Spicy Chocolate Cake

For my mother’s birthday, I knew I wanted to make a cake for her. I wanted to make a cake from her childhood, but not one of her grandmother’s cakes. Those cakes really rock and I share those recipes from time to time. I wanted something a bit different though, so I chose a classic Coca-Cola cake (a southern favorite). Yes, we had a theme.

I tweaked it a bit though to give it a modern flavor and blended it into one of our family’s favorite ways to have chocolate. Variously called Mayan Chocolate, Aztec Chocolate, or Mexican Chocolate, I added a bit of chipotle and cinnamon to give it an updated flair. Since, I doubt the Mayans or Aztecs made cakes with marshmallows and soda–I will abstain from giving it a false designation–though we had quite the discussion of the creation story that involved “Coca-chautel”.

The crust came out quite firm and if you want it spicier–add more chipotle. I use the dried chipotle “minicubes” available at our grocer. One cube is said to equal one chipotle. If you don’t have the cubes–use ground chipotle pepper–probably about a teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper and 1/2 tsp salt.

Spicy Chocolate Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 cup butter
2 cups marshmallows
1 cube chipotle seasoning
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix flour and sugar together in large bowl. In saucepan melt butter, and mix with cocoa. Add Coca-Cola, cinnamon, chipotle cube and marshmallows and stir until melted and well blended. Add to flour/sugar mixture and mix well. Beat eggs together with buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Add to mixture in large bowl.

Pour into WELL-GREASED bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Note: My well-greased didn’t work so hot, I missed a side of the pan and it stuck, so you got a lovely picture of the pretty half of the cake.

Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake Recipe My daughter bakes all the time. She loves it. She gets birthday cake requests from EVERYONE…except me (or Denise). I teased her about not offering to bake me a cake a few weeks ago. Last weekend she found one that she wanted to bake, but we inexplicably had no baking soda.

Daughter felt sad–me not so much. I like cake well enough; I just don’t hanker for it in general. Perhaps part of the problem, I did not have a “favorite” cake for her to make.

I might have chosen this one though because I love sponge cakes even though no one has ever made me one for my birthday (or anything else) Sponge cakes are the opposite of Angel Food cakes and really should carry the name Devil’s Food. They don’t though and this lightly lemon cake has you dream of angels and more.

This recipe comes from “Learn to Bake — You’ll Love It” a 1947 promotional cookbook from General Foods.

Definitely sift. Use a mixer though, (with two bowls) unless you are wicked good with a rotary egg beater.

Swans Down Sponge Loaf (5 eggs)

1 cup sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
5 egg yolks (at room temperpature)
1 cup sifted sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Sift flour once, measure and sift four times.

Beat egg yolks in small bowl, adding 1/2 cup sugar gradually, beating consistently with rotary egg beater. Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, and water and add to egg mixture gradually, beating constantly until very thick and light. Add flour all at once and fold in until just blended.

Beat egg whites and salt with flat wire whisk or rotary egg beater until foamy. Then add cream of tartar and beat until stiff enough to hold up in peaks, but not dry. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well with whisk or beater. Fold in egg yolk mixture.

Turn into ungreased round 9-inch tube pan. Bake in moderate oven. (375 F) 30 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and invert pan 1 hour, or until cold.

To serve, cut in wedges and top with Cocoa Whipped Cream. Or Strawberry Fluff Frosting. (Or leave it alone–no reason to gild this lily)

Angel Food Cake with Green Grapes

Everyone seems to serve angel food cake with strawberries. I am not a strawberry fan. There…I confessed it. I only like small, homegrown strawberries warm from the sun and very ripe.

I love the fact this version, found taped in the front of an old cookbook uses grapes or blueberries as the topping. The sour cream/brown sugar mixture is a nice change of pace from pudding or whipped cream.

Wash and chill about one pound of seedless green grapes (or blueberries). Mix 2 cups cold sour cream with 1 cup brown sugar. Stir until well dissolved; fold in chilled grapes. Put on top of cake, filling center completely and running down sides decoratively. Serve immediately; cake tastes better when topping is cold.

Of Cake Wrecks and Birthday Girls

My 13 yo 14 yo (ok…she will be 14 in a day) has a thing for vampires.  She is after all…the AGE. So we have gone through Twilight, through Sookie Stackhouse, Vampire Academy, classic vampire fiction, and  through a number of the sketchy genre called paranormal romances. Yes, we. You see, I have this annoying habit of taking an interest in what my children enjoy. It has given me hours of Runescape joy, Animorphs pain, too much knowledge of Neopets, Jelly Car, Pirates, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and now vampires. (Not all the same children-though some overlap)

On September 22nd I sent the girl child this Cake Wreck

Twilight Cake Wreck

She emailed back and said OMG, I want that EXACT cake for my birthday.  I emailed back with “uh, you know it is a cake wreck right?” She wrote back with “What is a cake wreck?” Whereupon I emailed her and said she really should spend more time shoulder surfing with her siblings. (who are very into the joys of the cake wreck) In any case, she still wanted it for her birthday.

Last week, I said to Denise: We need to order that cake wreck for RJ’s birthday. “What cake wreck? Why?” “You know that one she wants for her birthday.” (Forgetting like the children that we do not share a brain.) So I sent her the picture thinking no problem. You probably can order ice cream cakes online for Twilight and be done with it. Fortunately, Denise didn’t think so and looked into it. Apparently the Twilight cakes are hard to get. She special ordered the printed sugar plastic thingy thinking ok, we will do it ourselves. It came in the mail. Then commenced the hunt for the cake.  Hunt was right. Apparently, sheet ice cream cakes are out of vogue. Four ice cream places scouted-no sheet cakes-all round. Finally, Jewel Osco had some rectangular ones but they were too small. Oh well. We will trim and fit.

Yesterday Denise did just that–but she definitely is not a cake decorator. So, there was a cake wreck of a cake wreck:
RJBday 027

It was even better once children decided where to put candles…yeah…well…they are unusual children. Birthday girl loved it. Denise saved the day with her cake wreck and careful work of love.