Saturday, February 23, 2008

A piece of cake (or 16)

Last week I ate 16 pieces of cake. I didn't set out to do this. Rather, I did it by eating a couple of pieces a day. (Imagine if I used my small-actions-lead-to-big-accomplishments approach to achieve goals I set consciously.)

It started with the circumstances of my fridge: there were only two eggs left. My favorite brownies call for three. Going to the store was not an option. So, instead of googling brownie recipes, I sorted through my old-school plastic box and found a recipe from a package of unsweetened chocolate bars. I rarely bake chocolate cakes and had never tried this recipe, but I wanted something chocolate that called for only two eggs. This was no time to be picky.

My willingness to try something new paid off. I really liked this cake (in case that wasn't clear from the title of this post). It isn't fancy, but it's easy and satisfying. I couldn't find the recipe on the Hershey website, so I thought I'd post it here. Maybe it will cheer you up on a cold winter day. We've had a lot of those, so the past months have been heavy on baked goods.

Some notes:
1. I've never had much patience for chopping chocolate; this recipe goes faster if you soften the chocolate in the microwave first.
2. I didn't have sour cream, so I substituted plain yogurt and it worked fine.
3. You can make two-thirds the amount of frosting and still have enough (unless you prefer a thick layer).
4. This 13 x 9-inch cake cuts nicely into 20 pieces. My approach: eat a piece for breakfast, one after work, and one with milk or tea for a bedtime snack. Repeat daily until the cake is gone. By the way, I did give a piece to my dad and three to my neighbors for de-icing the walkway by my garage.

Quick and easy chocolate cake
4 bars (4 ounces) Hershey's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, broken into pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 2/3 cups boiling water
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, place the chocolate, butter, and boiling water. Stir with a spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add flour, sugar, sour cream, eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat on low speed with a mixer until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Frost as desired. 12 to 15 servings.

Creamy quick chocolate frosting
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 bars (3 ounces) Hershey's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, broken into pieces
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, over very low heat, melt the butter; add the chocolate pieces. Cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into a large bowl.

Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium speed with a mixer until well blended. If necessary, refrigerate 10 minutes or until the frosting is of spreading consistency. About 2 cups.


michelle said...

Now I know why you set out to play tennis three times over the weekend. :)

Bryan K. Willis said...

How about a recipe for pie? Pie kicks cake's flavor in the ass.

Or stews. I know some really good chili recipes.