Tuesday, January 26, 2010
My Chocolate Signature
My cookbooks are littered with commentary on the recipes I've tried. I scribble little notes in pencil in the margins and it always surprises me to stumble upon a comment like "Excellent! The family loved it. Jan '87" If it was so great, why didn't I ever make it again? A lot of recipes are like that. But a few are the ones I turn to again and again.
This cake recipe was given to me by a girlfriend in high school and since that time I've made it so many times I could probably make it in my sleep. I've taken it to block parties and showers, made it for birthdays, girl-friend nights, and slumber parties, and also any time I have a chocolate craving that won't go away. If I had a signature dish, this would be it.
I've seen dozens of variations on this one, some calling for rum, some put nuts in the frosting, some low fat (euwww), but this version is my trusty go-to for when I need a chocolate cake in an hour. Seriously - an hour. I timed it making it this time. And it's such a forgiving cake that it takes an effort to screw it up. And you can make it with one pan, two bowls, and a wooden spoon (plus measuring utensils). Plus no weird ingredients. So any time a chocolate craving strikes, I'm an hour away from pure chocolate heaven. Does it say something about me that my signature dish is fast and easy?
Texas Fudge Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
5 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sifted flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Frosting (recipe below)
1- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F with rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 metal pan.
2- In a medium saucepan combine the butter, cocoa, and water. Bring to a boil.
3- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
4- Pour the hot ingredients in the the dry ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
5- Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Stir until the batter is smooth.
6- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (While the cake is baking, wash the saucepan and bowl. You'll use them for the frosting.)
7- Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Immediately make the frosting and pour the frosting over the warm cake. Spread the frosting evenly and let the cake cool as much as you can bear before cutting into squares and devouring.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1- In medium saucepan combine the butter, milk, cocoa, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a boil.
2- Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Pour the hot ingredients over the powdered sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until the frosting is smooth. (Think of this as pre-burning cake calories!)