So, James had a birthday on Sunday. I baked him a cake, but he was away most of the day taking a train from Baltimore to Providence, Rhode Island where Paloma and I picked him up. It was almost 9:00 p.m. when we met the train, and then we stopped for a bite to eat, so it was close to 10:30 when we got home - past my bedtime. I had to work the next day, so the cake sat until after our Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Monday.
I found the recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook. The editors say they got the original recipe from a 1976 House & Garden magazine. It is quite simple, and really only takes about 6 minutes to whip together. Mixing of ingredients is done directly in the pan in which it is cooked.
The recipe calls for:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar (I used a little less - about 3/4 cup)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. cold water OR brewed coffee (regular readers of this blog will have no problem guessing which one I chose!)
2. t. vanilla extract
2 T. vinegar
The dry ingredients were sifted directly into an ungreased 9" round cake pan. Then everything else, except the vinegar, was poured into a 2-cup measuring cup, then poured and mixed with the dry ingredients. Once the batter was smooth I added the vinegar (I used one tablespoon of Espresso-flavored vinegar; and one tablespoon of dark chocolate-flavored) and mixed well. It baked at 350 for about 25 minutes. It was such a dark brown color it was almost black after it baked.
The recipe also includes directions for an optional glaze, which I also made.
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate (I had to re-read that several times, yes 1/2 pound, which was all I had in my cupboard)
3/4 c. hot milk
1/2 t. vanilla
The chocolate was melted in a 300 degree oven then mixed with the other ingredients. It was not so much a "glaze", but rather a blob of bittersweet chocolate. I could not figure out why it called for so much chocolate, I ended up using only a tiny fraction of the "blob" to frost the cake. I added some confectioners sugar to the top of the cake, along with a bit of ground cocoa, coffee, and sugar. The cake had a rich flavor, not too sweet, and was enjoyed by us both (alas - poor Paloma did not get to partake). James is taking the rest over to his Social Justice League meeting today.