Catching Up (Tuesdays with Dorie Baking Chez Moi: Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake, Chocolate Cherry Brownies & Franco-American Strawberry Shortcake)

Better late than never, right?

Here's some real talk.

When we decided to put our house on the market this spring, I figured it would be a minor inconvenience and then once we had a contract things would ease up and we could do some packing and life would go on as normal.

Clearly, I am an idiot.

The month of April was filled with major purging, putting a bunch of stuff in storage (and more purging), painting, cleaning, painting and fixing all the things that have been nagging us for the past nine years that we just never got around to fixing.

The month of May was consumed with keeping a house show ready at all times. Now, I don't consider myself a particularly messy person; but knowing that strangers would be walking through my house at any moment definitely is a lifestyle changer. I don't think my kitchen has ever seen so little use. Do you have any idea how much of a mess cooking and baking make? Even when you try to be neat? (Of course, your do).

Every spatter from a frying egg seemed magnified. Each toast crumb seemed to multiply into thousands of crumbs. The mop, cleaner and a roll of paper towels were never far away.

And then came June - with work travel, the formalities of dealing with house contracts and hunting for a new place to live. Helping a sister pack up for an out of state move. Apartment hunting for my youngest child. And all that life stuff.

It's all good, but it has certainly re calibrated my sense of what is normal.

So, in no particular order, let's catch up.

Strawberry shortcake, Franco-American style. Shortcake with a twist. Instead of angel food cake or biscuits or pound cake, ladyfinger disks formed the base of this tasty treat.

My AHA! moment came with portioning out the batter. Instead of piping the dough out of a pastry bag, I used my muffin scooper to dish out the batter onto the parchment. I found this deflated the batter much less than piping and I was able to form consistently sized cake-lets.

The other twist in this recipe was the addition of balsamic roasted strawberries. Macerated fresh strawberries and whipped cream brought this dessert back into the realm of familiar.

Two thumbs up.

Upside down brown sugar-rhubarb cake was just the thing to use up some of my freezer stash of rhubarb.

When there's fruit involved, it's totally okay to eat cake for breakfast.

Just saying. 

Last, but not least are the chocolate cherry brownies.Soaking dried cherries in port for a long period of time and throwing them into a batch of homemade brownies is a very, very good idea. This is one of those recipes where you want to break out the good chocolate. Oh, and the hardest part of making these was chopping up the chocolate bars.

Fudgy brownie perfection.

So, that makes me all caught up for now. After reliving all these desserts, I am not sure if I am hungry or need to go for a long walk.

Peace out.


This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie.


  1. I LOVE your idea with the muffin scooper for the shortcakes to make them puffier. You are brilliant! Good luck with life getting back to normal. I'm living in a house where I am constantly adding to the "need to do/ need to buy/ need to fix" list (it's permanently in my hand) and it makes me crazy that I can't tidy up. Yet. Soon. In the meantime I continue to cook and bake and make a mess ;)

  2. Ah, life! I've missed you!
    I hope you'll love your new home!

  3. My husband will be thanking you. I've really been wanting to move, and you've just reminded me of all of the good reasons not to. I'm sure it will be worth it, though, and you'll love your new home! All three of your desserts came out beautifully. I still need to make the upside down cake, but loved the other two.

  4. Sounds like March Madness over stayed its welcome. Good luck on the new home. We loved all these desserts and would make again but I probably won't because of all the new choices that come every month;)

  5. The fudge brownies with cherries soaked in port made it worthwhile having to read through the first half of your Post. I just KNOW I will have nightmares tonight about your move because it reminds me totally of my moves the past few years. Nothing is fun about it except reaching the goal which will soon happen, I hope. Apartment living for the Culinary Kid. Good for her. Cooking is messy. Baking is messier. For me it usually involves flour and/or powdered sugar. You remember how that stuff flies everywhere, right? Have I told you that Michael and I had the greatest rhubarb patch? I miss that. My son-in-law decided to put up with me because of my rhubarb/strawberry pies. I am an Iowa girl. Strawberry shortcake is Strawberry shortcake. No substitutions allowed. I am glad I received a Cher-fix tonight. Miss you. See you in October.

  6. 3 winners---I loved them all, too. You're a good sport to make them with all that's going on with your life. Of course, a little dessert break is always a good thing!!!

  7. I love those port soaked cherry brownies, wow..and well another topic...moving, a big yuck to that but it feels so good when it's all done..good luck Cher and look forward to your future cooking adventures xxooxx Patty

  8. What a fab catchup. I like the idea of using the muffin scooper for the shortcake disks - that is cool. And of course, it is 100% OK to eat cake for breakfast, especially when it has fruit ;)

  9. You've been busy Cher! I don't know where you are moving to but best of luck:) All your baked goodies look great.

  10. What a marathon! I hope that the madness comes to an end soon! I love your idea of using the ice cream scoop, BTW.

  11. I hope things have calmed down a little now. The only one of these I've managed to make is the rhubarb cake (which is fantastic). I also made Dorie's roasted strawberries yesterday, so am contemplating making the ladyfinger discs today or tomorrow. And tell Joe that I think it's a very good idea to come back for a visit! :)

  12. Dear Cher, I certainly hope that life has treated you extraordinarily well this summer and that you have settled down in a new and beautiful home, found a great place for your daughter and have had enough time to relax...All your baking looks delicious and although I have not really found the time to bake from Dorie´s book, I have had my eyes on those shortcakes and brownies for a while...I cannot believe you found the time to make all these lovely treats.
    Wishing you and your family the very best and hope to see more lovely posts very soon - until then,

  13. I LOVED that rhubarb cake (and I may have had a piece for breakfast too...)! The other two I sill need to make, but I plan on it. I will have to steal your idea of using the muffin scoop.


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