This was going to be a fun cake recipe. And then there was a flood. So it’s still fun, but it’s also bizarre and memorable. If you are want to donate to support South Carolina flood victims, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division has a list of organizations that are working in the state.
I’ve mentioned a few times before that I like making cakes from scratch. There’s a lot of work involved, and so many ingredients and bowls and utensils — don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why boxed cake mixes were invented, and why they’re incredibly popular. But sometimes it’s great get back to basics. This used to be the only way to make cake: butter, eggs, flour, and perhaps some chocolate.
And people could be really judgmental about making cakes, too. There’s a whole story in this Baker’s Chocolate advertisement about Paula and her mother-in-law — and in the end, Paula’s amazing cake is what gets her accepted by her new family.
2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or other shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten
3 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, soda and salt, and sift together three times. Cream butter thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Then add chocolate and blend. Add flour, alternately with milk, a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla. Bake in two greased 9-inch layer pans in moderate oven (350°F.) 30 minutes. Spread Golden Cream Filling between layers and Chocolate Fluff Frosting on top and sides of cake.
Let’s get started!
Thanks to modern technology, creaming butter and sugar is a breeze. It still takes a while, but you just need to stare at it instead of constantly working.
And microwaves simplify melting, too.
It’s actually kinda cute that you can still see the pattern stamped into Baker’s chocolate after it’s been melted (well, as long as you don’t stir).
Butter, sugar, and chocolate. OMG.
Alternating flour and milk is a bit fiddly, but again, having the electric mixer, everything’s pretty simple.
I was very pleased at how fluffy the batter came out. A little bit dry, not easy to pour, but quite fluffy.
Great. We have cakes. Phew.
GOLDEN CREAM FILLING. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons Swans Down Cake Flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in top of double boiler. Add 1 1/2 cups milk gradually, mixing thoroughly. Place over boiling water and cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour small amount of mixture over 2 slightly beaten egg yolks, stirring vigorously; return to double boiler and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and cool. If deeper yellow tint is desired, add few drops of yellow coloring. Makes enough filling to spread between two 9-inch layers.
The cream filling starts off with making a custard. Time to whip out my fancy glass-bowl-on-a-pot double boiler!
I asked Buzz to help out stirring the custard for a minute while I went to check the recipe on the laptop. I came back to find him leaned over looking incredibly bored… but still diligently stirring away.
Gotta love a cute kitchen assistant.
After a quick tempering, the egg yolks were added and then the custard was set aside to cool off and thicken up.
The custard is possibly the worst-done item in this assembly. It did set and thicken, but not quite as much as I might like. (However, it’s quite delicious. The kids licked the bowl and immediately asked for more.)
CHOCOLATE FLUFF FROSTING. Cream 4 tablespoons butter, add 3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar and blend. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 squares Baker’s Unsweetened chocolate, melted, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat two egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Add 3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Then continue beating until mixture will stand in peaks. Add to chocolate mixture, folding gently but thoroughly, only enough to blend. Makes enough frosting to cover top and sides of Golden Cream Chocolate Cake.
And again, we cream butter, although with (lots of) powdered sugar instead of granulated. This isn’t as fluffy, but it’s much sweeter!
And melted chocolate…
At this point, the flood impacts were the worst for us. I was just getting ready to wash out the bowl so I could use it whip egg whites, when >ping< goes my phone. The City of Columbia has issued a boil water advisory. DAMMIT.
I’m staring at the chocolate and butter coated bowl, realizing I don’t have clean running water, and I can’t wash bowls or whisks or the mixer attachment. And that’s when I wrote last week’s post.
After a bit, I realized this wasn’t really a true disaster. I just needed to get out yet another bowl, dig out a spare whisk, and then attack the egg whites until my arms were about to fall off.
Hard work and persistence paid off, though; the egg whites were well-whipped, and then folded into the buttery chocolate.
This is really good! It’s not one of those dark and decadent chocolate cakes; it’s still fairly light and fluffy (and slightly dry), although definitely chocolate. The frosting is perfect (although a bit “lumpy” from imperfect folding) and tasted amazing.
Best of all, we were able to use this as a thank-you gift for some friends who helped us out with a few things during the flood. So in the end, this post is really dedicated to Elisa and Paul for helping us out. With good friends, it’s possible to deal with whatever challenges life (or a passing hurricane) throw your way.
Cake is always better when shared with people you love. And this is a splendid one to share.