Dessert Recipes

Food & Drink

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | What’s Cooking

Moist red velvet cupcake recipe from scratch with cream cheese frosting. Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Those right there (↑↑↑) are some moist red velvet cupcakes…in case you’re into that sort of thing. These little guys are just the right amount of sweet with a light, fluffy crumb and their hue is a deep, cherry red, which I prefer to the usual candy red variety of red velvet cakes. The perfect foil for these? Our Cream Cheese Frosting with just a little lemon for a hint of tangy brightness.

I wanted to top these with a generous amount of icing, so I doubled the frosting recipe and piped out a tall, spiraling tower of creamy deliciousness. Bring a batch of these to your next party (I did!); they’ll be the most popular thing there.

Moist red velvet cupcake recipe from scratch with cream cheese frosting. Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.


Food & Drink

Maple Apple Cobbler Recipe with Buttermilk and Rolled Oats | What’s Cooking

Easy Apple Crumble Recipe from Nordstrom with Rolled Oats and Buttermilk. Photo by Jeff Powell.Apple crisp, apple cobbler, apple Betty: these are all basically the same concept—unified by spiced apples and a buttery baked top. Whatever you call it, it is perfect for fall, is one of the easiest baked dessert recipes and has the warm, homey qualities of an apple pie without any futzing with a pie crust. Our version combines all the right pie spices with a tender, caramelized filling capped by a craggy, buttermilk and rolled oat crisp. Bonus, it can also be made up to two days in advance (see Editor’s Note).

At the restaurants where we offer this Maple Apple Cobbler, we serve it in personal-sized ramekins. It’s a more refined presentation, especially for entertaining. I used these adorable 8-ounce Le Creuset Mini Cocottes, but you could bake it all in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish (or anything with at least a 10-cup capacity).

When our Restaurants Team first sent me this recipe, I read the title as, “Maple Bacon Apple Cobbler.” Wishful thinking, I thought on a second read. Then I decided to go rogue. I crisped up some bacon, let it cool and then pulsed the browned bacon in a food processor until it was the size of small, salty, delicious sprinkles. After drizzling the vanilla bean gelato with maple syrup, instead of sea salt, I topped the final dish with my homemade bacon bits (pictured at the end). I was not disappointed. Loyal friend that it is, bacon never lets you down. Neither will this recipe, no matter how you finish it.

Le Creuset Mini Cocottes Dutch Oven Desserts. Photo by Jeff Powell.

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Food & Drink

Chocolate Paradise Cake with English Toffee | What’s Cooking

Chocolate Paradise Devil's Food Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Now for dessert: devil’s food cake, whipped bittersweet-chocolate ganache, English toffee-studded frosting and a generous final dusting of cocoa powder—all immersed in a pool of warm caramel sauce. That rich mouthful is how we create and serve a slice of our aptly named Chocolate Paradise Cake. It’s as delicious as it sounds, and our recipe makes it easy. Okay, maybe not as easy as something from a box, but from-scratch results using quality ingredients you know are immeasurably superior make the indulgence seem far more worth it.

Easy devil's food Chocolate Paradise Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.recipe

Our devil’s food recipe is moist, flavorful and can easily serve as your new go-to resource whenever you need a homemade chocolate cake. In the cake, sour cream adds moisture and activates the leavening agents; in the bittersweet ganache frosting, it helps smooth the texture and heightens the chocolate flavor.

And then there’s my favorite part—the buttery toffee, which squeezes in just a little more decadence with a sweet crunch. I couldn’t find a good plain English toffee readily available at my nearby grocery, so I made my own (overachiever!), but a rough chop of any tasty candy with a lot of crunchy toffee would work here. Bonus: For those of us who aren’t master bakers, the toffee sides and blanket of cocoa powder help make even the most rustic icing job look like a pro’s.

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Food & Drink

Nordstrom White Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe | What’s Cooking

White Chocolate Nordstrom Bread Pudding Recipe from Nordstrom Bistro; photo by Jeff Powell.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding: it’s the most-asked-for recipe here on the blog and the most popular dessert at Nordstrom Cafe Bistro. There’s a reason for that—it’s pretty incredible. While baking, the pudding filled my kitchen with the smell of French toast, and the half-exposed bread on top developed a light crust, which added a nice textural contrast to the silky interior. The orange zest gives the raspberry sauce a tasty hint of citrus, while the white chocolate cream sauce takes the whole decadent dish to a very special place. And (bonus!) it can be made ahead of time. White chocolate and raspberries are a winning combination, and this is a perfect recipe for celebrating Mother’s Day—or any time you need a ridiculously good dessert.

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Food & Drink

Dark Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Recipe, Holiday Entertaining Menu Dessert | What’s Cooking:

Our chefs, Wit & Wonder Gifts team and blog editor take the stress out of planning a full-course menu that’s memorable (in a good way) and won’t keep you stuck in the kitchen all night. In a special What’s Cooking series, we’re serving up six perfectly paired, delicious recipes and inspiration for holiday entertaining—from drinks and dessert to décor and gifts.

Nordstrom recipe for triple chocolate cheesecake with Maker's dark chocolate and mint; photo by Jeff Powell.

After cocktails, a salad, side dish and entrée…finally, dessert! And it’s more than worthy of capping off the impressive dinner menu. After making this rich and fudgy cheesecake at home to photograph, I brought it into the office to share with my cohorts in digital creative. I’ll let just a few of their unsolicited email responses speak for themselves.

“it’s SO GOOD!” -Tina R., Senior Designer

“Wow. Superb. Truly delicious. And I’m not even a cheesecake guy!” -Andy C., Creative Director

“Best. Cheesecake. Ever!  Wow!!” Corinna H., Web Designer

“Oh wow, that is so delicious!!” -Jamie K., Copy Manager

“And it was DELICIOUS!’ -Amy B., Creative Director

“!!!!!!!!!!” -Justin A., Senior Editor

Nordstrom recipe for triple chocolate cheesecake with Maker's dark chocolate and mint; photo by Jeff Powell.

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Food & Drink

What’s Cooking: Berry Shortcakes with Lemon Curd and Blackberry Sauce

In this edition of What’s Cooking, we’re helping you squeeze all you can out of the last bits of summer berry season with a sweet and lemony filling topped with ripe blackberries and raspberries—all sandwiched between an easy, buttery shortcake.

With another easy-to-follow recipe developed by our corporate chef Michael Northern and his small army of chefs and contributors, our blog editor Jeff Powell proves (with his photographic evidence) that you don’t have to be a professional chef to transform beautiful ingredients into irresistible food that’s meant to be shared with family and friends.

Summer-Berry-Shortcake-Recipe-with-Lemon-Curd-and-Blackberry-Sauce-recipSummer Berry Shortcake Recipe with Lemon Curd and Blackberry Sauce recipe from Nordstrom.e-from-Nordstrom

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Food & Drink

What’s Cooking: White Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries

Introducing our newest feature: What’s Cooking. Get ready for delicious, seasonal recipes from our four Nordstrom cookbooks, including beloved dishes from our restaurants and other original, simple-to-follow recipes developed by our corporate chef, Michael Northern, and his small army of chefs and contributors.

Nordstrom Blog Editor Jeff will be taking you into the kitchen as he brings home what’s fresh in Seattle to create a dish and prove (with his photographic evidence) that you don’t have to be a professional chef to transform beautiful ingredients into irresistible food meant to be shared with family and friends.

Best white chocolate mousse recipe with berries from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell


It’s been one of the most amazing summers I can remember here in Seattle, and I like to celebrate such gorgeous weather by snatching up the berries we have at the Broadway Farmers Market. The first few recipes we’ll be sharing are perfect for showcasing these plump little juice-bombs. First up: raspberries—though this mousse plays well with any summer berry that makes you happy.

White Chocolate Mousse with Summer Berries

(Makes 8 Servings)

For me, hot and sunny days call for a light-feeling dessert, especially one like this that doesn’t require turning on the oven—just a barely lit stove with enough heat to melt some luscious white chocolate. For such a straightforward recipe with so few components, the resulting airy texture of this rich and velvety dessert seems almost unbelievable. As always, but especially here, quality ingredients are key.

From the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook: 

“Not that there is anything wrong with dark chocolate mousse (you can use bittersweet chocolate to replace the white chocolate in this recipe), but the mousse’s silky texture and pristine color is irresistible. When purchasing white chocolate, be sure the ingredients include cocoa butter. Tangy fresh berries balance the mousse’s sweetness.” –Marcus Matusky, contributing chef

1¼ cups heavy cream
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
4 large eggs, separated*
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
4 cups assorted fresh berries, such as raspberries and blueberries
White chocolate curls

1. Pour ¼ inch water into a medium skillet and bring to a bare simmer over low heat. Pour ¼ cup of the heavy cream into a heatproof small bowl. Add the white chocolate. Place the bowl in the skillet and turn off the heat. Let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool slightly.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow and thickened. Gradually whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Let stand, stirring often, until tepid, about 10 minutes. (If the mixture is too warm, it will melt the whipped cream in the next step.)

3. Beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream in a chilled medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to lighten its texture. Fold in the remaining cream.

4. Using clean beaters, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whip just until the peaks are stiff and shiny. Stir one-quarter of the beaten egg whites into the white chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

5. Divide the mousse among 8 individual bowls or wine glasses. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Garnish with berries and white chocolate curls; serve chilled.

To make chocolate curls, let a chunk of chocolate (at least 6 ounces) stand in a warm place in the kitchen for about 1 hour. Working over a plate, use a vegetable peeler to shave curls from the chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm the curls before using.

Editor’s Note. I confess: No doubt some of you eagle-eyed readers have noticed my lack of a white-chocolate-curl garnish on the final martini glass presentation. After I finished all the whisking and beating, I noticed the extra chocolate I reserved had vanished. Into my mouth. I’ll just call it “overzealous quality control.” In a culinary make-it-work moment, a sprig of mint seemed like a classic, colorful substitution to complement those ruby-red raspberries.

The best part about making this mousse was watching the looks of near delirium on my friends’ faces as they relished their first spoonful. The combination of voluminous, silky sweetness and fat little berries at the height of freshness made for a dessert that’s nothing less than summertime perfection. I love how elegant it looks and tastes.

Download a PDF of this recipe to print, or find it in our Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook. Have a favorite recipe from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

[Photos by Jeff Powell]

*This recipe contains under-cooked eggs, which have been known to carry the potentially harmful salmonella bacterium. Do not serve to the very young or elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

Best white chocolate mousse recipe with berries from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell
Food & Drink

Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

This spring, it’s not just the clothes that are colorful; farmers’ markets are overflowing with gorgeous fruits and vegetables. And since May is National Strawberry Month, we’re sharing Chef Michael Northern’s signature shortcake recipe from our Nordstrom Flavors cookbook.

“Over the last few years, American cooks have discovered what Italians have known for years: balsamic vinegar goes great with strawberries. Here, old-fashion strawberry shortcake is given a dramatic twist with a sweet-tart glaze made with balsamic vinegar and sugar. The recipe also illustrates the umami talents of balsamic vinegar as a flavor enhancer.” —Chef Michael Northern

2/3 cup (1 1/4 sticks) ice cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for the pan
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream, plus more for brushing the shortcakes
1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

To make the Shortcakes, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Affix the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, beat until the mixture is crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The mixture will come together in a ball. In a small bowl mix together the cream and buttermilk. On low speed, gradually beat in the cream mixture until a stiff, moist dough forms.

Using 1/2 cup of the dough for each shortcake (a 4-ounce spring-action ice cream scoop works well, or use a dry measuring cup), portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the portions 1 inch apart, to make 8 shortcakes total. Brush the tops with cream, and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake the shortcakes are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire cake rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the shortcakes to the rack and let cool completely.

To make the Sweetened Whipped Cream, in a chilled large bowl, using the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, whip the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream holds firm peaks. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Strawberry Topping, in a bowl, combine the strawberries and granulated sugar and toss gently to coat evenly. Let stand until the berries release some juices, about 30 minutes.

To make the Balsamic Drizzle, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar and granulated sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture has reduced by nearly half and the glaze is syrupy, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. (If the glaze thickens too much dilute it with warm water until it is the consistency of chocolate syrup.)

For each serving, slice a shortcake in half horizontally and place the bottom, cut side up, on a dessert plate. Top with some strawberries and then with some whipped cream. Using a spoon, streak the berries and cream with a fine drizzle of the balsamic glaze. Cap with the top half of the shortcake. Using a fine mesh sieve, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Download a PDF of this recipe to print or save.

Jeff Powell