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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate cake recipes’

quick and easy chocolate dessert

Mom called it Fudge Crud--but it's delicious and festive enough for any dinner party.

When I was a kid, my mother made an easy, inexpensive dessert that was officially known as Hot Fudge Sundae Cake; Mom called it Fudge Crud. It was one of those science-experiment desserts: you made a cake batter (one without eggs), spread it on the bottom of the pan, then topped it with a mixture of cocoa and brown sugar and poured hot water over the whole thing.

And, miraculously, as the cake baked, the water and cocoa thickened into a sauce and the cake rose to the top, becoming a sort of chocolate floating island in a sea of fudge sauce. It never failed to amaze me–as they say, science works even if you don’t believe in it. There was just one little problem: It wasn’t chocolate-y enough. So this winter, when chilly nights made me think fondly of warm gooey desserts, I remembered Fudge Crud.

And I decided to tinker with the amounts of cocoa until it was chocolate-y enough. When I made the most recent version for friends last week, they declared that I had achieved my goal.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Cake
1 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa (good cocoa – I use Valrhona)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cups hot water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the first five ingredients, then stir in the milk or water, the oil and the vanilla. Stir until smooth, then mix in the nuts. Spread the batter in a baking pan.

Yes. Now, about that baking pan. The original recipe claims that you can make this dessert in a 9x9x2 square pan. And you can–but you will have chocolate goo all over the bottom of your oven if you do. I use a lovely 9x10x3 Le Crueset baking dish I received as a gift a few years ago. It’s perfect. If your friends don’t know you well enough to give you lovely deep baking dishes, try a 9×11 pan.

Anyway, you spread the batter in the pan. Mix together the half-cup of cocoa and the brown sugar and sprinkle it over the batter, then slowly pour the hot water over all. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake floats to the top and firms up.

Spoon the warm cake into dessert bowls, making sure everybody gets plenty of sauce, then top with ice cream. Yum.

Laurie

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Posted by Laurie
I just had an entertaining trip to Michaels–we’ve got a brand-new one in Tarzana in a huge space. I found several useful items for the Queen of Hearts birthday party we’re planning (for the sake of our guests, we’re not writing much about it until after the event–when we will share all the details!), and I spent quite a bit of time marveling at the cupcake-making supplies.

Just right for Valentine's Day--chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting--plus a little peppermint.

Of course cupcakes have been hot for several years now, and why not? They’re yummy (at least potentially), they’re cute, they’re fun. I had no idea, however, that you could buy so many ready-made theme toppers for them: paper bride-and-groom figures (for showers?), Disney princesses…the list is long.

But I am something of a purist when it comes to cupcakes. I don’t want a mountain of icing and a dab of mediocre cake. I like some icing and good cake, in proportion. And I think if you’re going to decorate a cupcake, you ought to decorate it with something edible. Preferably something delicious.

It took me a long time to start baking cakes as a adult, which is weird because the very first thing I ever baked was a cake, from scratch, when I was nine. It was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and I made it for my father–it was his favorite, or so my mother claimed. (In retrospect, I suspect the chocolate frosting was her favorite, not his.) But as an adult, I had an unreliable oven for many years–it had two temperatures, off and arc weld, which just didn’t work for cake, and I stopped making them.

I finally got an oven I could trust to keep an even temperature and I hesitantly started making…cake mixes. It seemed safer. And then last year, I got tired of tasting cardboard box with every cake. I tried various cake recipes. I wasn’t happy with them. Then I went back to the recipes that worked for me when I was nine: the ones in the 1951 Betty Crocker cookbook, which had been a wedding present to my mother.

I’ve been making those old-fashioned three-egg cakes for the past year. They’re great. Here’s my favorite chocolate cake recipe at the moment, slightly modified from the Betty Crocker original:

Chocolate Cupcakes
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and put cupcake papers in two one-dozen-cup muffin tins.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together. Mix together the dry ingredients (do you own a sifter? do it the old-fashioned way and sift in the flour, cocoa, etc. That way you’ll know the baking soda is properly distributed throughout the batter) and add to the butter mixture. Beat them together with the milk for about two minutes, until the batter is thick and smooth and creamy. Distribute equally among the two dozen cupcake papers.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes test done. Cool

White Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 teaspoons cream if needed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter and white chocolate together. You can do this in the microwave if you’re careful. Mix in the sugar and salt and beat until smooth (once again, that old-fashioned sifter comes in handy). Add the vanilla and, if the frosting is a little stiff, beat in enough cream to make the consistency you want. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

I like to sprinkle something fun on my cupcakes: bits of crushed peppermint, chocolate sprinkles, cake decors…you could even use some of those little paper figures. Just don’t eat them.

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