Sometimes All You Need Is A Chocolate Cake
One day last week, I felt like something was missing from my life. And then, it came to me. I needed a piece of chocolate cake. I have to admit that when it comes to a preference between sweet and salty, I usually choose sweet. I also believe that a little piece of chocolate every day is a good thing.
That day, I realized I hadn't had any chocolate for a little while and, maybe, that's why it was calling my name. As a child, I lived in one of the best known chocolate making countries in the world. Even the cheapest cooking chocolate in Belgium was good enough to snack on. My mother kept a big bar of it up in the kitchen cupboard and I know it didn't all disappear into her baking. Every now and then, we would also buy a huge plastic container of generic chocolate spread to put on the fresh bread from the boulangerie. At the grocery store, the chocolate spread containers were the counterparts of American peanut butter, which we did not find very easily.
And the pralines. Again, even the generic brand was better than anything I can find locally. Made with the best chocolate and filled with real butter and cream fillings, the variety was astounding. My favorite was made with hazelnut filling. When someone from the family goes back to Belgium or comes to visit from Belgium, there is usually some chocolate in their luggage.
My craving sometimes runs deep and that is why I decided, suddenly, to make a cake. The recipe I found that seemed to fit the bill was from Good Housekeeping and had originally run in 1927! I had all the ingredients on hand and so on a warm Sunday afternoon, I went to work in the kitchen.
Here is the recipe for the Very Dark Chocolate Cake:
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 large eggs
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. very dark cocoa
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
Grease and flour a 9" X 13" glass dish. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom and lay it in. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a smaller bowl, mix the four dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat until well blended and fluffy. Add, alternately, the buttermilk and the dry ingredients. Beat until just smooth. Spoon into dish and smooth the top.
Bake for 30 minutes or so, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife. Turn over onto a cooling rack. Be careful. It is a moist cake and it is fragile when hot.
1/3 c. very dark cocoa
1/3 c. boiling water
1 c. butter, softened
1 12 oz. package of semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled (I use Ghirardelli)
1/4 c. milk
up to 1 c. confectionner's sugar.
Dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water and let cool. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter. Then beat in 1/4 c. of the confectionner's sugar. Then add the cocoa mixture and the chocolate. Add more confectionner's sugar, as needed, to make a smooth and spreadable frosting.
After cake is completely cooled, cut It into two squares. Place one layer on a plate and frost the top. Then place the second layer on top. Finish frosting the top and sides. This cake is actually better after it has been refrigerated. And it ages very well... Enjoy!
My craving was resolved for numerous days. And we also were able to share some with friends. But mainly, I just loved the real deep chocolate flavor that came through and the moist crumb.
P.S. Can you see my dog, Stella, sniffing the pizza dough?!😊