Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake and a Giveaway

October 19, 2011

I just took a quick look at the “Cake” section of my blog and counted no fewer than 17 chocolate cakes.  17!  I guess I should clarify – 17 cakes that have chocolate in them, but still, 17!  And there is always room for another.

Sometimes I like bells and whistles, sometimes I like straight chocolate.  Up until very recently, I had not found the perfect classic chocolate layer cake – the kind you bring out topped with candles and accompanied by on off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday”.  The cake from Holly B’s was pretty good, tasty and easy, but the frosting amount was off and I find very few things more annoying than setting out to make a layer cake and having some part of it not work.

These are the times when you turn to a trusted source.  I get really excited about super seasonal cookbooks or single subject ones (as long as that single subject is something I like to cook and eat), but a good cook needs a few no-nonsense, big, all-inclusive, tested-to-perfection cookbooks in her collection.   How many of those are out there?  In my mind, not many.  I have The Joy of Cooking, The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Oh, and my new baby.

You know the folks at Cook’s Illustrated, right?  I have been getting their magazine for over ten years and have mentally thanked them countless times for coming up with perfect recipes and making mistakes in their testing process so that I don’t have to.  I’ve been using their book Baking Illustrated for years and it has the distinction of not a single note written in it because the recipes do exactly what they say they will.  Now those good people have come out with a single comprehensive volume called Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Food Magazine.  (You can buy it here.)

For those of you who receive their magazine, you are used to reading the fascinating stories of how they come to the perfect recipes.  In this new very large book, they still include a bit of each story.  Each recipe is prefaced by a paragraph called “Why This Recipe Works”.  It’s not just recipes, the personality of the magazine still comes through.  You will still get to read tidbits about the testing process and also get valuable make-ahead tips for many of the recipes.  Oh yes, and the recipes.  If you have every made a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, you know that it turns out exactly as they say it will.  Every time.  Because this book is so comprehensive, you get everything from very basic (Foolproof Vinaigrette) to very fancy (Kahlúa Soufflé with Ground Espresso).  Am I gushing?  Is it clear that I love this book?

Good.  I, and the good people at Cook’s Illustrated, want you to have a copy.  All 2,000 recipes.  Just leave me a comment telling me if there is a perfect recipe you have been searching for.  I always love to get a sense of who my readers are and what you are cooking.  I will randomly pick a winner next Monday, October 24th.  You have until noon PDT that day to enter.  UPDATE:  Contest now closed.  Winner announced 10-25-11!

And now, back to cake.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
Serves 10 to 12

I served this cake at a 50th birthday party after a large meal and along side an apple crisp.  I cut very small slices and served 12 with about half the cake left over.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarse
¼ cup (¾ ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
½ cup hot water
1¾ cups (12¼ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups heavy cream

1.  For the cake:  Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans.  Combine chocolate cocoa, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water and stir with  heatproof rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.  Add ½ cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove  bowl from heat; set aside to cool.

2.  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.  Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl.  Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip eggs and egg yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds.  Add remaining 1¼ cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whip until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Replace whisk with paddle.  Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition.  Add flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (abut 15 seconds), scraping down bowl as needed (batter may appear curdled).  Mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.  Remove bowl from mixer and give batter final stir by hand.

3.  Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula.  Bake cake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out with few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans, discard parchment, and let cool completely, about 2 hours, before frosting.  (Cooled cakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 1 day.  Wrapped tightly in plastic, then aluminum foil, cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month.  Defrost cakes at room temperature before unwrapping and frosting.)

4.  For the frosting:  Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Increase heat to medium, add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes.  In bowl of sand mixer, combine melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream and stir until thoroughly combined.

5.  Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (frosting should be 70 degrees).  Fit stand mixer with paddle and beat frosting on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using rubber spatula, stir until completely smooth.

6.  To Assemble the Cake:  Line edges of cake platter with 4 strips of parchment paper to keep platter clean.  Place 1 cake layer on prepared platter.  Place about 1½ cups frosting in center of cake layer and, using large spatula, spread in even layer right to edge of cake.  Place second layer on top, making sure layers are aligned, then frost top in same manner as first layer, this time spreading frosting until slightly over edge.  Gather more frosting on tip of spatula and gently spread icing onto side of cake.  Smooth frosting by gently running edge of spatula around cake and leveling ridge that forms around top edge, or create billows by pressing back of spoon into frosting and twirling spoon as you lift away.  Carefully pull out pieces of parchment from beneath cake before serving.  (Assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)


  1. This cakes looks gorgeous! I’ve already found my favorite chocolate layer cake (the black magic cake by hershey’s strangely enough), but this looks like a new contender. I’d love this book! I sometimes catch the tv show on PBS and I love it. What recipe am I looking for? A snickerdoodle. Seriously, maybe I don’t like them, but the one recipe I tried was awful and how can a cookie be awful?

    Comment by kickpleat — October 19, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  2. I love CI’s potato wedges and their german chocolate sheet cake.

    Comment by Christy — October 19, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  3. I made this same cake — it is, in fact, delicious. I myself am searching for the perfect gingerbread recipe. Not so much because I haven’t found one that works, but because I want the ur gingerbread recipe, and I’m not exactly sure what that entails. I hope I’ll know it when I see it.

    Comment by Kate @ Savour Fasre — October 19, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  4. Chocolate cake AND a Cook’s Illustrated giveaway!? Best post ever ;) I’d love to find a recipe for the perfect dinner roll – crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy inside, without it being overly sweet or bland.

    Comment by Tessa — October 19, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  5. So…whose birthday was it? To whoever – a big hug and a booming HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And if not, then HAPPY UNBIRTHDAY.

    I love Cook’s Illustrated and am always looking for the perfect brownie recipe. I wonder if it lies within the covers of that book…

    This cake looks unreal by the way. Gorgeous.

    Comment by Joanne — October 19, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  6. I would love to find the perfect waffle recipe… brunch is one of my favorite times to cook and I’ve never been able to find a go-to waffle recipe. Actually a great vegetarian recipe for black-eyed-peas would be great too– I just can’t figure out how to make them taste not bland without ham. Thanks so much, Dana! I don’t know what I’d do without your blog…

    Comment by Ansley — October 19, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  7. Wow. I want a slice of that right now.
    I am currently looking for perfect vegetable-heavy soup recipes… mushroom, cauliflower, kale…. no one type of soup in particular. But, I’d LOVE this cookbook and would love to see what kinds of soup recipes they might have.

    And I might have to make this cake too :-)
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Comment by tanya — October 19, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  8. I’d love a perfect recipe for biscuits and gravy! :)

    Comment by sara — October 19, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

  9. I’m currently looking for the best/most original pie recipe for Thanksgiving! My husband and I always disagree on pies, so this year I thought I’d try something totally new and original! Now that I’ve seen this cake, however, maybe pies are no longer on the table? :)

    Comment by Sam H — October 19, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  10. I am looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe! Not too hard and doesn’t get too hard after a while either. Stays soft and chewy. :)

    Comment by Alyssa — October 19, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  11. The cake looks perfect to me! I am looking for the perfect homemade tortilla recipe. Tried a few, but no luck!

    Comment by Maria — October 19, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  12. the perfect butter-only pie crust

    Comment by Rosie — October 19, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  13. Your cake is gorgeous! I love Cook Illustrated magazine for exactly the same reason, I’m never dissatisfied. I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin pie, something maybe not so traditional, but still tasty!

    Comment by Jacqui — October 19, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  14. Your cake looks delectable! And I’m looking for a peanut butter cookie recipe. This shouldn’t be so hard to find, and yet somehow, it is!

    Comment by Steff — October 19, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

  15. Every year I make my boyfriend a different chocolate cake for his birthday. I’d just begun looking for the recipe when this recipe popped up in my reader feed. How perfect!
    I was recently blessed with finding the consummate chocolate chip cookie recipe courtesy of Not Without Salt. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally try it. The touch of sea salt on top is incredible and perhaps what I’d been missing in all of the previous recipes I’d tried.

    Comment by Helen — October 19, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  16. Oh, that looks soooo delicious. I’ll wait here while you deliver it to me. No? Okay, I guess I can make it myself. I had this amazing mushroom bisque last week and I’m on the prowl for a good recipe for that.

    Comment by Sara — October 19, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  17. hi dana! i’m a huge sucker for the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe. i think you’ve found it – and i’ve made your recipe many, many times – but i’d love to see CI’s take on it.

    Comment by betsy — October 19, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  18. I really want a recipe for the perfect coffee cake. I always seem to find ones that are way too sweet.

    Comment by adrienne — October 19, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  19. I would absolutely love to have this book! Plus the birthday cake is perfect timing because mine is coming up! I’m still looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know there are so many out there claiming to be the perfect one, and I’m sure it’s somewhere out there, I just haven’t found *my* perfect one yet! Thanks, Dana!

    Comment by Courtney — October 19, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  20. This cake sounds great. My daughter is a chocoholic & would love this recipe. The buttermilk sounds like it would add a nice tang.
    Looking forward to trying it.

    Comment by Maneesha — October 19, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  21. That cake looks so delicious!
    I’m on the search for a perfect cheesecake. I’ve made decent ones, but none of them were “perfect”.

    Comment by Amy — October 19, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  22. the perfect (& easy) pizza crust! i would make it at least once every day!

    Comment by megan — October 19, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

  23. Hi Dana:
    The cake looks delicious! I love their recipe for Sunday Gravy, so am hoping I win & it’s in there!

    Comment by Heidi Jo — October 19, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  24. Yum!

    I am frantically searching for any recipe and inspiration from everywhere. 5 kids, 5 taste palates, 1 crazy mommy. I love to cook but kids can make you want to shell out noodles and red sauce every night!

    Comment by Kim — October 19, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  25. Yum! I love Cook’s Illustrated, too. So much science in each recipe! I’m looking for (always) the perfect cinnamon roll recipe. Yeast breads don’t scare me, but for some reason I’ve never achieved the pillowy-soft, tear-apart texture in my dough. And it’s always too doughy near the center of each roll and pan. Boo.

    Comment by Joanna — October 19, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  26. Still looking for the perfect sandwich bread recipe–one that pleases me (whole grain) and my SO (doesn’t taste like whole grain).

    Comment by Rachel — October 19, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  27. my dad made amazing fudge – so chocolatey and a little grainy. i’m sure it was due to an error in his formula but it always turned out delicious.

    Comment by lauren — October 19, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  28. I am always searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Sometimes they spread, sometimes they don’t. I have tried it all. Chilling the dough, etc. Thanks for the great blog!

    Comment by Cathy — October 19, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  29. I am always looking for the perfect pizza dough recipe!

    Comment by Bebe — October 19, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  30. I’m always searching for the perfect grilled chicken recipe…There’s so many out there, but I’ve yet to hit on one that thrills everyone in my family! (Thanks for an awesome giveaway- I’ve always admired the team at Cook’s Illustrated and would love any of their cookbooks!)

    Comment by Dorothea — October 19, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

  31. My grandma subscribes to Cook’s and I always drool over the magazine when I visit her, those people know their food!
    Would it be vague to say I am looking for the perfect recipe for everything? Because as a home cook, I really am. But, specifically, I would love to find a perfect recipe for mayonnaise.

    Comment by Bekah — October 19, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  32. I would love to find a recipe for an Annie’s goddess-like salad dressing. I spend way too much money on buying pre-made dressings and that’s my fave.

    About Cook’s Illustrated – I, too, love the magazine but got frustrated by how much is meat related. Does that not bother you, Dana? I guess not because you gushed so extravagantly – maybe you are better at overlooking that aspect of it. If you love the cookbook, I know I’d love it too!

    Comment by Denison — October 19, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  33. Great giveaway and the cake looks delicious! I’ve never read Cook’s Illustrated, but the stories of how they develop recipes sound wonderful. I’m looking for a perfect chili recipe. I’ve tried a few that I really like, but none seem to combine all of the aspects that I’m looking for.

    Comment by Sarah L — October 19, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  34. Since I’ve become vegetarian I’ve wanted a non-meat recipe that tastes like my mom’s pot roast. Oh, and number one for me is probably homemade sandwich bread that has the same texture as store-bought.

    Comment by Panya — October 19, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  35. Honestly, I have been searching for a new perfect chocolate cake recipe. All my old standbys don’t seem to bring the same thrill they used to, so I am excited to try this one – even though it’s no one’s birthday in my household! And, I ditto to the lady above looking for quick meals. That tends to be what I truly need on a daily basis, but for today chocolate cake looks GOOD! It may be what’s for dinner ;-)

    Comment by Jenny — October 19, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  36. I’ve been making McCall’s triple layer chocolate cake for 30, no closer to 40 :( years. It is exceptional, especially the icing which must be beaten over ice–very impressive presentation! I’m always looking for perfect anything and everything. Sometimes I don’t have enough sense to leave well enough alone! At any rate, I find that CI has great recipes that can be trusted.

    Comment by June — October 19, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  37. We love Cook’s illustrated! Such a great publication. In fact, our fail proof chocolate chip cookie is from Cook’s. It’s a winner every time. As far as the perfect one I’m looking for, I would say French Toast. It’s my husband’s favorite but we have no found the perfect way to make it at home.

    Comment by Jen @ Jen and Company — October 19, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  38. Hmm… maybe the perfect simple-but-deeply-flavored marinara sauce that doesn’t take hours to simmer.

    Even if I don’t get the book, I know what to ask for as a holiday present :-). Congrats on your Book Larder adventure with Lara, by the way.

    Comment by DVS — October 19, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

  39. I’ve never been much for cake, but I fondly remember a devil’s food sheet cake with white frosting that a friend’s grandmother made for a bunch of us in Junior High. I think it was a flour frosting which came out as a cross between a frosting and an icing and was the perfect not-too-sweet counterpoint to the cake. Have you ever made a flour frosting? I’ve collected a lot of recipes but haven’t made one yet. I also loved the Duncan Hines burnt sugar cake which is no longer made. I’ll have to try your version.

    Comment by Lynn D. — October 19, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  40. Chocolate chip cookies! I’m always slightly tweaking my go-to recipe to come up with that perfect, dense, send-you-into-a-food-coma-in-one-bite cookie. Almost there…LOVE your blog by the way!

    Comment by Shreya — October 19, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  41. I am on the hunt for the perfect brownie recipe… which means lots of attempts. My perfect brownie is not too cake and not so gooey that you can’t lift it with your hands. Ugh… it’s hard to find! Oh yeah… a little crackly on the top would be even more perfect.

    Comment by Wanda Thorne — October 19, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  42. I love Cook’s Illustrated and I’m always looking for the perfect recipe for gnocchi.

    Comment by Christina — October 19, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  43. While I’m drooling about that cake, I’m also on the hunt for a perfectly creamy, well-spiced, slightly sweet mango curry packed with veggies. If you posted this, or it was in CI’s book, I would probably bake *you* a cake!

    Comment by Kathleen — October 19, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  44. The perfect banana bread. I’m perfectly willing to keep taste testing. :-)

    Comment by Kathleen — October 19, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

  45. Hmmmm, the perfect Naan recipe. Maybe it’s my sad little Maytag oven that lets me down after all the buildup.

    I have discovered MY perfect-go-to-cake-recipe from you – brown sugar poundcake! Works every single time, baby… and it’s the cook’s privilege to swipe up the extra finger-lickin-delicious frosting.

    I also would like a perfect waffle recipe, (if we’re asking).

    And the perfect peanut butter cookie? Easy… 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, 1 t. vanilla. Mix, chill, roll, bake at 350. Gluten free AND tasty for everyone.

    Comment by Rachel — October 19, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

  46. I’m always looking for a perfect macaroni and cheese, and a perfect Gilchrist’s Macaroon. Those are the almond paste and egg white macaroons that the department store in Boston named Gilchrist’s used to have in their bakeshop.

    And I want that cookbook!!

    Comment by Robin Glossner — October 19, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  47. this looks wonderful!!

    i would love a really good WHITE cake recipe!

    Comment by natalie (the sweets life) — October 19, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  48. I would LOVE this! I think right now I would like a perfect recipe for making baked beans from scratch.

    Comment by Kelly — October 19, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  49. I have been trying to make the perfect chicken-garlic pizza, just like Papa Murphy’s. The real problem is that I want to make it healthy, too. I guess I should just give in and make the white sauce out of cream, because it would still be more healthy than Papa Murphy’s, right? :)

    Comment by Evee M — October 19, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  50. Your Chocolate birthday cake is absolutely divine! The perfect recipe that I have been searching for is a Lasagna or Lasagne that is light and fluffy and cheesy and not dry. Oh yes I have had wonderful lasagne in NYC and LA in very fancy very expensive restaurants, but does it have to be that way??

    Comment by Nettie Moore — October 19, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

  51. I’ve been looking for the perfect scone recipe. One that allows me to play with add-ins, one that doesn’t seem overly rich or fussy. I’ve subscribed to Cook’s Illustrated for a number of years, but do so electronically which isn’t nearly as much fun as browsing through an issue but it does cut down on clutter.

    Comment by Michelle — October 19, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  52. I am looking for a great hot pepper jelly recipe to can for my husband. :)

    Comment by Ally — October 19, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  53. I would love to find the perfect scone recipe – not too cakey, one with a little crumble without being too dry. Hard to find! This cake looks amazing!

    Comment by Julie — October 19, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

  54. Lamingtons. I have made close to half a dozen recipes but none have the taste I remember from my childhood. I’m not sure if it’s just an Australian thing but everyone should know a good lamington recipe!

    Comment by Lis — October 19, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  55. I’ve been looking for the perfect recipe for fettuccine alfredo! It’s so hard to make it without getting gloppy…

    Comment by Nicole — October 19, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  56. I am always looking for the elusive perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I love your blog!

    Comment by Jeannette C. — October 19, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  57. I’m always in search of the perfect quick bread (interchangeable mix ins, spices, fruit/veggie purees). I found a pretty darn good one…but I think it’ll be a never ending search…

    Comment by Julia — October 19, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  58. The perfect fall soup. Or the perfect baked chicken dish. Though what I keep bookmarking is chocolate — like I did with this cake!

    Comment by Linda — October 19, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  59. A great fruitcake recipe (my family loves them; don’t ask me why).

    That’s a great looking cake, BTW.

    Comment by Scott — October 19, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  60. I am looking for the perfect groundcherry (aka cape gooseberry, I think)recipe. I’ve made delicious preserves but feel stuck there…

    Comment by Eliza — October 19, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  61. I’ve been looking for a great pumpkin recipe. In Mexico, pumpkins aren’t as common and I haven’t found a recipe that wins me over this traditional American gourd. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Comment by Hector — October 19, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  62. I’m looking for a good recipe for gnocchi (potato-pasta type dumplings). My grandmother used to make them for me as a kid, but she never wrote down the recipe for me and now she’s gone. I remember they were kinda fluffy, melt in your mouth little pasta dumplings smothered with meat sauce and cheese.

    Great looking cake….yum….

    Comment by Les — October 19, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  63. I am looking for an easy Pecan Pie Square recipe that will set up have the pecan pie taste :).

    Comment by Ana — October 19, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  64. I am always looking for new and interesting sides…I hate always potato and veggie, potato and veggie, and frankly I hate the amount of sodium in any packaged sides! I need something to mix up my normal week day meals!

    Comment by Ally — October 19, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  65. I am always looking out for coffee cake recipes. I’ve found some good ones, but I don’t think I’ve yet found the perfect, cinnamon-y breakfast treat. :)

    Comment by Janel — October 19, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  66. I am always looking for the perfect food that can be packed in my kids’ lunch. Healthy, compact and nut free. Whatever that is! The cookbook looks awesome

    Comment by catherine — October 19, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  67. Mac & cheese. I know, there’s so many out there, how could I not have found the right one yet? I guess the bar is high since I’m a finicky cheesehead.

    Also, would love a toffee or shortbread recipe that doesn’t involve sugar or butter. (HA!) I’m allergic to refined sugar and am trying to lose 20 lbs. :(

    Thanks, Cook’s Illustrated!

    Comment by k8dotcom — October 19, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  68. I’ve been looking for an authentic (read: I’ll spend the time) rouladen and/or sauerbraten recipe. I can’t find a good way to prepare my favorite German dishes here. Alas.

    On a different note, your cake looks great!!

    Comment by Sean Jackson — October 19, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  69. Looking for the perfect pumpkin muffin (with chocolate chips) recipe!

    Comment by Jackie W — October 19, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  70. My hands-down favorite brownie recipe, that I make probably once a month, is from an issue of Cooks Illustrated I acquired about 5 years ago. I’ve never subscribed, but after reading your post I’m remembering how perfect that recipe is, and thinking maybe I should pick up a subscription.

    Anyway, for years I have been searching for the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe, which I haven’t yet found. If I win this cookbook and there’s a peanut butter cookie recipe in it, you’d better believe that I’ll be giving it a try!

    Comment by statgirl — October 19, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  71. Cowboy beans! I need a great (not good, not okay) recipe for cowboy beans.

    Comment by Trista Crossley — October 19, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  72. My son would love the perfect recipe for shepherd’s pie.

    I love Cook’s Illustrated and think it would be great to have so many of their recipes in one volume.

    Comment by Holly — October 19, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  73. I’m always looking for something everyone in the family will ENJOY!
    I have 2 favorites recipes for Cooks Illustrated
    -Spaghetti al Limone
    -The best Chewy Brownie

    But personally I would love a scone recipe or a vegetarian tortilla soup recipe.

    Comment by Leticia — October 19, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  74. The perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe…the following is the closest I’ve come to heaven!

    Comment by Carmen Carlton — October 19, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

  75. That cake looks perfect, my son just requested chocolate for his birthday cake next week. I love America’s Test Kitchen; the show when I’m lucky enough to catch it & the magazine. I use many of their recipes. I’ve been making BostonCream Pie for years my family loves it & I keep tweaking it but it’s just not quite there yet. I don’t have the know-how or resources to test like they do. If I could find that I’d be thrilled. If I won the cookbook I’d be over the moon & trying many new recipes. Thanks for the chance.

    Comment by Deb Harris — October 19, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  76. I seem to resonate several of the previous commenters with my answer of scones. And FYI, the search continues.



    Comment by heather — October 19, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  77. I LOVE Cook’s Illustrated magazine! I am looking for the perfect Bolognese recipe (though I realize you’re a vegetarian so not really in line with what you’d post). I’m also always on the lookout for any hearty pasta sauce, so a mushroom based ragu would be good too – the last one I tried just tasted like dirt and I felt like I wasted so many delicious mushrooms!

    Comment by Courtney H — October 19, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  78. I am forever searching for the perfect pie crust recipe. It has to be easy because I’m not good at crust, but it has to satisfy that craving for perfect crust.

    Comment by Tina — October 20, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  79. I am searching for the perfect mac and cheese that my whole family will eat!

    Comment by sara — October 20, 2011 @ 12:28 am

  80. it would be great to find a perfect, no-fail whole wheat pizza crust recipe.

    Comment by M — October 20, 2011 @ 12:35 am

  81. Cooks Illustrated is always so reliable. I have never had a fail when I follow their recipes. I have been looking for the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe.

    Comment by bellini — October 20, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  82. i’m searching for the perfect apple cake.

    and i’m getting so many good ideas for what to make in the near future by reading the comments of others and seeing what they are searching for.

    Comment by jacquie — October 20, 2011 @ 12:59 am

  83. I love America’s Test Kitchen and I LOVE chocolate cake! This one looks fabulous!

    Comment by Chris Broersma — October 20, 2011 @ 1:12 am

  84. I was looking for the perfect sirloin steak recipe that tasted like the ones you get in a fine restaurant and I found it in the CI. I would love this book as my passion is baking.

    Comment by Leslee — October 20, 2011 @ 1:40 am

  85. Gorgeous cake, Dana! I’m so impressed by your frosting job. Gosh, there are lots of perfect recipes I’m searching for, but the first one that comes to mind is good homemade Caesar dressing. Not gloppy or creamy, but fresh and zingy!

    Comment by Clara — October 20, 2011 @ 1:58 am

  86. Don’t laugh but I can’t seem to come up with a decent cole slaw. Why is it so hard?

    Comment by David Doucette — October 20, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  87. I would have said the perfect chocolate cake but then you put this up…I am going to have to try it. Now I need a good vanilla cake recipe!

    Comment by Jane — October 20, 2011 @ 2:18 am

  88. Would love to find the perfect Scone recipe!

    Comment by Lori — October 20, 2011 @ 2:57 am

  89. Looks delish!

    Always looking for new, fail-proof AND unique salad dressings!

    Comment by Christy — October 20, 2011 @ 3:00 am

  90. I am continually on the hunt for the perfect apple pie recipe. Something I can count on to always work for Thanksgiving.

    Comment by Sara P. — October 20, 2011 @ 3:26 am

  91. I just bought this cookbook.

    Oh, boy. I want cake now! :)

    Comment by Sandy @ RE — October 20, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  92. Yellow Cake.

    Comment by ath117 — October 20, 2011 @ 3:54 am

  93. I would like to find the perfect recipe for pound cake. Thanks for posting this!

    Comment by Michelle T — October 20, 2011 @ 3:57 am

  94. I am looking for good soup recipes. I love Cook’s Illustrated!

    Comment by Patti — October 20, 2011 @ 4:23 am

  95. I am searching for the perfect tomato sauce recipe! Love Cook’s Illustrated!

    Comment by Dagny — October 20, 2011 @ 4:44 am

  96. I suppose it would be the perfect vegetable soup – as hearty as beef vegetable but without the beef.

    Comment by Robin — October 20, 2011 @ 4:55 am

  97. If this competition is open to non-US residents, then the perfect recipe that I would love to find is for chocolate brownies.

    Comment by Dawn — October 20, 2011 @ 5:55 am

  98. [...] meeting these three ladies (well, already knew Dana). Dana, from Dana Treat, Selena, from The Farm Chicks and Sarah from Go [...]

    Pingback by Harry and David Blogging Tour in Medford, Oregon – Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening — October 20, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  99. I am searching for the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s tough, but the journey is enjoyable :).

    Comment by Lindsay — October 20, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  100. i recently put together a book with the perfect recipes that I have found for my baby sister’s wedding…. it’s taken me 17 years to find them- I figured that I could help her with a few things like pizza crust and cinnamon rolls… What I really need is a good french or ciabatta bread recipe…. I’m sure it’s something really simple, like add more salt, but I can never get them to taste as good as store bought!

    Comment by jenny — October 20, 2011 @ 8:59 am

  101. I would like to find the perfect apple pie recipe for my husband’s birthday.

    Comment by Abby — October 20, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  102. I am searching for the perfect cornbread recipe! Thanks!

    Comment by Allison — October 20, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  103. Macaroni and cheese. It seems like all the ones made with real cheese end up with a sauce that is a bit lumpy.

    P.s. I love your blog.

    Comment by Jen — October 20, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  104. This time of year I am always looking for non complicated soup recipes. AND ones that my kids will eat. I love Cook’s Illustrated.

    Comment by Nancy — October 20, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  105. I just made a chocolate cake on the weekend for my daughter’s 6th birthday and it wasn’t the quite what I was looking for; this will be on my list for the next party.
    I keep looking for the perfect dal recipe. I have one for Tarka Dal I love but can’t seem to find a second I like as well to mix it up.

    Comment by Luann — October 20, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  106. Always searching for a delicious salad dressing and or marinade…the cake is gorgeous!

    Comment by Liz — October 20, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  107. I’m trying to currently find a recipe for a ginger snap cookie-crusted pie. Yes, I’m quite specific. :)

    Comment by Karen @ Goofy Can Cook — October 20, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  108. I am looking for the perfect sugar pie recipe. I do not personally care for sugar pie, but my husband has been clamoring and pleading for me to bake one. We live in Quebec (Canada)and sugar pie has a bit of a “sacred” status here, so finding the perfect recipe is a challenge.

    Comment by Nik — October 20, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  109. I have been searching for an awesome German Chocolate Cake recipe. I have tried several and there has been something off about all of them. I am determined to find one though because it is my husband’s favorite cake!

    Comment by Amber — October 20, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  110. I’ve been reading for awhile but I seldom comment. Last year I was given the bound version of the magazines for the year. It’s fabulous. I can’t imagine using any other method for risotto.

    I’m single. I like to cook a batch of something and reheat it for a few days. I’ve got two recipes for a mix of veggies, roasted in the oven, with various herbs and sauce-type ingredients. One of them is meant to go over pasta but it works fine over rice (which reheats much better). I’m not exactly sure what I’m asking for but I’d like another like that. Amd I like things that I can toss in the oven. I don’t mind chopping but I do not love stirring stuff on top of the stove.

    Picky? me?

    Comment by Cindy — October 20, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  111. I’ve been searching and trying whole wheat bread recipes. I just can’t get it quite right. I would love to bake all my own bread! Lately, I’ve been eating roasted root veggies and winter(!) squash (rutabaga, carrot, delicata was last night’s mix) with a honey mustard dressing over spicy greens with some feta or blue cheese. So comforting!

    Comment by Emily — October 20, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  112. I am looking for the perfect recipe for pizza crust.

    Comment by Sarah S — October 20, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  113. A good, flaky biscuit. Being from the South, it’s a must, yet somehow I managed to never learn. I make good biscuits, they’re just not flaky enough!

    Comment by Cynthia — October 20, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  114. Love Cooks Illustrated!
    Would love to find the perfectly tested recipe for pumpkin pie, not that it’s a diffcult recipe or anything just would love to see there take on it and an a quick and easy pizza crust recipe. There are many out there and Cook’s Illustrated magazine has yet to let me down…would love to own a copy of their cookbook!

    Comment by Jesse K. Hendrix — October 20, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  115. ATK’s carrot cake is handsdown the best carrot cake. I’ve tried many other recipes and always keep going back to this one :o)

    Comment by Hanaa — October 20, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  116. Looks great! I’ve actually been looking for a chocolate cake recipe. I’m looking for one that doesn’t need frosting and is slightly fudgey. Also the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, one that’s doughy but not over overpoweringly sweet. The book looks great! I’ve always looked that the cooks illustrated when I’m looking at magazines and this just makes me think about getting a subscription to them!

    Comment by Mattie — October 20, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  117. I’ve been experimenting with a pumpkin pie bar recipe – trying to find a good crust whether it be a shortbread or nut based or something else and then the topping – not a cake, but like pie. And spicy, I always have to at the very least double the spices in any pumpkin recipe.

    Comment by Susan — October 20, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  118. perfect wild rice stuffing. so i don’t have to make it up every year.

    Comment by marti — October 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  119. Fun! We have yet to find the perfect pancake recipe, and now that we have a daughter, this feels even more important!

    Comment by Laura — October 20, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  120. I am a subscriber, too and love their magazine. It’s a toss up between the perfect scone recipe and the perfect tikka masala recipe!

    Comment by EileenQ — October 20, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  121. I had been in search of and found a perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe on YOUR website last June! I’ve used it a million times and always get asked for the recipe. Thanks again for sharing!

    Comment by Amy — October 20, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  122. Your cake is beautiful! That frosting looks divine. I’m still searching for the perfect brownie recipe, but I think I’ll forget it and just have cake instead. ;)

    Comment by Farmgirl Susan — October 20, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  123. Hi Dana!
    Hmmm, there are so many elusive recipes that it is tough to pick just one….but I can boil it down to two:
    a perfect brownie (I have yet to discover anything close to matching this) and also a truly amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe that is just right every time I make it…and doesn’t require making a day ahead of time etc.

    Comment by Shannon M — October 20, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  124. Wonderful cake; have you tried their ultimate chocolate cupcakes? Mmmm.

    I am always searching for the elusive perfect scone–its challenging to get the texture just right.


    Comment by Pam — October 20, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  125. I have been searching for the perfect Bolognese sauce recipe. I have tried some really good ones but not the perfect one yet! Still searching!

    Comment by Kelly Moreau — October 20, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  126. I Need a perfect Madeline recipe for Asher’s bday
    He loves them more than anything. I have the pans but never have found a recipe that works. Everytime I open the drawer I feel guilty that I have never found him the recipe that tastes like the ones he got hooked on at Starbucks years ago during co-op days. Help!
    I was at
    Book Larder last night what a great space and
    Such a fun block now!

    Comment by Jane Seibel — October 20, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  127. Love Cooks Illustrated! And the book may need to go on my Christmas list:) I’m in search of a perfect fluffy biscuit to drizzle with honey or jam…..

    Comment by Andrea — October 20, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  128. As the parent to two small kids, I find myself constantly searching for the perfect cupcake recipe — easy enough to whip together the night before a classroom celebration, yet tasty enough that the adults are sneaking seconds. :-)

    Comment by Sarah — October 20, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  129. I love all things Cooks Illustrated – How about a perfect recipe for moist, moist, moist roast turkey?

    Comment by Ng — October 20, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  130. I am looking for the perfect whole wheat/ whole grain pasta recipie. One that isn’t all tough and gluey. I’d love this week. The CI people are awesome.

    Comment by Claire — October 20, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  131. So many of my go- to standards have come
    from Cooks Illustrated. What I still need is a vegetarian chili recipe- heavy on the beans, traditionally spiced.

    Comment by Aimee — October 20, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  132. I love your blog! And Cook’s Illustrated! As a Kentucky gal, I am looking for the perfect bourbon cookie recipe. I have yet to find one that retains enough bourbon flavor.

    Comment by Amanda — October 20, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  133. Your cake just looks yummy. I love chocolate cake, well really anything chocolate! I have been looking for the perfect meatball recipe. One that everytime you make them they are the same! Sauce no problem but those meatballs drives me crazy!

    Comment by Charlette — October 20, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  134. A perfect pizza dough recipe would be the ultimate recipe find. My husband and I have a tradition for our Sunday nights-homemade pizza, wine and a movie. But after many failed attempts at homemade dough, we continue to buy Trader Joe’s refrigerated dough. Lame, I know, but it’s consistent!!

    Comment by Sara — October 20, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  135. Like many others, I too am looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. And I don’t even like them that much. If it weren’t so elusive, I think I’d have stopped caring, but I have tried SO many different recipes and gotten close, but am still not there!

    Comment by Jessie — October 20, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  136. I’ve been looking for the perfect butternut squash recipe. I may have found it though… :)

    Comment by Alexa — October 20, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  137. Awesome giveaway! I’m still looking for the perfect way to cook brussel sprouts (evenly) and the best (and easiest… but that probably isn’t possible) way to do homemade pad thai. A girl can dream, right?

    Comment by Mary — October 21, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  138. I would like the perfect recipe for winter squash soup; acorn, butternut or perhaps delicata.

    Thank you!

    Mary Margaret Briggs

    Comment by Mary Margaret Briggs — October 21, 2011 @ 12:52 am

  139. Still looking for a perfect vanilla cake recipe–not too eggy, fussy, or dry.

    Comment by Shira — October 21, 2011 @ 1:08 am

  140. I would love the “perfect” recipe for macaroni and cheese!
    And this chocolate cake looks divine. I am a huge huge fan of simple chocolate layer cakes..the ones you sneak a cold piece of from the frig in the middle of the night..and again for breakfast :)

    Comment by AnnieM — October 21, 2011 @ 1:30 am

  141. I love cooks illustrated, and how well your cake turned out. I would love to learn how to make the perfect pie crust. I love your blog you do a great job!

    Comment by Amber Beland — October 21, 2011 @ 1:59 am

  142. I’m looking for the perfect bundt cake that’s tasty and distinct but doesn’t require too many ingredients.

    Comment by delia — October 21, 2011 @ 3:24 am

  143. This past year I’ve actually been on the hunt for more than one recipe – The Fudgy Brownie, The Banana Bread You Can Eat for Breakfast, and – I admit – the Decadent, Classic Chocolate Layer Cake. So far I’ve had some luck with the banana bread, but not the other two. I’ll have to give this cake a try and see if it could possibly be The One!

    Comment by Jessica — October 21, 2011 @ 4:18 am

  144. I am looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe – the kind that my husband remembers his grandma making for him…

    Comment by Ashley — October 21, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  145. Your cake is lovely! I am always looking for a great lemon square recipe!

    Comment by Meagan — October 21, 2011 @ 6:08 am

  146. Oh boy, I want a slice of that cake… :)

    Comment by Sook — October 21, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  147. I would love to find a perfect go to cake recipe….i know it sounds simple and i love your site for having recipes to try but sometimes i want to use a book and not get on the internet to cook something…YKWIM? i love the CI series too….thanks for the opportunity to try to win this book

    Comment by Macy Pugh — October 21, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  148. Great post! I need to make a chocolate cake this weekend! I’ve been searching for the perfect pumpkin pie recipe.

    Comment by Anne — October 21, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  149. I could use a new cookbook! For me, their like reading a good book. . . In all seriousness!

    Comment by Jessen — October 21, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  150. I am always searching for Great recipes but my current obsession is to find the best pork green chili recipe.

    Comment by Kristin — October 21, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  151. Such a divine cake. I am always in search of a perfect mind-blowing daal dish. Always manage to have good ones out at a restaurant but haven’t found a good recipe yet.

    Comment by Amy — October 21, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  152. I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE for the perfect homemade butternut squash ravioli recipe. I have a homemade Sicilian ravioli recipe from my grandmother and I want to use the butternut squash as a delicious twist to this dish for Christmas this year. My dad and I spend the entire first Saturday of December making the ravioli dough and filling FROM SCRATCH and I would love love love to fill it with squash this year.

    Comment by Liz — October 21, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  153. I am desperately trying to find a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe that is as light and fluffy as the store bought brands, but without using vital wheat gluten or other questionable additives.

    Comment by Michele — October 21, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  154. Pizza crust. It is one of those things we are constantly tampering with the recipe but can’t seem to get it quiiiitttte right.

    Comment by Charise — October 21, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  155. I’d love to find a yeast bread recipe for basic sandwich loaf that is 100% whole wheat and vegan. I’m not vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but a really good friend of mine is and I know how hard it is for her to find healthy plus vegan food with her crazy busy schedule. I have a dead easy recipe for wonderful moist whole wheat bread that I make every weekend but it contains powdered milk so it’s not vegan. I bet Cook’s could explain why all the GOOD whole wheat bread recipes (as opposed to the dreadful brick-like ones) I’ve come across, list milk powder as an ingredient. And maybe they would have a recipe for easy, moist and delicious whole wheat bread, without it.

    Comment by karen jardim — October 21, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  156. I would love to find an overnight breakfast cassarole recipe. I love the idea of waking up and putting something right in the over, but too often- a lot of work is required. I’m not at my best first thing in the morning!!

    Comment by Ellen — October 21, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  157. Wonderful giveaway! I’ve been wanting to find a recipe for a non-mayonnaise based shrimp salad. Got one up your sleeve?

    Comment by Shannon H. — October 21, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  158. I’m searching for a perfect recipe for Spanish Coffee. Thanks for such a great giveaway!

    Comment by Emily — October 21, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  159. I would love a good chicken enchilada recipe with chili verde sauce.

    Comment by Leigh — October 21, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  160. Mmmmm… that cake looks like a slice of heaven! :) I am looking for more delicious soup recipes. I love Cook’s Illustrated… hope I win! :)

    Comment by angie — October 21, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  161. Nachos. Perfect nachos. I will go out to eat just to get a plate of really good nachos. They are not quite as good when I make them at home. I think the difference is the super-hot gas ovens that restaurants have. And the nachos usually come out on a cast-iron plate with a handle, which means that cast iron can get super-hot, too. There might not be a good way to compensate at home.

    I had not thought of Cook’s Illustrated for perfect nachos until just now. But I see nachos several times in the index. It would be great to try.

    Comment by Kathy — October 21, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  162. Hello!
    Oh-perfect veggie/tofu curry–with coconut milk. I always make it up–sometimes I win, sometimes I lose…
    Thanks for the fun contest.

    Comment by Ann Strickland — October 21, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  163. I love Cooks Cinnamon-raisin scone recipe. I’ve been able to make them gluten free and they are fabulous!!

    I’m always looking for the perfect choc. chip cookie. Thick, chewy and yummy.

    Comment by Bonnie — October 21, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  164. Hi! I am always on the look out for a perfect yellow birthday cake. One that I will use over and over again. Thanks!

    Comment by Erin — October 21, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  165. Applesauce cake is something my Grandmother made often & I would love to find a recipe for it.

    Comment by Judy — October 21, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  166. I wish I had a nut-free lentil burger. I had a walnut-lentil burger I adored, but then I had a daughter and she is allergic. And now walnuts are in my past and outings without her.

    Love your blog- I just don’t remember to comment enough. Thank you.

    Comment by Sandra — October 21, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

  167. I’m always on the look out for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Every time I think I’ve found it, it turns out to be a passing love affair.
    Also, always on the search for my perfect brownie. Almost there with that quest. I think some scientific breakdowns could really help me out.


    Comment by Ren — October 21, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

  168. Mashed Potatoes!


    Comment by Sara — October 21, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  169. OMG…that does look like the perfect cake. All I need is a fork and a tall glass of milk :) I’ve been searching for a perfect fondue recipe.

    Comment by Melinda — October 21, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  170. I would love to find the perfect recipe for fried chicken. Crisp and not greasy!

    Comment by Christy — October 21, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  171. I have been searching for years for a recipe for a sweet Spanish flatbread called “Torte”. They are made with olive oil, sometimes anise seed, sometimes rosemary. They are light and flaky, usually come about 5 to a pack, wrapped in a waxy paper. Every recipe I find for Torte is cake. Please, oh, please find a recipe!

    Comment by Donna Toohey — October 21, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

  172. I would be so happy to find the perfect recipe for a semi-quick marinara my husband would love.

    Comment by Sarah — October 22, 2011 @ 1:01 am

  173. I’ve read Cook’s Illustrated Magazines in the past and can imagine how wondrous a whole book filled with their research and recipes would be.

    I generally don’t cook with eggs, but I sometimes get a hankering for deviled eggs or egg salad.

    The only great experience with either came when friends used eggs just plucked from their hen-house and mixed in curry powder with the yolks.

    Comment by Yafa — October 22, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  174. I love CI and they way they tweak everything until it’s perfect for them. I’d love to find a recipe that replicates the tuna empanadas I had in Spain as a child but likely even if I made them exactly the way they were made then, they wouldn’t taste the same without the sunshine, prickly grass, my family, our Stato Chief wagon with the melted crayons in the back carpet, etc. And I’m sure the orange Fanta now isn’t the same as it was then….sigh.

    Comment by Charlotte — October 22, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  175. Hmmm, what perfect recipe? That’s a hard one. I am always looking for perfect recipes, mainly vegetarian entrees to keep things new and fresh for us. Regardless though I would love to get a copy of this cookbook. Must run over to add to my wishlist, *just in case* I don’t win the giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity!

    Comment by Renee @ Beyond Rice and Tofu — October 22, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  176. chocolate croissant. like those super buttery and delicious ones at cafe besalu in ballard. mmm.

    Comment by Grace — October 22, 2011 @ 4:30 am

  177. I’m forever looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Plenty say they have the recipe, but I have yet to find it!

    Comment by Morgan — October 22, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

  178. Lemon-Poppy Cake, please.

    Comment by Sara — October 22, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

  179. I’m always looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and I think I finally found it!

    Comment by Meryl — October 22, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  180. The perfect blueberry pie.

    Comment by Louis — October 22, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

  181. I am still looking for the perfect birthday cake… perhaps this one will fit the bill?

    Comment by Erin — October 22, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  182. I am always looking for a great lasagna recipe and I love all cookie recipes. Also, braised meats and anything with pumpkin. I guess that is four things but I’m in the mood for some fall cooking!

    Comment by alicia — October 23, 2011 @ 12:30 am

  183. Wow, that cake looks amazing and the cook book sounds fantastic! I’m still looking for the perfect veggie lasagna recipe. I have made several recipes and I just haven’t found the right one yet. I would also like to find a great vegetarian red curry recipe that has pineapple in it, like the Thai restaurant by my house. Now you have me in the mood for a slice of chocolate cake! :)

    Comment by melinda ke — October 23, 2011 @ 2:37 am

  184. I’ve alwayss searched for the perfect pork ramen recipe!

    Comment by Nelly Rodriguez — October 23, 2011 @ 4:59 am

  185. I’m hunting for a recipe that will make my family LIKE Brussels spouts. They are one of the only options left to add more variety into our vegetables. I’ve tried everything and nothing works. Help me out here, Dana!

    Comment by Theresa — October 23, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  186. Lemon Bars— one of my all-time favs! I ran across your blog semi-accidentally and was curious to see if you had a better lemon bar recipe than I did. I was delighted to see MY best lemon bar recipe was also YOUR best lemon bar recipe. You just can’t beat some of those classic BC recipes. The only change I make now is to always use fresh lemon juice and add the zest for an additional burst of flavor.

    I am a culinary teacher at the high school level. We operate a small school-based catering enterprise. I am always looking for elegant brunch recipes for school board work sessions and trendy passed appetizers for an annual Chamber of Commerce banquet we cater. In fact, we have a school board brunch tomorrow morning! Is it too late to ask for a recipe inspiration?

    I wish I had that cookbook right now…but doubt I can find it in our small city. Drat!

    Comment by Carolyn — October 23, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  187. Made the giveaway just in time! Actually I was recently searching for the perfect (simple) birthday cake, but since that sounds like an easy way out, I am also searching for the perfect pizza dough. I have a few contenders, but the race is open for more!

    Comment by fresh365 — October 23, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  188. Biscuits! I married a Southern boy and am convinced my Yankee heritage is throwing me off when it comes to biscuits. I have no problem with a good, light scone but no matter the recipe, I cannot do a biscuit. There is always some variable not quite right and I’d love some direction/perfection.

    Also, as Fall arrives, the perfect pumpkin soup.

    Thank you! Your blog is wonderful!

    Comment by Kat — October 23, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

  189. I’m looking for a perfect recipe for beef enchiladas.

    Comment by ikkinlala — October 23, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  190. Your cake looks divine. I have a fantastic, mainstay chocolate cake recipe that looks very similar. What I have been searching for is an equally fantastic white cake recipe…I love taste testing my way there, but I would love so much more to find and end to the search!

    Comment by Melissa — October 24, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  191. I’d love a perfect recipe for pumpkin pie. So glad you and your family are ok after the scary crash. Thanks for a lovely blog.

    Comment by Nora — October 24, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  192. I’d love to find a yummy and comforting macaroni & cheese recipe that reminds me of home (but is also somewhat healthy). Is this possible?! Hope you, Graham and your nerves are doing OK after the accident. Take it easy.

    Comment by Lynn — October 24, 2011 @ 2:10 am

  193. I know I won’t find it here, but I’m still looking for the perfect meat sauce to put over spaghetti. I can’t seem to get the balance between the meaty beef, savory vegetables and sweet tomatoes right.

    I also love my Baking Illustrated. From the looks of it, many folks could benefit from it and it’s recipes for cookies, gingerbread, waffles, etc. I’m sure this cookbook would be equally welcome on my shelf.

    Comment by Lindsey — October 24, 2011 @ 2:11 am

  194. There’s this sort of German meringue sweetbread whose taste is somewhere between Kuchen and Stollen that, as a child, my Dad absolutely loved and endlessly anticipated. In recent years most of his family has died or become estranged, and it bothers me that there’s nothing solid to feed and keep healthy the memories of his past. So basically I’ve been playing with the unfinished recipe my Grandma left behind and similar recipes from cookbooks, trying to make his metaphorical Madeleine. One day, I’ll get it perfect!

    Comment by Anna — October 24, 2011 @ 5:34 am

  195. I am always searching for a perfect lasagna. So many renditions, so many combinations of ingredients! It can be so simple, or very complex. I am sure the test kitchen folks had a field day with this one.

    Comment by Tori — October 24, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  196. I am searching for a recipe for gumbo.

    Comment by Aliana — October 24, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  197. [...] 1) Always up for a chocolate cake: Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake [...]

    Pingback by Things to Try Thursday, 27th October « Kirschplunder's Blog — October 27, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  198. I looooove the look of this cake! Love how you put dragees on the up swirls on the chocolate frosting.

    Comment by Ashley — November 2, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  199. […] certainly a bold move to call this recipe the Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake, but judging by the comments and the beautiful photographs, the claim may be valid. Serving 12 […]

    Pingback by Where to find chocolate cake recipes online by Gillian Taber | Culinary Arts 360 — February 17, 2014 @ 7:26 am

  200. […] Cake (adapted from Dana Treat’s recipe) […]

    Pingback by Chocoholic Birthday Cake | The Pantry Raid — September 3, 2014 @ 6:40 am

  201. […] a few other bloggers have reviewed this recipe too — you can check out their recaps here, here, and here! Mine didn’t turn out quite as neat as theirs, but that’s because I did a […]

    Pingback by HBD Anthony! | minutes per mile blog — January 6, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

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