Cookbook Crush: March 2016 + Neiman Marcus CAKE!

We're new Costco members. That explains the 7 pounds of Nutella in my pantry. (That's what I'm telling myself anyway.)

Neiman Marcus CAKE!
Well, of course we must go up and down every aisle of Costco on each visit now...wouldn't want to miss a deal on something we didn't know we needed. That's when I spied The United Tastes of Texas by Jessica Dupuy. I stopped in my tracks...pretty much knowing it had to be mine. I didn't want to be hasty, though, so I opened to a random page. Yep. Sealed the deal. I needed it.

The United Tastes of Texas cookbook
Texas is a BIG place. Did you know? We cook more than steak and tacos around here, and this book covers every corner of the state. I'm IN LOVE with this book. LOVE.

So far, I've made Amigo Pie (like a Tamale Pie, yum), Banana Pudding (hello, comfort food), King Ranch Chicken (and this recipe doesn't call for any condensed soup's FABULOUS), and Neiman Marcus Cake.
Neiman Marcus CAKE

(When Spike isn't napping, he likes to supervise what's happening in the kitchen.)
Neiman Marcus CAKE
Now, I'd heard of the Neiman Marcus cookies, I've even made them on the blog, but cake?!? This, I needed to try.

Neiman Marcus CAKE
The cake is two layers, chocolate and cream cheese. The chocolate layer rises up around the edges creating a crust of sorts that is perfection. The chocolate cake itself looks like a brownie, but it's not. It's lighter and fluffy. The cream cheese layer is rich, but not too thick, like Goldilocks would say, "just right."

In the book, the recipe is baked in a 9 x 13" pan. I decided to make them in 9" round pans, making 2 cakes. Since I was giving one away, I baked them in these foil take-away pans, which I love. They're high-sided, so make sure you bake them in a 9" pan with tall sides, at least 3 inches.

Neiman Marcus CAKE
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Neiman Marcus Cake
{adapted from The United Tastes of Texas, makes two 9" round cakes}

2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9" round cake pans with tall sides. Stir the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

In a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the granulated sugar. Whisk in 2 of the eggs, one at a time, until blended. Whisk in the milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture into the chocolate in three additions.

Neiman Marcus CAKE
Divide evenly between the two pans.

Beat the cream cheese and remaining vanilla until smooth. On low speed, beat in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Beat in the remaining 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Neiman Marcus CAKE
Pour the mixture evenly over the chocolate batter, gently spreading with an offset spatula.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in the pans on a wire rack.

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The United Tastes of Texas and Neiman Marcus can't go wrong with either!

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