N8tr0n's parents are in town for the week and we are ecstatic. Of course they came bearing gifts, and a brand new doll-house is being put through the rigors of toddler pretend play. Posting will be light this week, but I thought I'd start the week off with a recipe.
Every girl needs a good go-to chocolate cake, don't you think? Hannah shared her favorite cake the other day and I'm dying to try it. In the meantime, this Devil's Food Cake is what I consider my no-fail. The taste is rich and delicious without being dense. Its petite size keeps it from being pretentious. And even if you over-bake it a tad (which you should try really hard not to do with any cake) ((which I totally did with this cake)) it is still tender and light. I realized that the last time I made this cake we had another set of in-laws on the way. I'm thinking about re-naming it Company Cake.
Here's a few tips to keep in mind when you're making this cake. Disclaimer--most of the tips I'm about to share with you came from my baking mentor, Charlotte. She is the mastermind behind it all...I would know next to nothing without her.
:: You're going to sift your flour 3 times. Yes, three. Scoop out the flour without measuring very carefully and plop it into your sifter. Then you carefully measure two cups of flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and put that back into your sifter. Add the salt and then sift two more times. I use a couple of sheets of wax paper to cut down on the mess and to make it easier to return leftover flour to its container. The wax paper is also helpful when you're measuring out the cocoa powder if you happen to make a mess while you're doing it the way I do.
By the way, sifting is one of my favorite parts of baking. Sifting is totally calming and I can't get over the pleasing little pile of flour that is left behind when the sifting is done.
:: This recipe has shortening in it. I know that some of you are vehemently opposed to shortening and I get that. This is one of probably four recipes that I ever use so I don't feel bad about it.
:: This is the best flour/nonstick spray combo on the market. Hands down. My mom has been my supplier since I moved to Denver, but I recently heard a rumor that Wal-Mart is carrying it.
:: And while I'm making recommendations, may I also plug this wonderful product. A few of my favorite dessert and bread recipes have buttermilk in them and I almost never have fresh buttermilk in my fridge. I do, however, always have powdered buttermilk in my fridge and it has saved my bacon numerous times.
:: I like to use a hand mixer instead of my KitchenAid because I like to have more control over the mixing. The only thing worse than over-baking your cake is over-mixing it.
:: I use my kitchen scale when I'm making a layered cake. It is the easiest way to make sure that you have equal amounts of batter in both pans.
Okay, enough talking you to death. I'll get on with the recipe:
Little Two Egg Cake
aka Edith's Devil's Food Cake
aka Company Cake
2 C. Sifted flour + 1/2 tsp. salt sifted into it
1/2 C. Shortening
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Cocoa
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 C. Buttermilk + 1 T. vinegar
1 C. Boiling water + 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda dissolved into it (remember to cut this in half at high altitude)
Sift flour and set aside.
Mix shortening, sugar, and cocoa. Add eggs and cream it all together. Add vanilla. Alternate mixing in flour w/ buttermilk vinegar mix, beginning and ending with the flour. Add boiling water and mix until just combined. Separate into two 8" pans (I use square ones because that's all I have) and bake at 350 degrees (25 degrees higher if you are at high altitude) for 20-22 minutes. Cool on wire cooling racks completely before frosting.
2 Squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 Stick butter
2 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1/4 C. Cream or Evaporated milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Vanilla
Combine half of the cream with the sugar and mix together. Stir in melted chocolate/butter mixture and a pinch of salt. Add remaining cream until frosting has reached your desired consistency.
Enjoy, and Happy Monday Everyone!