Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Quick Chocolate Cake

Two years ago my girlfriend and I were playing cards at my mom's house. Between hands my mom gets up and tells us she is going to make "a quick chocolate cake". A little bit of skepticism crossed. And that is exactly what it was, because 10 minutes later there was a cake in the oven, and a short time after that we were enjoying warm, moist chocolaty goodness.

I have made this cake for years, and never once did I stop and consider that it took me less time to make this than to make, say, a batch of biscuits. It is pretty straight forward, and tastes better than most chocolate cakes that are put in front of me. Do yourself a favor though, and do not skimp on ingredients. You can use butter, margarine, or even Smart Balance, but do not use fat-free sour cream (low-fat is cool). Your cake will be slightly mushy.

This cake is great by itself, but even better with cream cheese frosting.

Quick Chocolate Cake (Red Devil's Food)

3/4 C butter
2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
2 1/2 C cake flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 C cocoa
1 C boiling water
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat until nice and fluffy. Add dry ingredients, followed by sour cream. Mix well, make sure to scrape out sides as some will stick. Add boiling water, mix slowly until incorporated, then mix well. Add vanilla last. Pour into a greased pan (I like Baker's Joy). Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Some notes.
- Beat the sugar, butter and eggs well. But once you start adding everything else, be sure not to over mix. This will affect the moistness and tenderness of the cake.
- Add the vanilla last. This is not because the vanilla will curdle, it is because if you add the hot liquid after it will evaporate the vanilla's alcohol. This does not allow the alcohol soluble flavors to come out in the taste.
-This cake works well as a bundt, which allows more even cooking.
-Baking time will vary on your oven, but leave it alone if possible. Do not use a toothpick or open the oven often, it will cause the cake to fall. So how do you tell if it's done? If the cake is barely wobbly in the center. If it is completely firm it is over done, if it is gooey it needs a bit more time.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 C butter
1 8oz. package cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla (or 1 tsp each vanilla and almond extract)
1/2 package of powdered sugar.

Let butter and cream cheese come to room temperature and soften. Beat in mixer until creamy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add milk, if too thin, add more powdered sugar. If you don't think you have enough, add some milk and powdered sugar to increase the volume slightly.

One last thing. Great cake deserves milk. Always


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