Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cake matters

It's birthday time. We recently celebrated a First birthday for the owner of the smallest chair here at la tavola (also the owner of this messy wee hand) and now it's blog birthday as well.

5 years.

To you dear reader (many of you who are also writers of the blogs I enjoy), thank you for your time and comments over the years. I will pass on an old family recipe for chocolate cake. You can never have too many.

~Grandma's chocolate cake~

2 Cups of flour
1/2 c dutch process cocoa
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 c butter
2 c packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 c (125mL) buttermilk or soured milk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
250mL hot water

In a medium bowl, sift and measure the flour then sift in the measured cocoa.

Add the soda to the measured butter milk in a tall sided pouring cup. If you have no buttermilk handy or don't want to buy a liter of the stuff for the small amount required in this recipe, you can also add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to a 125mL measure and fill the remainder up with milk. Mix in the vinegar and allow the milk to set for a minute or so before adding the soda. Transfer the milk to a 2 cup (500mL) measure and add soda. This allows space for the bubbling that will occur when you add the basic soda to the acidic milk.

Heat the kettle.

Cream the sugar and butter together and add the slightly beaten eggs, mixing well.

Add the flour and cocoa to the sugar and eggs, mixing slightly before adding the sour milk and soda combination. When lump free and well mixed (by hand, no hand mixer required here), add 250ml of hot, not boiling, water.

Stir hot water into the batter until the mixture is smooth.

Pour evenly into prepared pans (a scale can help here). I cover the bottom with parchment then grease and flour 2 x 8" (20cm) cake tins. One other little favourite trick is the use of insulating cake strips.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325F (163C) for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, or with a few slightly moist crumbs. I find it can take a little longer if you use the cake pan insulating strips.

Cover with the icing of your choice, my favourite chocolate accompaniment, Italian style meringue or the most under rated egg white frosting out there, 7 minute icing.

Buon compleanno!