Friday, May 4, 2012

Starting (again) with chocolate.

I've missed blogging. Not going to make any excuses, I just want to say a warm hello.  We've still been eating, of course,  just not photographing our eats.  It's like I've taken a long winter's nap and as the earth is warming and bursting to grow and change so am I.  I'm so excited to use some of these ideas I've been collecting over the past months.  Today I'm simply going to start with a sweet treat that is a standard in our house for birthdays. Got to start somewhere.  This recipe is tried and true, always moist and rich.  It's our family's Chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting. You can jazz it up with raspberries, or it's lovely with a coating of chopped toasted almonds pressed into the fudgey frosting.  Like I said it's our standard recipe, but in my awakening even though I know this recipe is great...this week I was inspired to think way outside the box and try my new friend and local Twin Cities blogger Sarah's recipe.  She writes "The Vanilla Bean Blog" This blog is beautiful in every way. The point of her blog is about heritage.  Her goal is to create a family history in food. She takes recipes from her past and makes them new again. She  creates a legacy for her little ones.  I LOVE this!'s an example, Sarah took her favorite chocolate cake recipe and brought it to a whole new level!  How about something savory paired with the sweet butter cream?  She created a chocolate cake with BASIL butter cream frosting.  Here's the link to her lovely blog and inventive creation.

Since there is nothing wrong with tradition, below is my "Make it, make it, make it" version...still good if you don't want to rock the boat. Friends have asked for the recipe, so it's my pleasure to share:

Kelli's (Formerly Helen's) Chocolate Cake 
(Our family friend Helen has passed, so I'm going to claim it now)

1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
2 c. flour (I use unbleached AP flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking soda

2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla (I use a bit more...can't hurt)
1 c. boiling water

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla.  Mis until well combined (medium speed on mixer)  Slowly add boiling water.  Batter will be quite thin.

Pour into prepared 8 inch round pans or one 9x13.  Bake at 350 degrees until center springs back or toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

2 (1 oz.) squares of unsweetened dchocolate
2 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (here again I dump in a few more)  Love Guittard chocolate chips
1 c. butter softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk or cream
2 tsp. vanilla

Place chocolate in top of double boiler, bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to low cook until chocolate melts, stirring often.  Remove from heat.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add chocolate, powdered sugar and remaining ingredients; beat until spreading consistency.

This makes a lot of frosting.  Cut in half for one cake of make it all, it freezes well.

So my lesson is start...just start.  Bake a cake from scratch.  You won't be sorry and you'll start your own traditions, but never be afraid to think outside the box.
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