Chocolate Cake

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst daughter. See, it’s my dad’s birthday on Saturday, and I said I’d make him a chocolate cake with caramel frosting like his mom used to make. Well, I got sick yesterday, and I’m still feeling rather awful. And to make matters worse, I don’t actually have that caramel frosting recipe. My dad and all his brothers received a homemade recipe book from my grandmother one year for Christmas. It’s full of typed up family recipes. Sadly, I don’t have one. I wish I did. I’d make everything in it. I think this might be a tragedy.

So, I didn’t make a chocolate cake with caramel frosting, but I do have something just as good to share with you that actually reminds me a lot of the kind of cake my dad would make. It’s super simple, ridiculously chocolaty, and blow your mind delicious. My dad would have a big slice of it with some melting vanilla ice cream and call it breakfast.

In addition to all the other awesome stuff my dad taught me, I also learned to appreciate good, simple, down home food. I remember my dad coming home from work and sitting on the couch with a block of Tillamook cheddar and a paring knife. He’d pass ’round slices of cheese to everybody for half an hour. That was how we snacked in my house.

Chocolate cake2

There are actually two secret ingredients in this chocolate cake which starts with a box mix, but you don’t have to tell anybody about that either. The first is mayonnaise. Mayo is basically eggs and oil anyway, so it’s not that big of a stretch. It doesn’t make your cake taste like a ham sandwich. On the contrary, it makes it incredibly moist.

The second secret ingredient is a bit of cinnamon. I love the warmth it adds to the chocolate. I’m not sure I’d be able to identify it as cinnamon if I didn’t know it was there. It just makes everything richer and more interesting. 

And obviously you have to cover the whole thing in chocolate frosting. This one reminds me of the chocolate frosting my dad used to make using Nestle’s Quik. It was awesome! Who cares? I’ve been doing this no money thing my whole life. 

Chocolate cake3

Happy birthday, dad! I owe you a cake.

Photos by Monica Szczupider

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake
Serves 10
A moist chocolate cake with a hint of cinnamon, covered in chocolate frosting to make it extra awesome
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the cake
  1. 1 box chocolate cake mix
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise
  3. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 cup water
For the frosting
  1. 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together all the cake ingredients until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Evenly pour batter into your two pans and bake according to time on the box. If you hoard the cake batter left behind in the bowl, I won't judge you.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about five minutes, then turn out to cool on a wire rack. Allow the layers to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it's smooth and creamy.
  2. Sift in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and beat on medium speed.
  3. Slowly add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if needed to reach a spreadable consistency.
  4. Place your first cake layer on it's final destination and spread about a third of the frosting on top.
  5. Carefully place the second layer on top. Frost the side and top of the cake. You can swirl it, stripe it, spike it. Whatever you like. Just don't skimp.
  6. Don't wait for someone's birthday to put this in your face.
Notes
  1. This can also be made in a 13x9 inch pan, which is what my dad would do.
Adapted from 1001 Fast Easy Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge from Awesome on 20

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge Cake

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge from Awesome on 20

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday. I made him a cake because that’s what I do. If only he could eat it. Alas, my in-laws live in Northern England, in the most beautiful little town where everything is so green it almost hurts your eyes. I absolutely fell in love with the place when we went to visit a couple years ago. 

Ken with chickens

Luckily, my in-laws, Ken and Barbara (take a second to giggle) have had the opportunity to come visit us in Hawaii twice now. I think they might like it here as much as I like it there. We tend to have an overabundance of sunshine, something I understand is quite rare in England. When I asked Ken what kind of dessert he wanted for this birthday, he requested something with the lilikoi, also known as passion fruit in English, that are growing in our backyard.

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge

I combined a Hawaiian favorite with an English classic to make this cake. I love it when two worlds collide. The lilikoi curd is sweet and tart, and the cake is rich and buttery. The fresh sweetened whipped cream is silky and light. There’s no frosting on this cake, so I think that makes it perfect for summer. You can shovel it in without feeling too heavy.

Ken and Barbara

I get a kick out of picturing Ken in his rocker days on his motorcycle, and I laugh to myself every time I hear my husband unknowingly delivering one of his dad’s jokes. I hope he would like this cake. I know we did.

Happy birthday, Ken!

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Victoria Sponge Cake
Serves 8
A combination of tropical and classical to make an excellent Hawaiian English birthday cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 175 grams (3/4 cup) butter, softened
  2. 175 grams (1-1/2 cups) sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 175 grams (1-1/2 cups) self-rising flour
  5. 3 tablespoons milk
  6. 3/4 cup passion fruit curd
  7. 1-1/2 cups whipped cream
  8. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees and butter two nine-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour over the butter mixture and add the milk. Fold to combine.
  5. Divide the batter between your two pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cakes in the pans for ten minutes then cool completely before adding the fun stuff.
  7. Put your first cake layer on your cake stand and spread the curd (or whatever fruity and delicious filling suits your fancy) evenly over the cake. Mine dripped a lot. It's fun that way.
  8. Add the whipped cream and spread that onto your cake as well.
  9. Top with the second cake layer.
  10. Put your powdered sugar into a mesh sieve and tap it over the cake to create a dusting of powdered sugar all over the top.
  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy. Imagine yourself in Hawaii or England. Whichever you prefer.
Notes
  1. The butter is the star of this cake, so this is a good time to splurge on the good stuff, or use the rule of second cheapest. Low quality butter can lead to a mealy cake.
  2. Measurements for fillings are approximate and interchangeable. I've also made this cake with raspberry jam, which is more traditional. Use whatever you love.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
http://awesomeon20.com/

 

Check us out at Chef in Training's link party
Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party

 

 

 

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)

Lemon Polenta Cake

My husband bought us the most wonderful present the other day. Really it’s for his chameleon, but I like to pretend it’s for me. I just can’t wait until it starts working its magic.

Little Lemon Tree

We now have our very own lemon tree! It’s being protected from the chickens so they don’t try and eat all the leaves off of it before it has a chance to fulfill it’s mission of giving me luscious beautiful fresh lemons. I used to live in a country where lemons were nearly impossible to find, so they’re rather precious to me.

Lemon Polenta Cake

I’m so in love with our baby tree that I absolutely had to share this lemon polenta cake. Can you keep a secret? This cake is gluten free. Whatevs. It’s totally delicious and lemony and heavenly with an amazing texture.

Cornmeal plus lemon syrup equals sweet sticky cake of magnificence.

And it’s all mature and sophisticated with it’s frostingless simplicity, so you can pretend to be an adult when you serve it. It’s stunning even in its lack of decadence.

Lemon Polenta Cake

I can’t wait until we have our first backyard lemons. I’ll probably do a little dance. What else can I make with them?

Lemon Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)
Yields 1
A simple and delicious lemon cake that's naturally gluten free
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
for the cake
  1. 200 grams (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  3. 200 grams (2 cups) ground almonds
  4. 100 grams (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  5. 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 3 eggs
  7. zest of 2 lemons
for the syrup
  1. juice of 2 lemons
  2. 125 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
for the cake
  1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment, and grease the sides with butter
  2. Preheat your oven to 350.
  3. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Combine the almonds, cornmeal, and baking powder in a separate bowl, then mix a third of the mixture into the butter and sugar. Add an egg and combine. Continue alternating dry ingredients and eggs until everything is combined.
  5. Finally mix in the lemon zest.
  6. Transfer the batter to your pan and bake for 40 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  8. In a small saucepan, boil the lemon juice and powdered sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  9. With a toothpick, prick tiny holes in your cake, then pour the syrup over the cake and let it sink in.
  10. Once cool, remove the collar from your pan. Serve a big wedge with wine and experience pure joy.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Cake images by Monica Szczupider

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