Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Best Dessert Recipes

Looking over my blog posts I felt I needed some more dessert recipes, especially cake recipes. It is always good to collect dessert recipes ranging from easy to more challenging that you feel comfortable with. To add to my collection, I set out to publish a post for a yellow cake with chocolate ganache recipe today, but things did not work out as planned.

It all started when I made a cake from a recipe from Joanne Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar. Baking with less sugar is a goal of mine and a personal passion for Joanne Chang because her husband does not tolerate sugar well. I found, with this recipe, that just because there is less refined sugar does not mean it is low in fat. Quite the contrary.

Her cake was lovely, but the ganache frosting was an epic fail. Ganache is sometimes temperamental depending on the type of chocolate one uses. From my experience ganache sets easily by cooling it on the counter. This time something was off. Everything was fine until I put the ganache in the refrigerator as directed to set the ganache. This was the catalyst that turned everything upside down. The ganache hardened so much I could not penetrate the surface with a spoon. Almost as hard as a bar of chocolate. I whipped it with my hand-held mixer and it looked like seized chocolate mixed with over-whipped cream. It was awful.

Ughhh! I blame it on the butter. Immediately I made a second batch of ganache, without refrigerating it, and finished frosting the cake. Unfortunately, I did not love it. The ganache was very bitter, and I did not love the texture. Also, after a couple of hours the cake dried out.

Moving On

Instead of coming up with a new layer cake recipe, I decided to put together a post with links to some of my dessert recipes. Also included are a couple of links to dessert recipes from other websites. Everything in one place for easy access.

The spring is a time of celebration whether for graduations, new beginnings, and major life events. Make your celebrations special by making a homemade dessert. Here is a collection ranging from quick and easy to involved. All are tested and delicious.

Dessert Recipes for Cake

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake made with a sponge cake and whipped cream frosting with fresh fruit. I used to make this for my Dad’s birthday cake in July. Berries are available now, although not quite in season in my area, so instead of peaches, make the cake with strawberries and or blue berries. It is a cake version of strawberry shortcake and always a crowd pleaser.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with an gluten free sponge cake recipe

If you want a gluten free cake, I have a Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with gluten free oat flour instead of all-purpose flour.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe

For a special occasion, like for a bridal shower, birthday or graduation, this recipe for Pink Champagne Cake is lovely. My recipe differs from the traditional recipe because I made it with an Italian buttercream not with the traditional American buttercream. Pink champagne cake has a subtle strawberry and champagne flavor that grows on you. I love this cake and can’t wait for a special occasion to make it again. Then again, why wait? My recipe is adapted from the cookbook American Cake by Anne Byrn.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Chocolate Stout Cake is a delicious chocolate cake made with chocolate chili stout. You won’t necessarily taste the stout, but it makes the chocolate more enhanced. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is to die for especially with the chocolate stout glaze.

Best Dessert Recipes , Decadent Chocolate Cake

If a simple chocolate cake is what you are looking for, an old standby for me is Decadent Chocolate Cake by the Silver Palate.

This recipe from Fine Cooking is the one I should have published today because I have made it on several occasions. Four Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream. This cake is a yellow cake with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream frosting. It is very impressive looking even though it is made with your basic cake components. You will have to click-through a couple of links to the yellow cake and chocolate buttercream frosting.

Dessert Recipes for Pies

On this blog I have a couple of recipes for galettes and one crust-less apple pie. Clearly, I need to make some more. Personally, I love the ease of galettes especially during the summer months. You can use the galette recipes as a base and substitute with seasonal fruit. Lemon plums are in season now and taste great in a galette made with mixed berries. Or make a galette with apples and dried apricots.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette recipe

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette

Almond Peach Galette Recipe


Almond Cherry Peach Galette

Swedish Apple Pie Recipe

Swedish Apple Pie

Double coconut pie recipe

For a gluten free pie try Double Coconut Pie. This is like eating a giant macaroon cookie.

Other Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

For the Nutella lover in the family, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme. This is my husband’s favorite dessert. Smooth and silky with a little kick of sriracha with the chocolate.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

For a refreshing custard, Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta. Instead of figs you can substitute pears, or caramelized citrus. The panna cotta has a lovely tang from the yogurt and is silky smooth. This is a gelatin dessert, so it is not vegetarian.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries with Bourbon Sabayon Traditionally sabayon is made with champagne or Marsala wine, but for this recipe I made it with bourbon to pair with the peaches. Sabayon is an elegant dessert made with whipped eggs combined with whipped cream. Sabayon should not be confused with Zabayon, a similar dessert made from whipped eggs, Marsala and served warm.

Lemon Mousse is one of my favorite desserts. This recipe is very light and airy from Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts. This mousse is perfect for this time of year when we are between winter and spring fruit availability.

Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit Sauce, recipe.

Ever since I first made a pavlova, I put this dessert in the Five Star category. A classic dessert like early Hollywood actresses such as Catherine Deneuve and Grace Kelly It is exquisite with exceptional taste. Here is a recipe for Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit sauce. You can get the passion fruit pulp at your grocery store located in the Latin American food section of the frozen foods aisle.

Try making a vegan pavlova using Aquafaba Meringue with berries and coconut whipped cream. This recipe is from one of my first recipe posts when after three trials I could not whip coconut milk for the life of me. Since then, I have made whipped cream from the fat of full fat coconut milk with great success, especially when using Trader Joe’s brand.

Happy Spring

My promise to myself and my readers is, I will post nothing on this website that I am not satisfied with. Even though my son and husband thought there was nothing wrong with the cake, I just did not love it. I did not feel this was the type of cake that people will find irresistible and sneak in a slice for a midnight snack.

On the other hand, the above recipes are tried and true. I am looking forward to a new season and learning new dessert recipes to share with you.


© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

A song fills the room interrupting the gentle quiet of thoughtful work. “Love and happiness….. Yeahhhhh.  Something, make you want to do wrong.  Make you do right.  Yeahhhhhh.   Loooooooovvvee……” Spurred on by the anticipated snap, snap, snap, snap of the drum sticks, I am energized from Al Green’s soulful voice and welcome the interruption. The song and my mood are no longer still and quiet. Al Green serenades me as I work and invites me to sing aloud and dance. He is generous that way and knows how to get the romantic heart pumping.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

I’m empowered at the stove. With a wooden spoon in hand, I stir, sway and sing “Love and Happiness,” while creating a love song of my own with dark chocolate and Nutella. The name of my love song is, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a silky custard that could easily give Al Green some competition. This chocolate dessert has the right notes to create a sensual melody. A silky-smooth custard set the base notes while deep dark chocolate and Nutella establish a soulful rhythm. Sriracha punctuates with syncopated upbeats, downbeats and heartbeats.  A final touch of flaky sea salt ties it all together like the last ting from a symbol at the end of a song.  A soulful love melody.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe

I first discovered this recipe a few years ago while watching, The Best Thing I Ever Made: Chocoholics on Food Network.  Aarti Sequeira created Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Crème and she is absolutely right on claiming it is the best thing she ate. Lucky for me I stumbled upon this episode, because Chocolate Nutella Pots de Crème is not just the best chocolate dessert, it could be one of the best things I have ever had, period. It tops the charts in all categories. A swoon worthy chocolate hazelnut love song I sing again and again. “Yeeahhhh..”

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

 Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

Clues for Success making Chocolate Nutella Pots de Crème

  • The only challenging part is getting the custard cooked to just the right consistency and temperature without scrambling the eggs. This is accomplished by slowly cooking the custard over medium heat and stirring constantly. Keep stirring as it prevents the custard and egg yolks from sticking to the pan and solidifying.
  • The finished custard will have the consistency of thick paint. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon in an even layer. Swipe your finger across the back of the custard covered spoon. If the edges of the line run and drip down, it needs more time to cook. The custard is done when the line stays intact and the custard is thick. The temperature for the finished custard will be between 175°F and 180°F. Above 185°F the eggs will scramble.
  • Often, my custard reaches 175°F but is not thick enough. Keep stirring and control the heat by turning down the heat or take the pan off the heat for a minute then place it back on the heat. Keep stirring.
  • Trust your judgement.
  • Once assembled and in placed in the refrigerator, give Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme enough time to set, at least four hours. When set, it should have the consistency of pudding.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

If you are not a chocolate fan but still want an elegant dessert try Peaches and Berries layered with Bourbon Sabayon and substitute the peaches with seasonal fruit. Or, make the light and airy Lemon Mousse. Another winner is Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit Sauce.

For Your Listening Pleasure

Here is a link to my unfinished play list of love songs on Spotify. It is an eclectic list of music, with an R & B foundation. Enjoy it while you are creating Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme or a love song of your own creation. Yeahhhh! Love is….. Making dessert for someone.

What is your favorite Love Song? Let me know in the comments section below.


Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Crème could be one of the best things I have ever eaten. The custard is so smooth it is delightfully sensuous. All the flavors make the perfect blend with the just the right amount of spice to jazz things up. Serve in glasses, espresso cups, small coffee cups, or ramekins. Recipe is from Aarti Sequeira, Food Network .
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 - 1 cup servings
Author Ginger


  • 1 cup 10.5 oz / 303 g Nutella, or another chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • 3.5 oz 100 g dark chocolate (70 percent) chopped
  • 1 ½ cups 375 ml whole milk
  • 1 cup 250 ml heavy cream
  • ¼ cup 2 oz / 54 g granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1- 2 tsp Sriracha sauce 2 tsp if you like it spicy hot
  • ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For Garnishes

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraiche
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Minced hazelnuts for garnishing
  • Flaky sea salt I like Maldon


  1. Spoon the Nutella into a medium mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade), then add the chopped dark chocolate. Set aside.
  2. Add milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and Kosher salt to a medium size nonreactive saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium temperature. Briefly whisk together the ingredients. Switch out the whisk with a wooden spoon and cook the custard stirring constantly, scraping along the bottom and crevices of the saucepan to make sure the custard does not stick or burn. After the custard has cooked for a while, about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the custard beginning to get thicker. This is an indication your custard is getting finished.
  3. Look for these three clues that indicate the custard is done cooking; first, dip your wooden spoon into the custard to coat the spoon then run your finger across the back of the spoon to paint a line. Hold the spoon sideways, if the line edges stay intact, not runny, then the custard is ready. Second, the temperature of the custard should register between 175˚F and 180˚F (79°C - 82°C). Above 185˚F (85°C) the eggs will start to scramble. Third, the custard will look thicker, almost as thick as good quality house paint. Depending on the temperature of your stove, the cooking time should take between 10-15 minutes.
  4. When the custard is done, turn off the heat and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate and Nutella. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, organize 6 -8 oz (250 ml) serving glasses, ramekins, or small coffee mugs on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Thoroughly stir, or process in your food processor, the custard and chocolate until the chocolate is all melted and thoroughly mixed together. Then add the instant coffee, sriracha, and vanilla extract and stir again double checking the chocolate is melted and the custard is well mixed.
  7. Pour the chocolate into a container with a spout then pour the chocolate custard into serving dishes. Tap each glass against the countertop to remove any air bubbles in the chocolate pots de crème.
  8. Place the pots de creme in the refrigerator and chill until the custard is just chilled, about one hour. Once the pots de creme are cooled, cover each serving dish lightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Serve chilled and garnish each serving with whipped cream or crème fraiche, sprinkled coco powder, sea salt and chopped hazelnuts.
Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme recipe. The best chocolate dessert ever.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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