Sunday, June 3, 2012

Auntie M's Chocolate Picnic Cake (certainly NOT a T'nG)

Chocolate "Picnic" Cake by annbumbly
Aunt Madeline and Cousin Louise surely knew what they were doing!
A small note....though I'm not a measuring kind of gal, I know enough about cooking to understand that when you bake, it's all about the measuring. The recipes below are ALL about measuring and NOTHING about throwing and going. I don't do the measuring kind of cooking/baking often because I'm not very good at it, but it was my turn to do dessert, so I figured, what the heck, let's try this for the very first time! Guess what? The ~measured~ results were quite tasty! Enjoy!

The hubs and I have been part of a Gourmet Group/Club for the last 11+ years. We've had the best time, and have established long-term friendships with all in the group. All of us are good (being a relative term) cooks, and have improved on that status over the years because of our cooking endeavors for the group. Sometimes we take it easy, as we did tonight with our summer barbecue theme, and other times we choose a cookbook like ~The One & Only Palmilla~ by Charlie Trotter to really push our limits.  
Our theme for tonight's Gourmet Group gathering was Summer Barbecue, and I was the dessert person - something I really don't relish. At all.
So I volunteered to do something I've never ever done before in my life. I volunteered to make a chocolate cake. From scratch. I am not a baker, and certainly not a cake baker! But old dogs can learn new tricks....yes??? 
Jane, the gal I work with and who I share all my woes with, immediately took sympathy on me and said she would dig up some of her old fail-proof (key words there) family chocolate cake recipes for me to choose from. Oh my! I'm so glad she did! The cake recipe is from either her or her mom's Aunt Madeline and the icing recipe is from her or her mom's cousin Louise. Obviously there's been a whole lotta good cookin' going on in Jane's family! 

The T'nG Recipe:

Aunt Madeline's Picnic Chocolate Cake

4 squares baking (bitter) chocolate (bitter chocolate - I didn't realize what that was and had bought semi-sweet chocolate squares. After a check on google, I found that if you mix 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch cocoa powder) with 1 tablespoon canola oil, it's the same as 1 baking square, so I did that (x's 4), but still heated it over the hot water)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Melt chocolate over hot but not boiling water in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pot. Cream the butter and add sugar gradually; cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir baking soda into the butter milk. Add cake flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the creamed ingredients. Blend in the vanilla and melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into your prepared pan. Bake about 45 minutes, or until done. Check doneness with a toothpick - when the stuck-in toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done! Take out of the oven and set pan on a rack to cool.

Cousin Louise's Fluffy White Icing

Combine in a bowl/top of a double boiler: 
2 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoons salt

Place over a pot of rapidly boiling water, and beat with your mixer until the mixture stand in peaks -  about 7 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons vanilla and continue to beat until the mixture is thick enough to spread. Excess frosting (there wasn't any) can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator. 


'till we feast again!

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