Perfect Chocolate Cake
For birthday celebrations my mother made her chocolate cake with rich fudge frosting and a chocolate filling. I believe she found this recipe in McCalls Cooking School publications, a series of cooking magazines with detailed instructions. When I married she shared with me her prize recipe and I’ve made this moist flavorful cake for birthday’s ever since.
1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2 3⁄4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
1⁄2 cup half and half
3/4 cup butter
2 1⁄2 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1⁄4 cup unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with wire whisk until smooth. Cool completely. Sift flour with soda, salt, and baking powder. Grease well and lightly flour three 9 by 1 1/2 inch layer-cake pans. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, scraping bowl occasionally until light-about 5 minutes.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths), alternately with the cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not over-beat.
Divide evenly into pans; smooth top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip.
Cool in pans 10 minutes.
Carefully loosen sides with a spatula; Remove from pans; cool on racks.
Frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream, butter; stir over medium heat until smooth.
Remove from heat. With a whisk, blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar.
In a bowl set over ice(I use ice cubes) beat until it holds shape.
Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave, until the mixture begins to steam.
Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir — at first slowly, then more vigorously — until the chocolate is completely melted. If necessary, reheat very briefly to soften any remaining hard bits of chocolate. Add almond extract. Refrigerate ganache until thick.
To assemble the cake:
On plate place a layer, top side down; spread with half of the ganache. Place the second layer, top side down; spread with rest of ganache.
Place the third layer, top side up.
To frost: With a spatula, frost sides first, covering ganache; use rest of frosting on top, swirling decoratively.
Two of my favorite ingredients in on delicious tea bread, pumpkin and cranberries! Tea bread or loaf bread is easy to make and can be frozen for up to two months. I love to bake and freeze then I can always have a delicious treat to serve with a cup of hot tea.
“Tea makes everything better. ” Bindi Irwin
I just love blueberries and blueberry pie. While traditional blueberry pie is mouthwatering delicious sometimes I just like to change it up so I created this sinful decadent Pecan crumb topped sour cream blueberry pie. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but even this picture can only go so far in capturing the nutty topping with blueberry juice bursting from the fruit all in a creamy custard. I want another piece just writing this! Don’t forget to top with Bryers French Vanilla ice cream.
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2-3 tablespoon water
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. To prepare pastry, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. With pastry blender cut in butter to consistency of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle water one tablespoon at a time, mix until pastry holds together. Shape pastry into a ball.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Turn extra dough at the edge into rim and flute or crimp raised edge. Just before placing the blueberry filling in pie shell, brush with beaten egg.
3. To prepare filling, combine sour cream, cream cheese, egg, brown sugar, flour and vanilla in a bowl. Beat thoroughly until smooth. Preheat over to 450F. Fill pie shell with blueberries. Pour cream mixture over blueberries. Bake 10 minutes at 450F, reduce temperature to 350F and bake 35-40 minutes.
4. Prepare crumb topping by mixing flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, butter, and nuts. Blend to form a crumbly mixture.
5. After baking the pie, remove the pie from oven, cool, then distribute crumb mixture evenly over top. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes more.
In New England, we celebrate Autumn with gusto like the strong winds creating falling leave whirlpools on front lawns then whisking the colorful leaves away to decompose in the woods. Fall is a glorious season inviting all to partake in the cornucopia of scents and tastes indicative of the season. I love to bake aromatic cakes, pies, and cookies filling my home with spicy fragrances; a perfect companion to falling temperatures complimenting the change from summer to fall. On a brisk fall day what could be more appropriate than a piece of spice cake with a cup of tea sitting by the fire watching the changing jewel-tone leaves float quietly to the ground.
The cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container