Valentine’s Day….and Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, meaning you could turn the whole weekend into a love fest if you wanted to at our inn in Chestertown, MD

valentine's day chocolate cake recipe

If you’re in need of something chocolate this Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year, this is going to become your go-to chocolate cake recipe, we promise.  In fact, it’s quite possibly the last chocolate cake recipe you will ever need and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Everyone loves it:  it tastes fantastic!

2. It just happens to be vegan chocolate cake recipe, so if you’re worried about what to feed your vegan niece or your best friend’s new vegan boyfriend, this is it.

3.  You probably have all ingredients in your kitchen all the time.

4. It’s incredibly versatile: you can even make it right in the pan if you want.  Alternatively, you can make it in one layer, or several; make cupcakes of varying sizes; serve it plain, dust it with confectioner’s sugar, glaze it with chocolate ganache, ice it with your favorite icing; only your imagination and your stamina will hold you back.

5. It’s super fast to make: 10 minutes to put it together and 20 to 30 minutes to bake it, depending on the size of the pan or pans.  You’re supposed to let it cool when it’s done, but it’s not unheard of to eat it right out of the pan!

If you search the web for a vegan chocolate cake recipe, there are several very similar renditions out there; this one comes from The Moosewood Collective’s Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, but here at our inn in Chestertown, MD, we gave it this awesome name:

Super Simple-Devilishly Delicious-Chocolate Cake

 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, or better yet raw cacao

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil

1 cup cold water OR chilled brewed coffee

2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Oil and dust with cocoa an 8 inch cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.  If making cupcakes, line with paper or foil liners. For this recipe, it is imperative that your oven be hot and your pan is ready to go.

2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Make a well in the center.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, water or coffee, and the vanilla.  Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until nicely blended and there are no lumps.

4.  Add the vinegar and stir; it will react with the baking soda immediately and leave pale streaks in the batter.  Immediately pour the batter into the pan or pans.  Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, checking it at 20.  If you are making cupcakes, it will take less time to bake.

See? Four easy steps and you’re done!  And guess what? Those heart shaped pans come in just the right size. Try baking this delicious cake today and learn why we love it here at our Maryland bed and breakfast.



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Brampton Chili will help take the chill off!


The chill of winter always makes us crave soup.  It’s so nice to end the day with some good bread, a green salad, and a bowl of something piping hot.  We’ve shared some  of our favorite soups with you before, and now we’d like to share the recipe for our chili that has nourished many of our guests at our Chestertown, MD Inn over several winters past.

This is a simple and very forgiving, even malleable, recipe.  You can make it with whatever meat you want (beef, turkey, chicken, or a mixture), or you can leave out the meat altogether and simply add more veggies (carrots, celery, different colored bell peppers) and more beans.  This will make a particularly colorful chili, especially if you add corn, carrots and different types of beans (black, pinto, kidney).  There are, however, 2 particular key ingredients that make either version so good.

If you have a favorite chili powder blend, by all means use it.  If not, then we highly recommend something called, I kid  you not,  Chili 3000  from Penzeys Spices.  We discovered it years ago and now it’s one of those items we can’t be without.  And by the way, if you aren’t familiar with the Penzeys Catalog, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is one of the very few catalogs that we are actually excited to get at our Chestertown, MD Inn.  To see what new blends they’ve come up with, and to check out the tons of recipes submitted by actual users. It’s one of those times when the catalog is actually better – or more fun – than the website.

The second ingredient that’s key is the vegetable juice.  Remember that this will be on the salty side, even if you buy the low sodium version, so be sure to let the chili cook down and taste it before you add any salt. Many chili recipes only call for chopped or crushed tomatoes, but the addition of the veggie juice really does give the flavor depth.


Serves 4 to 6 depending on how hungry everybody is.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1-2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste

2 cups vegetable juice (V8 type)

2 15 ounce cans chopped tomatoes

1 15 ounce can kidney beans (or your favorite bean, or a mixture of beans)

1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan; add onion and cook over medium  heat until it softens and is just beginning to caramelize.  Add pepper (and other veggies if using) and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.   Add ground turkey and mix well.   Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until turkey is no longer pink.  Stir in chili powder mixing well and let cook for another 5 minutes before adding all remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and freshly chopped cilantro and parsley.


Chestertown, MD Inn

cyclonebill via Wiki Commons

Add a crackling fire and some fuzzy slippers and what more could you ask for??

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Same Sex Weddings at the Brampton Inn

Ever since the state of Maryland changed it’s laws to permit same sex marriages, back in January of 2012 we’ve had several calls and inquiries, and a few ceremonies here.  But more recently, in June of 2013, when the Supreme Court decided that the federal government must recognize these marriages, the inquiries have practically tripled!!

We have been delighted to host so many Maryland gay weddings (at one point, we had 3 in one weekend!!)  Our intimate wedding and elopement packages seem to be just the thing so many couples are looking for, regardless of sexual orientation!!   Whether it’s a small gathering of up to 20, or just for the two of you, we are here to help you celebrate your Maryland gay weddings and make it your own.  And we don’t care if you want two bouquets, two boutonnieres, or one of each!  Give us a call; we love planning weddings!

maryland gay weddings

Here are just a few photos from some ceremonies last summer:

Rachel and Christine

maryland gay weddings


maryland gay weddings



Karen and Tara

maryland gay weddings


gay weddings in maryland


Jen and Leigh

gay weddings in maryland

gay weddings in maryland

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