Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Do you ever just get it in your head you want to do something? Please tell me I’m not alone on that! Friday I spent the day decorating some cookies for a birthday party. I asked my friend Jody if she had a cake for her son’s birthday and she said that her kids don’t really like cake. Not like cake? What a sin. haha! Nah, not really.

I can’t always say I’m a huge fan of cake, but sometimes I just want cake. That day I just so happened to get it in my head I wanted cake. Earlier int he week I found a recipe for a cake I thought I might want to try but the “icing” has white wine in it and it isn’t cooked down. When you cook with alcohol, if you actually cook it, you’ll get rid of the alcohol. If you cook a cake such as a rum cake, the icing on it doesn’t get cooked either.

The other cake that really stood out to me was one of my grandma’s recipes for a Deep dark chocolate cake. This cake is friggin awesome! Now truth be told I’m not a huge chocolate anything fan. This cake though makes me want to eat every last bite. I found the recipe a few years ago in some of my grandma’s recipes. After she passed away I got all of her recipes/recipe books. I just stumbled across this and have loved it ever since. In fact, this is the best chocolate cake I’ve had I think!

The real kicker about the recipe is it said milk but there wasn’t a given amount. Later in the instructions it said it was supposed to be a thin batter. Mark and I set out to figure out how much milk was needed. We played around with it and decided the amount of milk is 3/4 of a cup. It works and we get a thin batter. When you bake it… Oh. My. Gosh!

Prepare your pan. I always use Bakers Joy. Like I’ve stated before, Food Network did a study to find the best and I swear it’s only like around $3 for the can. It’s not the most expensive. That makes it even better, right? Yeah, I thought so too!

The icing in grandma’s recipe calls for 1 tablespoon milk. When I was making my icing the other day the humidity was really wonky. If you didn’t know, we’re kind of floating away here in the midwest. Hey, come dead of summer we’ll be asking for rain. Unfortunately a bunch of people have a lot of flood damage so I’m not writing it off or anything, just simply saying. One last thought, I saw on Wednesday we’re supposed to get more rain.

Anyway, back to the icing. Play with the icing. Sometimes you need a few more tablespoons of milk to make it thin out and other times you don’t. Weather has a HUGE factor on baking sometimes. Just make iced sugar cookies! You’ll quickly learn!

I have to say I couldn’t wait to dive in to this cake. Holy yum! It has a nice soft silky taste to it while the icing sets up and almost has a fudgy type consistency to it. And the chocolate isn’t overbearing. One factor when you are someone like me who isn’t a HUGE chocolate fan. I’m okay not having chocolate for months at a time, but every once in a while you just need chocolate and on top of that cake. So why not combine the two and have this Deep Dark Chocolate Cake. It’s dreamy! LOL

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water

Combine dry ingredients.
Add: eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, water
Pour into a 9×13 greased & floured cake pan. Batter will be thin.
Bake at 350 degrees. 35 to 40 minutes.

Fudge Icing

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1-3 tbsp milk
  • 1 lb powdered sugar

Melt butter. Add cocoa. Mix in milk and powdered sugar.

Frost Cake

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Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Yesterday was the 1st Thursday of March. That means that it was Dive Club meeting. It was also National Banana Cream Pie Day. Here recently I was reading through the March 2017 Southern Living Magazine and ran across this Banana Pudding Poke Cake recipe. It looked phenomenal. I decided that Banana Pudding and Banana Cream Pie are similar enough, it counts so I decided to make the cake for Dive Club. Can I just say, I’m glad I did…. WOW!

They also had a little information about Poke Cakes which I found really interesting and want to condense down and share with you. I loved the opening 2 sentences: “Most cake names don’t include the punch line. But yes, true to its name, a poke cake is a cake that is punctured with holes–on purpose.” Hey that’s pretty cool right?

Usually once the cake is punctured, then the baker adds something sweet over the top that will seep into those holes and add to the richness of the cake. The intent is to infuse a lot of flavor into the cake to add that extra punch of flavor.

Read more

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Red Velvet Cake Recipe + Ganache Recipe

So let’s step back in time to last month when we had our cake decorating day. Why on earth would we go back in time? Well I held off on sharing a recipe with you because I knew we’d be using it again! So my goal was to wait and share it this month.

Here’s the story. So as I mentioned earlier we had a cake decorating day. That day when I showed up I already had my chocolate cake made, Deb chose a Red Velvet Cake, Kristi chose a butter cake, and Tracy went with a chocolate cake as well. Deb and I went to work on her cake when I showed up… and I use me loosely because I more so stood and watched. She had this Red Velvet Cake she absolutely loved so I took a picture of the recipe and sat and watched her make it. I believe it was out of the newspaper from years ago.

She didn’t make the icing that is included in the recipe though. Instead, she made a cream cheese icing that Tracy found for her. I’m not really sure of the icing recipe they used truthfully. Oh and the funny thing about this picture… Deb stained her hand, a t-shirt and her house shoe red…. whoops.

Then it was a matter of what to do over the icing to make it prettier. They added a ganache recipe over the top and topped with chocolate covered strawberries. This is when the whole idea of this post was born.

Kristi and Justin’s wedding was on Valentine’s Day. From what I heard, they originally weren’t going to have a wedding cake (don’t quote me on that though!). When Kristi saw Deb’s cake and better yet, when she tasted it, she asked if we could recreate this cake for her wedding. Hmmm… let’s think about that for a minute…. YOU BETCHA! It didn’t take a minute to come up with that answer.

Deb, Tracy, and I discussed it and we came up with the option to make a layer cake. Kristi found a cake stand (similar to what’s in the picture) and her bride groom said he could make that for her easily. Perfect!

The colors of the wedding were predominantly turquoise so we decided to make the ganache turquoise with a chocolate ganache for some color contrast. Then we decided to top it off with chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate covered strawberries are the perfect thing for Valentine’s Day! They (I was off watering cows before I could come over to help) made a quart (I think, let’s go a bunch) of chocolate and white chocolate covered strawberries for the cake. Then what was left over, we placed out for friends to eat. Let’s just say the cake was excellent and the chocolate covered strawberries were G-O-N-E gone.

On a side note… did you know that Ebay apparently has recipes? That’s where our ganache recipe came from.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate if you want to dye another color)
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • Food coloring if dying white chocolate ganache

Directions:

  1.  Combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat roughly 1 minute, stopping every 20 seconds to stir until smooth.
  3. Stir in light corn syrup (and food coloring if using) and let cool slightly until just barely warm.

Note: Placing bowl in the fridge helps speed this along if you’re in a hurry.

Now that you have the Ganache, this is how to get the “drippy” look

  1. Chill your frosted cake.
    • Chilling the frosted cake helps slow the drip of the ganache down the side of the cake.
    • this step also helps keep the icing from melting against the heat of the ganache.
    • It is suggested to chill your cake for a couple hours to overnight.
  2. The perfect consistency of ganache is for the ganache to be pourable, but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    • Too thin? Melt some more chocolate chips and add.
    • Too thick? add a bit more light corn syrup
  3. Pour the ganache in the very center of the cake, then using an offset spatula, spread evenly to the very edge of the cake, allowing the ganache to run off the edges of the cake.
    • If you notice a bare spot, give the ganache a gentle push off the edge with the spatula so it will drip.
  4. Chill the finished cake until the ganache is firm.
    • If planning on topping the cake with fruit, candies, a cake topper, etc… wait until ganache is firm.

 

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Bonnie Butter Cake

Let’s jump back in time a few weeks, back to our cake decorating day. When I got to Deb’s house, I had already made my chocolate cake I used to decorate, but Deb whipped out a Red velvet cake real quick from a newspaper clipping she had. When Kristi got there, we debated what type to make her so we quickly grabbed Deb’s 1970’s version of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook and had her flip through the different cakes.

Her son wanted to be involved in the cake decorating day too, but she told him it was just for the girls, so she brought a couple smaller pans and asked if we could make him a cake to decorate as well (you know, once she got home). I said absolutely. Well after we made up one batch of cake, we weren’t sure if our layered cake was thick enough, so we doubled the batter.

When we doubled the batter, that gave her the ability to make 3 more small loaf pans, because we didn’t need it all for just 2 layers of cake.

Kristi’s dad was having an 80th birthday celebration the next day. We used 9″ square pans to bake the cake in. Then I showed her different ways to decorate the cake. I also showed her how to make icing roses. I made 2 and she made 2. Now, if you’ll notice there are only 2 total on the cake. Well… that’s the mystery of the whole thing… One of mine I scrapped back in the bowl because it wasn’t very good. That would mean there are 3, right? Well… we never did find the third rose.

the cake… the cake was awesome though!!!

Bonnie Butter Cake
2/3 c butter (or margarine, softened)
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 c ap flour)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c milk

Heat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour baking pan, set aside. In large mixer bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy.Beat 5 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk. On low speed, mix in flour mixture and milk alternatively. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake oblong pan 45-50 minutes or layers 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Ice cake (as in frost).

It recommends frosting cake with a French Silk Frosting or a Lemon Frosting. Instead we used a buttercream icing that is good for decorating and since we did a layer cake, we placed strawberry preserves between the layers for an added, extra special touch.

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Chocolate Cake – 2 Ingredients!

You just never know what we’ll be doing on Wednesdays. I typically spend my Wednesday’s at the Extreme Sports Scuba dive shop. Today happens to be Wednesday so you know where I am, right? Well what am I doing you may ask?

  • I wrote a blog post about a SCUBAPRO Nova 720 Flashlight with as many puns as I could about flashlights, ✓.
  • I ate lunch, ✓.
  • Oh and I made a diabetic friendly cake with icing, ✓.

Wait, what?

Are you confused? Don’t be, I’ll explain. A few years ago, like 10, someone told me about a cake to try. I laughed when they told me what the cake consisted of… A Chocolate Cake mix and a can of diet coke.

You’ve got to be kidding me, right? No siree Bob, I’m serious as a heart attack. btw, I wonder where that phrase came from… really both of them… No siree Bob and serious as a heart attack. Another pondering for another day. Back to the cake…

I called my grandma up and asked her if she believed it. She said, well I have the stuff, let’s try it so I went to her house and guess what… it worked and it was really good. Now at the time I was told that was a weight watchers friendly recipe. A way to have your cake and eat it too for few points.

We were being impatient waiting for the cake to cool to ice it… therefore we inverted it, on a little to small of plate, and then stuck it in the freezer. It worked and tasted even better!!

I’m not sure how many because that was 10 years ago and I wasn’t doing weight watchers. The thing was, how do you ice it? The only icing recipe my grandma knew had a bunch of sugar in it, therefore… you may forgo the calories/fat/points/etc on the cake but you made up for them in the icing.

10 years and I never came up with an icing recipe. But don’t you worry, I did the other day. This recipe is awesome. You’re welcome. Make sure you make a chocolate cake so you’re ready to go for this icing recipe! It’s a good one! The “diet” Icing Recipe!!

And I definitely want to say, don’t discount this cake because of the diet coke. Some people might. Don’t!!

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PW’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

When we decided to have a cake decorating day, I decided maybe I should make my cake ahead of time so that we weren’t waiting on mine to bake. Good thought, right? We had access to two ovens, and there were going to be at least 3 of us that I knew about and possibly four. Turns out, there were four so it was a good thing I baked mine ahead of time. When I showed up that morning we baked Deb’s off real fast, then the other two baked about the same time. It worked out perfectly.

So I was trying to decide, box cake mix or from scratch? From scratch won. Then I debated what type of cake I wanted to make. This is when I decided, Chocolate. Then I had to decide, what chocolate cake recipe to use…

One of my absolute favorites is Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake that is typically a sheet cake. No big deal. I just turned it into 8″ round double cakes and bam, the chocolate cake for my decorating was born.

In the end, I almost didn’t decorate mine. Lots of reason why I wasn’t going to, but at the last minute I quickly decorated one. Not bad for 30 minutes or something like that start to finish, right? I’m not 100% sure I even spent that much time. Sadly there are some areas that look rushed below the arrow head… that’s because the coupler pushed out of the bag and I was running out of green icing, so I shoved what little icing I had left through the tip with my finger. Hey, no one is judging, right?

Take my word for it…. Make this cake. It’s tasty!

Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake by Pioneer Woman
FOR THE CAKE:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.

Pour into 2 greased/floured (*I prefer Baker’s Joy) 8″ round pans. Bake 350˚F for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Note: She uses an 18×13 sheet cake pan and bakes it for 20 minutes. But remember, I turned mine into 2-8″ Round cakes

*Bakers Joy – It’s a spray for baking. It’s in a white can with a blue lid. Food Network did a study back in the early 2000’s and it came out the best. I tried it and holy cow, I was sold. I’ve not really ever had issues getting a cake out of a pan when using that. Just thought I’d share 😁

 

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Decorator Icing – Large 7 cup batch

Over the weekend we decided to have a cake decorating day. Back in 2008 (or maybe 2007… I don’t remember) I didn’t have much better to do and really wanted to learn how to decorate cakes. It’s ironic because I’m not a huge icing fan… I prefer the cake without icing… Go figure.

So they wanted to put my knowledge to work over the weekend and I was willing to oblige. Kristi’s dad was having an 80th birthday celebration the next day so we decided to decorate a cake for him. Tracy has a 1st birthday cake in a few days, weeks, months… she never really told me that she’ll be doing. Deb wanted to learn too, so it was the perfect opportunity to mess up someone else’s kitchen because why mess up your own kitchen. Just saying 😜.

So when you make up icing, or this particular icing anyway, it starts out as thick icing. Then you thin it out with either water or milk to the consistency you want. Typically you add a tbsp of your liquid at a time until you get the desired consistency. There are really 3 types of consistencies that you look for in cake decorating, thick, medium, and thin and each has their place in the course of decorating a cake.

One thing to consider, thick icing requires the most strength to push out of the bag and you’re more likely to blow the tip out of the end of the bag. Just something to note. In my opinion the two hardest things to learn about cake decorating is how to get a smooth finish on your cake and learning the correct consistencies.

Note that when you see cakes in magazines, they’re covered with buttercream and then fondant so that’s how they get that clean look. You can get that clean look with buttercream but it’s difficult.  A trick to help you is once you have your icing on the cake, take a long flat spatula (like 11″ or so depending on the size of the cake) and dip it in as hot of water as you can. The hot water will help smooth. And usually the more icing you have on the outside of the cake, the easier it is sometimes too, reason being, you have more to slick off.

Now some people do a crumb coat. You can do that with buttercream or you can do it with a mixture of water to powdered sugar. You just smear that all over the cake and then it should help hold the crumbs in. I rarely if ever do a crumb coat. It’s a lot of work and as long as you always keep pushing the icing from top down, you shouldn’t get to many crumbs in your icing. And if you do, cover it with more icing. Obviously to each their own 😀.

My opinion on fondant, while it looks gorgeous, it doesn’t taste so good. I mainly just used store bought, the homemade does taste better but it’s a LOT of work. One of those labor of love things.

Now for writing… if you’ll notice I wrote all over my hand and arm. It’s a good practice tool, it really is. That and just wax paper on the table. It’s easier to practice there than on a cake where it really matters. Once you get the hang of it, which isn’t difficult, then you can write on the cake like a pro. Our teacher always had us write on our hand for practice. (btw, my dogs name is Marlie and I always say, “Oh my stars Miss Mars” I started with the y on my hand because I put the stars down the bottom showing an idea for the cake above. Then I added the M. After that I saw my stars and added Miss Mars, therefore it says My Stars Miss Mars.)

Then we’re huge Chiefs fans around here and our boys were in the Playoffs so I had to do one in honor of them, obviously.

Handy tools to have for cake decorating:

  • All the ingredients for icing, obviously
  • Decorating tips
  • A rose nail if you plan on making any kind of flowers
  • Cake (again obviously…. haha)
  • A short off set spatula
  • A large long spatula
  • A hot, tall glass of water
  • A knife to flatten off your cake
  • Gel food coloring (better to color with those than liquid)
  • Piping bags (I’m really starting to like the disposable ones best)
  • Couplers (allow you to change tips easily)
  • A pair of scissors to cut the piping bags for your tips

So what recipe do I use? It actually came in the canister of Meringue powder. Btw, do you know what Meringue Powder is? Well, Meringue Powder is a fine white powder made primarily from dried egg whites, with cornstarch to keep it from clumping while stored and some food gums to help it bind together easily when it is being used. The powder can be reconstituted with water and forms up into a nice, fluffy meringue when beaten at a high speed.

Now for the recipe, keep in mind, this makes 7 cups of icing. It has a nice consistency for decorating cakes. It is my go to icing and I’ve tried quite a few.

7-Cup Batch Buttercream Icing Recipe
2/3 Cup Cold Water
4 tbsp Meringue Powder (1/4 cup)
12 c or 3# Confectioners Sugar
1 1/4 cups solid vegetable shortening
3/4 tsp salt
Up to 1 tsp Flavoring

Mix water + salt in a mixer to dissolve salt.  Add meringue powder.  Add flavoring.

  • White icing – use white flavoring
  • Candy flavoring by the drop
  • Almond – no more than 1/4 tsp

Next add 2 # of the powdered sugar.  (easiest way is to weigh it out on scales).  Add shortening 1/2 cup at a time, mixing completely.  After all shortening is added add the last 1# of powdered sugar, a little at a time.

This gives you about 7 cups of icing at a stiff consistency.

You want to Ice a cake with thin consistency so thin out with a couple tsp of water (or milk) added one at a time until you get desired consistency.

Consistency:

  • Stiff – some decorations and for making a barrier between the two layer of cakes (one of the best ways is with icing and coupler, no tip) where you can add a combination of:
    • Plain Icing
    • Icing/Fruit
    • Icing/Jam
    • Icing/Jelly
    • Icing/Pudding (pudding cup good for regular sized cake)
  • Medium – piping decorations and writing
  • Thin – covering your cake
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