out.

                                                                                1. No, you are not alone. I feel exactly as you do. I would rather have lemon squares than brownies. Your selections sound fine to me.

                                                                                  1. When I am in a restaurant that has a great dessert selection, choosing is always difficult because I want a little each of each type of dessert: chocolatey, fruity, and creamy. Nutty can be involved with any of these three categories or might show up on its own as a fourth category.

                                                                                    Rarely I might encounter a place that has a selection of baby desserts - that makes me happy. Or sometimes my husband and I might trade our desserts when they are half-finished.

                                                                                    I want my chocolate, the more bitter the better, but I love other dessert flavors, too.

                                                                                    1. I'm not big on chocolate either, but if I'm going to have it - it either has to be a very light hint of chocolate (such as REAL RVC, which has cocoa in it, as opposed to red-dyed white cake) or I want a fudgy decadent moist chocolate cake-shaped bomb. Fudgy fudgy fudgy frosting you can peel back like orange rind and ultra moist dark chocolate cake. "Lava cakes" ain't on the horizon.

                                                                                      Once in awhile. Otherwise - chocolate? Ho-hum ...

                                                                                      1. I'm with you on the chocolate thing, though my son is a major chocoholic. And my husband doesn't care much for it either -- he's more of a pie guy, and in cakes, coconut and dacquoise trump chocolate every time. I find something coffee cake-ish, preferably with nuts and made from a yeasted dough, absolutely irresistible. Sweets, in general, are things that I can resist, but it's that crunch factor that gets me every time. A plain cookie like a sable can really ring my bell, but put some sliced almonds on top, and I'm done for.

                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                          For old-fashioned bakery yeasted coffeecakes (the kind that have disappeared, but used to be common), try this book if you can find one:

                                                                                          http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_kw=RO...

                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                            Hmm. I can find one, but it's $80. I'll have to pass!

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              I'm looking at some of the recipes online and am intrigued by the "Sweetheart Coffee Cake" (yeasted). I am a huge lover of yeasted coffee cakes/sweet doughs.

                                                                                              When I was growing up, my grandmother bought this yeasted coffee cake from a grocery store in the Midwest, which was brought in from a local bakery. She would buy several of them and hide them in the microwave in the kitchen (which was never used), and when we went to visit, she'd only pull them out when all the other kids were out playing.

                                                                                              Then, she and I would sit at the kitchen table with a coffee cake between us and she'd slice it into strips and share it with me until we'd both had our fill. It is singlehandedly my most favorite food memory.

                                                                                              For all these years, my mother would fly back with 2 coffee cakes in her suitcase and give them to me to eat in a panic before they went stale.

                                                                                              But about 5 years ago, that bakery stopped making those coffee cakes.

                                                                                              So I decided I'd learn to make yeast breads solely to try and recreate it. I spent the better part of 6 months making at least one a week (with the base dough coming from Peter Reinhart, which much tweaking) and finally think I got as close to it as I possibly can with just my memory to go off of.

                                                                                              The coffee cake as I make it is really delicious and flavorful with vanilla and a bit of lemon flavoring the dough. It is topped with a crackly, buttery, brown and white sugar topping which yields to a super soft and fluffy risen interior. It's topped with a simple white powdered sugar icing.

                                                                                              Whenever I go to the trouble of make it, I make huge batches for friends to come pick up. The last few years, I've had people "order" the cakes for special occasions, especially for Christmas and Thanksgiving breakfast, or birthdays.

                                                                                              It is so so good.

                                                                                              But I know it is slightly different from that original coffee cake. I just can't put my finger on it. My ears seriously perk up when I see an old yeasted coffee cake recipe.

                                                                                              Long story short: Have you tried any of the yeasted coffee cakes in that book?

                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                Wow! That's right in my wheelhouse! Would you share your recipe?

                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  Ahh, yes! Recipe is kind of involved. Step by step here:

                                                                                                  http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...

                                                                                                  Condensed version:

                                                                                                  YEASTED COFFEE CAKE
                                                                                                  (Recipe by me!

                                                                                                  )

                                                                                                  DOUGH:

                                                                                                  -1 (.25 oz) packet active dry yeast
                                                                                                  -pinch sugar
                                                                                                  -1/4 cup warm milk

                                                                                                  (proof 5 minutes)

                                                                                                  -5 1/2 tbspns unsalted butter
                                                                                                  -6 tbspns sugar
                                                                                                  -1/2 tspn salt

                                                                                                  (Cream in stand mixer)

                                                                                                  -1 egg
                                                                                                  -2 tspns vanilla
                                                                                                  -1/2 tspn lemon

                                                                                                  (Add)

                                                                                                  -3 cups AP flour
                                                                                                  -1 cup warm milk

                                                                                                  (Add with yeast mixture. Mix until dough comes together. Switch to dough hook--or knead by hand--10 minutes. Cover and let rise in oiled bowl until doubled, 60-90 mins).

                                                                                                  TOPPING:

                                                                                                  -2/3 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                  -2 tbspns white sugar
                                                                                                  -1 cup AP flour
                                                                                                  -1 tspn cinnamon
                                                                                                  -1/2 tspn salt
                                                                                                  -10 tbspns cold butter

                                                                                                  (Mix dry. Cut in butter to form pea-sized crumbs. Set aside).

                                                                                                  Shape dough (I prefer to do them in 9" x 5" loaf pans for a nice high rise and tender crumb, but Danishes or cinnamon rolls are good for sharing). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let rise again until doubled, 60 mins.

                                                                                                  Before baking, coat liberally with streusel topping.

                                                                                                  Bake @ 350 F (20-25 mins. for loaves, 8-10 for Danishes, 15-20 for rolls). Loaves may require you to lower oven temp to 325 to cook through without drying on the outside.

                                                                                                  Cool slightly; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

                                                                                                  Glaze: Whisk powdered sugar and water until thick but pourable.

                                                                                                  This is my most beloved recipe ever. Let me know if you try it please!

                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                    Saw it on your website! Very nice blog!

                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                      I tried it today, and it is very good. It rose extremely slowly since it was quite cold today, and then I was rushed to finish it since all of a sudden, I had to pick my son up at 5 instead of 7. The crumb is a little tight, so it definitely could have risen a bit more. While the topping is quite sweet, the bread (and I would call it more of a bread than a cake!) is not terribly sweet. I like it very much, and will definitely give it another go when I have more time...and it's warmer!

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Oh, thanks for reporting back! So exciting.

                                                                                                        Yes, the crumb can be tight if the bread doesn't rise adequately. I've tried to rush it before and ended up with less-than-decent texture.

                                                                                                        This last batch I made, I found myself enjoying the bread (yes, it is much more bread than cake) much more than the streusel and even though my family had requested the streusel be doubled (to what it is now), I'm thinking of going back to a very light sprinkling in the future. I like the subtly flavored bread on its own, especially with some espresso for breakfast.

                                                                                                        Glad to see you made them, and thanks for reporting back!

                                                                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                    Yes, I have made them and they do indeed have the character of the old bakery ones - your grandmother may have been buying Roselyn coffeecakes!

                                                                                                    I also used to mess with attempting to replicate them in my home kitchen and was so thrilled to be gifted with this book by my father a few days before he died. He wanted me to make these for him, but I never got the chance to.

                                                                                                    The dough is a basic sweet Danish dough (laminated). The fillings and frostings are interesting - the fillings sometimes use cake crumbs, for example.

                                                                                                    I do use butter instead of shortening in some of the doughs.

                                                                                                    This is not a professionally written cookbook and you have to navigate through some errors, such as they didn't reduce the size you roll out the dough the same number of times that they reduced the ingredients quantities, so the first time I made the dough I was trying to roll paper-thin dough and butter blocks - later I realized the error.

                                                                                                    It is wonderful that the owners of the Roselyn company took the time to write this book, and I treasure it.

                                                                                                    EDIT: One of the secrets to these coffeecakes is more sugar and more salt than you would expect.

                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      OK I need a cold shower. I just googled frangipane and coffee cake pastry rings and google took me to a never ending page of pastries of every type. Food porn at it's finest. I gained 30 lbs. just by looking :)

                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        Oh, and a big difference between the Roselyn old-fashioned bakery recipes and newer yeasted coffeecake recipes is that the new ones are more like flavored/topped bread and the older ones are more...hm-mm....integrated??? regarding textures and flavors. They are thin and have lots of lamination, filling, and topping.

                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                          This all sounds very interesting! I'm going to keep searching the internet for recipes and give one a try soon.

                                                                                                          Thanks for all the info!

                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                            You bet! It would be nice to revive this style of baked goods.

                                                                                                2. Ha! I am from Belgium, and love chocolate only in moderation and preferably pure. I don't like chocolate desserts very much - I even dislike chocolate cakes and chocolate baked goods full stop. Granted, I am more of a savory person, and I tend to like more savory-like desserts. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices.Try cardamom rice pudding with pistachios or rice tarts, cardamom-almond cake (as in "frangipane" cake, only add cardamom to the mixture). Staying in the exotic spice world, not long ago, I made poached quinces for dessert (with star anise and honey) and they were absolutely delicious. I could see them served with ginger ice cream, for example, if you want something more up-scale. You could also use those poached quinces for a quince tarte tatin, for sure!

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: musical_cook

                                                                                                    have had quince tarte tatin and it was divine.

                                                                                                    1. If it's not chocolate it has to have a strong flavor like fresh lemon with lots of zest or very gingery with chopped candied ginger. Dessert should be very occasional so why have something bland? Chocolate always gets first consideration from me whether I am baking or ordering. The blandest I will go is my very excellent red velvet recipe (with butter roux only but that is another discussion). I never have ice cream without some kind of chocolate. Key lime with dark chocolate sauce is my favorite sunday! I feel sorry for your SIL, she thought she was treating every one!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. I really, really recognize this. I like chocolate -- chocolate bars, chocolate covered nuts, etc -- but in general, chocolate desserts are immensely heavy and sickly sweet. Aside form the occasional slice of chocolate cake, I avoid them.

                                                                                                        My favorite desserts are citrus based. I also like caramel-based desserts, but they can run to the too sickly sweet end of things, as well.

                                                                                                        It's not that I don't like sweet desserts, but there has to be some balance to it, and I often find desserts that aim for decadence end up overdone.

                                                                                                        One of my favorite recipe is this tart filling that I grew up on: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11295-lem... It's very, very sweet, but the sweetness is balanced by the tartness of the lemon, and, if you use a good pastry, a bit of saltiness in the crust.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                          My mom used to make that! I'm not crazy about coconut but I can still taste this :)

                                                                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                            This was one of our favorite pies growing up! Disgustingly sweet to me now, but wow I loved it!

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              I still eat them, but I like them frozen -- the coldness cuts the sweetness.

                                                                                                          2. I LOVE good chocolate, but those molten/lava (translate: half raw) cakes NEED TO GO AWAY FOREVER OR AT LEAST BE GIVEN ONLY TO ENEMIES.

                                                                                                            Was that expressed strongly enough? ;-)

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. After a heavy restaurant meal, I rarely order a chocolate dessert. I usually go for something lighter(probably not in calorie wise) but when I am home or a cafe, I sometimes crave for that heavy dense piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It's almost a meal by itself.

                                                                                                              1. As someone interested in baking/desserts and complex/less common flavours, I feel that chocolate, somewhat akin to bacon, is "cheating". Sure it's good. I actually love it. But not everything chocolate is automatically great, and there are so many other more interesting things to try making and eating.

                                                                                                                1. Must have chocolate!! I like all the other things mentioned....carrot cakes, citrus flavored desserts, etc. but when given a choice it is always chocolate. I will have the server pack up half of my dinner when eating out so that I can enjoy a rich chocolate dessert. Also save some of my red wine to go with my chocolate - delicious!
                                                                                                                  Don't judge, but it is a rather sensuous experience for me...my better half is 600 miles away and we only see each other every 6-8 weeks. Vanilla doesn't take the place of snuggling with your love, but chocolate comes close! lol

                                                                                                                  1. You are definitely not alone. I've never been fond of chocolate desserts. My tastes have expanded as I've aged to where I'll eat them if served, but I'll never select a chocolate dessert if there are other options. (As a child, I remember chocolate cake making me gag.) And I LOVE desserts! My go-to alternatives? ANYTHING else! Pies, cakes, cookies, ice creams, etc., etc. It just depends on my mood, and what else I'm eating. Since I'm the designated dessert baker for my circle of friends, I'm learning to bake with chocolate when the occasion calls for it, but otherwise it's fruit pies, spice cakes, lemon squares, etc.

                                                                                                                    I worked in an office that had cakes for each employee's birthday. The guy in charge of getting them appreciated the fact that he had to get a non-chocolate cake for mine, because he said it broke up the monotony and forced the office to try something different.

                                                                                                                    1. I eat desserts rarely enough that I enjoy a nice chocolate one (mousse, cheesecake, plain cake) as much as the other flavors I like in that setting: ginger/spice, coffee, raspberry, stone fruits, nuts...

                                                                                                                      1. I have room in my heart (and belly) for chocolate and non-chocolate desserts. I do love chocolate more than most people, but often crave desserts with fruit (agree, stone fruits and citrus!) spice, caramel.. coconut. Now I'm hungry. I love a good blondie too..
                                                                                                                        Also, it's really hard to get a *good* piece of chocolate cake.. often they are too sweet/dry. I rarely order dessert while I'm out for dinner: I usually prefer to have a good dessert with tea mid-afternoon.
                                                                                                                        Have gotten some good ideas on this thread..

                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                          I agree about it being difficult to get a really good chocolate cake - for me, it is usually too sweet and doesn't taste enough like chocolate, it's just brown.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            Not many people or bakers make really good chocolate cakes - as you say. I don't consider that reason to give up hope; I'm game for trying chocolate cakes reputed to be excellent.

                                                                                                                            However the ultimate reason for this situation is most likely price. A truly good chocolate cake - which certainly means high-quality chocolate, and lots of it, in both the cake itself and the icing (whatever else it may contain) is going to be quite expensive. On the order of £30/€35/$50 for a whole cake. That's simply because of the price of the amount of quality chocolate needed to get a good result. The market for that sort of price point is small - usually only found in the very largest cities. And even there, good "basic" chocolate cakes are often hard to find because most bakers (both businesses and home bakers) aiming for that sort of level have a tendency to make elaborate posh cakes in the French style.

                                                                                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                              Mouth is watering...Now I REALLY want some chocolate cake!

                                                                                                                              1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                I highly recommend this recipe. It is fabulous, and very reliable. I don't make it with the ganache though. Too much of a muchness for me.

                                                                                                                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                  Yes, I remember that you recommended that in another thread, and my mother made it for a friend's birthday; it was a great hit! And I own an entire Elinor Klivans book of chocolate cakes! I have made good ones, and eaten good ones.. but also my fair share of dry one.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    I intended to make that for my sister-in-law's birthday over the holidays but didn't get around to it. We had a carrot cake instead which we all loved, but it was too bad for her, as she's the only chocolate fanatic in the family. What frosting do you use instead of the ganache? The rest of us might enjoy it more if it weren't chocolate on chocolate.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                    I'm sorry, I don't buy the $50 part. Trader Joe's (reputedly made by Callebaut) or Ghirardelli chocolate will make very delicious cakes. As will high-quality cocoa, for that matter. I buy Cocoa Barry Extra Brute online for not much more than Hershey's.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                      I use the TJ's Pound Plus bars for the cake recipe I posted, and I believe they're made by Lindt.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        The Pound Plus (Belgian) is definitely Callebaut, as sandylc says (Lindt is Swiss). My local independant supermarket sells the 500g Callebaut 54% bars, and they are identical to TJ's PP "Dark Chocolate" in every way except the name on the wrapper and the price, which is more than twice as much. TJ's also sells little three-packs of Belgian chocolate bars in the same range (72%. 54%, milk), and years back I bought one and unwrapped a bar to find that the chocolate was stamped with the Callebaut name (an error that slipped through, presumably).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          YUM those 3-packs of 72% are only $1.79 and they are delicious!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                        It can come as quite a surprise how much real quality actually costs. It should be noted that the prices I'm mentioning: £30/€35/$50, are based on buying a cake from a bakery (assuming the line "I agree about it being difficult to get a really good chocolate cake" emphasises buying over making from the use of the word "get") and as such reflect labour costs and the price of ingredients, however even a DIY chocolate cake isn't going to be exactly cheap, once you've factored in both ingredient costs and the cost of your time in making it.

                                                                                                                                        Getting a good chocolate cake from a home baker is exacerbated by the fact that it needs considerable technical skill to make a chocolate cake - you have to worry about scorching and overbaking, and in addition the cake formulations you need to get a good result are specific and not to be achieved by adding chocolate to a "base" recipe. Many poor recipes for example have a tendency to come out very dry, when made with a lot of chocolate. Furthermore, a lot of published chocolate cake recipes, quite understandably, are designed to make the most of less than top-quality chocolate - in the fair expectation that that's what most people will have. And a chocolate cake recipe designed to emphasise the chocolate flavour will only emphasise the badness of poor-quality chocolate, so such recipes, tried by many people with random chocolate selection, often are dismissed as poor recipes and become unpopular - little did people know it was never the recipe that was the problem but the choice of chocolate.

                                                                                                                                        Unless you know a particularly good home baker, *and* that person has a good recipe designed to produce good chocolate flavour, it's hard to get one by any method other than making it yourself. Even for home baking the costs are fairly formidable and a lot of home bakers will reserve cakes requiring the sort of price outlay required - it's going to be about £10/€12/$15 for the chocolate alone, and that's assuming you're buying in bulk formats - for very special occasions where there is a particular need to impress.

                                                                                                                                        But back to the bought cake scenario, the prices I'm stating in that space are realistic. I'm sure that comes as sticker shock to a lot of people but today's society has tended to distort consumer expectations of how much quality costs - so that the price of *real* quality is seen as exorbitant. The truth is, the things at the truly cheap end of the market are so genuinely bad, as a rule, that anything even a notch up can seem like quality, although in truth it's still not very good (at least relative to what can be achieved). People have to buy what they can afford. In the case of cake, therefore, it's perhaps better to buy a different type of cake, that *can* be made reasonably cheaply in relative terms, than it is to spend discretionary income on a chocolate cake that's still not up to a level where it becomes truly good.

                                                                                                                                        I should note that while Callebaut and Ghirardelli are rather on the low end of what can produce a decent cake, as you say they are acceptable. However at high intensities their weaknesses become apparent and many people will prefer a milder, sweeter cake interpretation leaning more towards the "brown" cake you describe, with these chocolate. Trader Joe's is definitively Callebaut, btw.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                          I missed that you intended those prices to be for purchased cakes.

                                                                                                                                          I think there are many home bakers who can produce a pretty decent chocolate cake.

                                                                                                                                          What brands do you like for baking?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                            I think I make a pretty darn good basic chocolate cake with seven minute frosting, using Hershey's cocoa, nonetheless.

                                                                                                                                            Other cocoas are too much for my migraines, but my head can handle the Hersheys regular cocoa, thankfully. It's chocolate-y enough without overkill.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                              Agreed that there are quite a few home bakers who can produce a decent chocolate cake - but consider yourself fortunate nonetheless if you know one because there are plenty of indifferent home-baked chocolate cakes out there as well!

                                                                                                                                              Here in the UK, my favourite current brand for baking, in terms of cost/performance ratio is Michel Cluizel. You can get good bulk rates on his chocolate and it's world-class.

                                                                                                                                              Even cheaper is the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Fairtrade Organic Dominican Republic, which is also rather good, but honestly I expect either the chocolate or the price to change dramatically! At the prices they're charging something's got to give at some point.

                                                                                                                                              In the USA, my favourite is Guittard. Same basic situation as Cluizel in terms of quality, and also the price is very reasonable (in comparative terms)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                            sandylc:
                                                                                                                                            Where online do you get that cocoa? I used to buy it locally, but the store doesn't carry it any longer. I looked on Amazon (.ca) after looking everywhere else and they have it but the shipping is ridiculous. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                    2. I have never liked chocolate either. Nuts, creams, coconut and lately flowers are more my speed. Knafeh with an orange-blossom scented filling of gooey cheese, rose syrup and chopped pistachios is pretty much heaven on a plate to me.

                                                                                                                                      1. For others who like Citrus desserts, one of my current favorite resources is the Citrus Party pinboard on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/RoxanaGreenG... It's a group pinboard with a lot of contributions, most of them are desserts and many of them look seriously delicious.

                                                                                                                                        1. I'm with you - there are other flavors I would probably go for first (although I definitely enjoy a good piece of chocolate, and love chocolate mousse). I'm thinking coconut cake. Key lime pie or lemon tart. Maybe a really good cannoli. What I really don't get though, and this will probably have me banished from chowhound, is the people who can't get enough pie. I mean like a fruit pie. Very very seldom does this call out to me.

                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            I'm with you LulusMom.. which is a real shame, since my mother makes an excellent fruit pie. I'd rather have that fruit in a cake, crumble, or square. Sacrilege! Only pie I really love is pumpkin..

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                              Love a crumble! Makes such a difference.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                              Any pie will do me, but the lemon tart is lovely and refreshing after a meal.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                One of the few pies I can really enjoy. And key lime.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  meh. i do NOT like pie crust at all, so never reach for pie. it looks childish to eat the filling and leave the pastry, lol. when i make stuff like that i will use an alternative crust, like nuts or pretzels or something.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                    Actually, most piecrust sucks. Either a tasteless fat is used or it is seriously underbaked, or both.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                      How about graham cracker crusts? Those I like, but otherwise I pretty much agree.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        Yum.. yes, or a crust made from gingersnaps..

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                        Well, that's really just a matter of doing a proper job, isn't it? Not all piecrust is bad - it's just when people are treating it as a utilitarian casing for whatever filling they put into it, without much thought to what the crust is like, that this is a problem. But that goes without saying. An indifferent approach, with an indifferent recipe, is going to yield indifferent results. The same can be said of almost any food.

                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, hotoynoodle, you may not be as far off the mark as you imagine! As many know, pie was at least purportedly designed as a preserving method for the filling - the crust is said to have been superfluous, at least initially, and often discarded. *Privately*, I have my doubts about this - it seems unlikely in an earlier age that people would have done such superfluous waste, unless they were very rich - in which case in any event I suspect any discarded crust would have gone to servants and/or other not-so-fortunates, but this is speculation I admit. However even if only the rich were discarding crusts that might suggest that the crust was ultimately secondary.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                          True! When a person ditches the vegetable shortening and dares to actually BROWN the crust, magic can happen and piecrust is delicious.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      A crumble is a good replacement! Do you like rhubarb in a crumble?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                        Yes yes yes on rhubarb crumble. But even more rhubarb fool.

                                                                                                                                                2. The standard dessert menu in restaurants where I live: several chocolate desserts (including a double chocolate cake, a molten chocolate cake, a brownie bomber), one apple dessert, a cheesecake, and ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                                                                                    The standard in my area is the same with an extensive choice of cheesecakes which don't even taste like real cheesecakes.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                      The cheesecakes are always disappointing, because 9 times out of 10, they weren't made on site, they were frozen and shipped in. If I wanted a frozen dinner or dessert reheated, I wouldn't be at a restaurant!

                                                                                                                                                      IMO, the franchised restaurants serve reheated food, and not much is fresh. I avoid them as much as possible, which, unfortunately, where I live, they are in abundance!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                                                                                        Chocolate desserts are heavy and rich and are often found on the dessert menu along with the "vast" selection of cheesecakes. My friend is a chef and she made me a real cheesecake this summer, no comparison.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Nope, you're not alone. I used to love anything chocolatey, and while I still appreciate it, chocolate is often the last thing I'll think of when making or ordering a sweet. One of my favorite desserts is fruit salad with a liberal drizzle (okay, a liberal bath) of simple syrup flavored with lemon, cinnamon and a splash of rose water. I also adore apple tart, Mexican wedding cakes, babas au rhum and just about any genoise, even totally dry. For my birthday next month, I'll either make a berry genoise or order a delicious mango cream cake from the Asian bakery down the street.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Well, it doesn't always have to be chocolate. Sometimes it's snakes.

                                                                                                                                                      Personally, I'm a fan of chocolate, but I like it best on its own, in dark, square form. My common desserts are fruit, or ice cream, or ice cream with fruit, or fruit with ice cream and fruit, or fruit, fruit, fruit, ice cream and fruit.

                                                                                                                                                      (Your fault for making a Monty Python reference.)

                                                                                                                                                      1. You are not alone, although I'd about concluded I was; and at various pot-luck type gatherings have had to explain "Sorry, I know I'm a heathen, but I'm not terribly fond of chocolate" when someone is pressing some "death by..." or "better than..." concoction.

                                                                                                                                                        My preferred alternatives include Luxardo Maraschino liqueur on fresh fruit. It's especially good on fresh pears or peaches.

                                                                                                                                                        My go to cake is a sort of cobbler concoction, with apple/cinnamon or pear/ginger variants.
                                                                                                                                                        http://www.food.com/recipe/autumn-pea...

                                                                                                                                                        1. Valentine's Day is around the corner, so will it be chocolate or something else?

                                                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                            Wow, really good question for this thread. I have to admit, I think chocolate is the right thing for this holiday, if one is having dessert.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                Champagne and flowers (calla lillies maybe?) and no dessert. There, i've decided.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                    Don't normally eat them myself ...

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                One is not having dessert on Valentine's Day as one's husband and son will be on the way to Baltimore for a tournament that evening, inciting the wrath of squash moms everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't see my son on mothers' day for years, because he had an out-of-town activity on that weekend every year. He did remember to call, at least!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, and this year he's out of the country. I suppose he'll plan for a seat on a moon landing for mothers' day eventually.....

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                    Glad I'm not one of those squash moms!

                                                                                                                                                                    My husband will be out of town, but promises the usual romance once he gets back. The best Valentine's day was one when we had just checked into a hotel in Miami beach. Our room wasn't quite ready so they invited us to sit on the patio and have a drink. As we were having it, looking out at the ocean, a florist brought in a huge bouquet of white tulips (a favorite of mine). I said "lucky girl" ... and it turned out they were for me, and waiting in the room when we got there. Ahhhh.