For those of you who follow my blog on Facebook, or are in my church small group, or are just a close friend of mine know that I have been experimenting with making a cake. I make lots of cupcakes regularly enough that I have somewhat mastered making cupcakes. I am good at them. I am also fairly consistent at them, and even have some basic piping skills nailed down. This is all just from practice and sheer hard work. No lessons, no classes but just practice and experimenting. There are even a few of my girlfriends who blame me for about 15 lbs of their weight as they have been the guinea pigs for these cupcakes.
I decided spontaneously one day that I should probably try and get good at a few cakes. I just wanted to have some under my belt, ones that I could produce consistently enough and have something like a "Choi Family Cake" recipe or something of the sort. I started practicing cake making about 3 months ago, and the thing is, I can't get a good picture of my cake. I have some good texture, some good frosting, and many people have said that the cake is really really good. I just haven't gotten very good at making the cake LOOK good...so no photo, no blog post, no nothing. There is even this super delicious chocolate cake which my small group LOVES, but I am not satisfied with the way it looks yet, so no blog post.
This cake however, is one of my more recent experiments and it is one I've already made twice to great reviews. The other thing is, I don't HAVE to decorate it all pretty because you serve it in the pan. It's the cake you take to a potluck or a picnic, because it's not fussy, no special containers, no special carrying case, just the pan it was baked in is its mode of transport. I love it because it doesn't require some crazy trimming layers, cutting layers in half, piping on the side, extra filling, nothing. It's simply a chocolate cake then topped with a delicious fudge frosting. The frosting is dead-on delicious.
The original recipe is from Tish Boyle's The Cake Book, a book that I am having LOADS of fun with, but I made some changes to it in order that people have an easier time making the cake. I wanted to avoid cake flour, as most people don't want to have an additional flour in their pantries, and I substituted some brown sugar. I also went with a different frosting, also from her book, as her original frosting was peanut butter and I just have too many allergic kids near and around me with the peanut allergy.
Make it the day before a picnic (as I did) and I guarantee folks are going to love it.
Chocolate Pan Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
(adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
2 cups and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradellis)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softned
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggss
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup hot water
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325. Grease bottom and sides of 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Dust pan with flour.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Put chocolate in medium stainless steel bowl and place over a pot of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate, remove from water, and set aside to cool. (It will cool enough as you make the rest of the batter.)
With an electric mixer, beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy,a bout 1 minute. Add brown sugar and white sugar and beat at high speed until well-blended and light, about 3 minutes. At medium speed add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract and chocolate mixing until blended.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream in two additions, mixing until just blended. Add hot water, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until just blended. Remove bowl from mixer, and with a rubber spatula, stir the batter a few times to ensure that it is evenly blended. Scrape the batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in pan on a wire rack.
Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghiradellis, the author uses Scharffen Berger)
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (again I used Ghiradelli's)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place both chocolates in a medium stainless steel bowl and place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate and remove bowl from pot and set the chocolate aside to cool. (The chocolate should be warm, still very loose and not hot.)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add cooled chocolate at low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to high and beat until slightly aerated, about 1 minute.
Store at room temperature, covered for up to 3 hours, or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
This thick fudgy frosting hides a delicious inside.
Great book with lots of great recipes. If you want to learn about baking cakes, she also has lots of tips.