Off The Counter: A Guest Post, Featuring a Flourless Chocolate-Pomegranate Cake


Please welcome today's guest blogger, Gretchen from Kumquat.  As a registered dietitian, food stylist and mother, Gretchen knows a lot about balancing an accomplished professional career with motherhood.  She's also an authority in making what one eats both healthy and beautiful.  Her featured sweet recipe makes a perfect treat for Valentine's Day.  Take a look:

i feel so honored that the always-creative and talented debra of cocoon has asked me to contribute to her lovely blog today. my name is gretchen and i feature all gluten-free recipes on my blog, kumquat ( back in september, i was so thrilled for debra to make this delicious contribution ( to my blog as a guest post. debra is drawn to beautiful and delectable savories. i on the other hand can't quite get enough sweets. so that is what i'll share today.

this chocolate cake is a no-doubt crowd pleaser... it is decadent, rich and heavenly. i've actually lost count of how many events i've brought this one to, though i do know that by the end of the evening the plate is always empty. to me, the beauty of this dessert is that it is naturally gluten-free and requires no unusual ingredients. trust me, as a gluten-free eater, it is always super exciting to know i can eat the dessert at the party. but also nice to know one dessert will make everyone happy, whether they are gluten-free or not!

because this cake is souffle-like, it will rise to a beautiful bouffant in the oven. when removed from the oven, the center will fall and crack the top a bit. that's perfect... and then as it chills, the interior of the cake will become a truffle-like, chocolatey heaven. the pomegranates add a delightful little burst of juiciness and i am in love with the color palette they present.

so indulge... you'll be so happy you did.

Flourless Chocolate-Pomegranate Cake 16   ounces semisweet baking chocolate (i used ghirardelli) 1     cup unsalted butter 1     tablespoon fresh pomegranate juice 1/8  teaspoon salt 8     large eggs, separated 1 1/2 cups sugar Fresh pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 350`. Combine chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate and butter melts together, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in pomegranate juice and salt, and let cool a bit. Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl with high speed of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks and sugar in another large mixing bowl with medium speed of an electric mixer until thick and pale. Fold one-third chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in one-third of beaten egg whites. Fold in remaining chocolate mixture and egg whites. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350` for 30 minutes or until edges are set and and center is still wobbly and not set. Cool to room temperature in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Remove sides of springform pan before serving and sprinkle top with pomegranate seeds. Yield: one 10-inch cake.

Wow, we can't wait to taste it!  Thank you, Gretchen,  for sharing this deliciously sweet recipe with us.

  Click here for more of Gretchen's tasty recipes.

Old House New Home: Reader Give Away

For today's reader giveaway I asked Natalia Szidon,  Cocoon's founder, mother-in-law and good friend to help me choose a book from publishers Ryland Peters & Small.  Take a look: 

When Debra asked for my help in selecting a book for her next Cocoon Home Design giveaway, I enthusiastically acceded for two reasons.  First of all, I’ve loved books all my life and, for the past decade, particularly the ones published by Ryland Peters & Small, the firm that graciously agreed to donate one for a lucky CHD blog reader.

The book we chose is titled “Old House New Home” by  renown  interiors writer Ros Byam Shaw, with photographs by Christopher Drake.   It is beautifully written and visually compelling.  It’s divided into five, very distinct parts:

Inhabiting, renovating and updating buildings and houses much older than we are can be challenging and costly, but if done well, can also be extremely fulfilling and rewarding.

As the author points out, older homes need not feel like museums, instead they should be reflective of the owners’ lifestyles and tastes, often showcasing stylish juxtapositions of the old with the current.

What I love most about this book is that the author’s respect for history and preservation is combined with an empowering philosophy that restorations need not shun modern concepts or ideas.

Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.   All of Ryland Peters & Small books on design and architecture are highly recommended for they’re both beautiful AND useful, and you may not know, but a favorite saying of mine is:  “If it’s neither beautiful nor useful, why keep it around?”

For a chance to win a copy of Old House New Home comment below on what you love most about your home and join Ryland Peters & Small's Facebook page here.   All entries must be completed by Tuesday, November 1 at midnight.  Good luck!



Guest Blogger

In yesterday's post we admired design and detailing in antiques. Today, guest blogger Brooke Richard shows  us how present day furniture design is crafted with a renewed dedication to sustainabitity and purpose for the future.  Take a look.

Handmade furniture produced in the US is relatively rare these days. In fact, more than half of our furniture is produced overseas due to much lower production costs.  Consequently,  the makers have become disconnected from the finished product. There is, however, a crew of young, talented people emerging around our country that is dedicated to making beautiful,  handcrafted furniture. Its commitment to remain close to the work throughout the production process ensures that each piece is heirloom quality. I recently had the opportunity to visit several places like this.  It was very inspiring to witness fine proportion and detail in the making---features long gone in the mass- produced furniture that dominate today's market.  The real joy, however, came from meeting the crafts men and women involved  in the process.  It is truly the makers behind each handcrafted piece that ingrain it with its soul and character.

Lake collection by BDDW.

Sawkille Co. Hudson Valley New York


Studio Dunn - Rhode Island

Many thanks to Brooke for contributing to Cocoon's blog.