Saturday, July 30, 2016

Chocolate Fix

I am a lover of all things yummy in my tummy.  Savory and sweet.  The kitchen makeover took longer than expected.  Finally getting fully back into the kitchen, I have been feeding my passion for cooking by trying new foods and recipes.  With this recent heat wave, the air conditioning is on.  That means warming up both me and my kitchen with baking.

Sour Cream Bunt
Jewish Coffee Cake
Lately, I have tried two new cake recipes—a sour cream bunt cake and a Jewish coffee cake.  Instead of using sour cream for both cakes, I used yogurt.  Both turned out scrumptious.  Also, tried a lemon meltaway cookie recipe of which I was not too fond.  Back to the cookie drawing board for something else.

In addition to new finds, I enjoy baking old standards.  One cake that my mom and I have been making since I was very little is Chocolate Pudding Cake.  And, my grandmother used to make this when my mom was a little girl.  This family favorite is simple and delicious.  Chocolate cake essentially floats on a lake of chocolate sauce.  I prefer it plain while my family enjoys it with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

My first memories of making this cake have a yellow backdrop.  Somewhere, there is a picture of me dancing in front of the painted yellow kitchen cabinets.  Good thing there are no pictures of me climbing into said cabinets and removing all the pots which I made into a drum set.  Wooden spoons are so versatile.

Batter waiting for cocoa sugar sprinkle
Mom and I would make the batter right in the glass baking pan.  A sugar cocoa mixture gets sprinkled on top of the batter, then boiling water is carefully poured over the whole thing.  When it comes out of the oven, chocolate heaven. 
Pouring the hot water

The original recipe somehow got lost, as things do over the years and with multiple moves.  We found new recipes along the way.  Nothing quite tasted the same.  One more recent recipe used self-rising flour, which we never used in the original.  We converted it, but it never tasted quite right.  Over the years, we’ve been adjusting the recipe.  And it’s gotten better.  But, there’s always a but.
Almost done with the water

After another not quite right try, we decided to do a little internet research, again.  For the first time, I found a recipe on Hershey’s website.  Wrote it down and brought it out to the kitchen to give it a try.

First, I compared the ratios of ingredients.  Different.  More cocoa and more butter.  So far, so good.  Then, I began to mix.  The batter looked richer and stirred smoother.  The recipe calls for a 9 inch square pan.  The only available pan was an 8 inch one.  Other than that, I followed it to a T.  Finally, put it in the oven and waited (baking term for washing all the stuff used).

Took it out of the oven and waited again.  The smell…………  Hard to resist a tantalizing, warm chocolate aroma.  However, I did.  I made tea in the meantime.
Ready to serve

Buzzer.  Cut and serve.  My first spoonful brought me back to the yellow kitchen in which my mom and little girl me baked.  This recipe is a keeper.  I am going to increase it by two and a half to fit my 11 by 15 inch glass pan.  The more the merrier.

Half Gone
The top has this crisp, crunchy layer reminiscent of brownies.  Then, soft cake.  Finally, a luscious chocolate sauce that could be a cross between a pudding and hot fudge.  It begs to be scraped out of the bowl to the detriment of the ears of others.

Never be ashamed to lick the bowl.  Chocolate on the nose or chin is a testament to how much you enjoyed this chocolaty creation.

Recipe can be found here.


Batter in the bowl
I sift my cocoa powder as it tends to clump.  I made the batter in a 3 quart mixing bowl using a rubber spatula.  The sugar and cocoa was mixed in a 1.5 quart bowl with a fork.  Because I baked in an 8 by 8 instead of a 9 by 9, it had to cook a few minutes longer.

When it’s done, the pudding bubbles through the cake and the cake itself dances on the pudding layer.  Since the toothpick method will not work, test for doneness by pressing your finger in the middle of the cake.  It should have a firm springiness.
Cocoa sugar mixture

An 8 inch square pan gives 8 servings.  Whatever remains in the pan should be left to cool completely.  Then, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  It is fantastic cold as well.  You could warm next day individual servings in the microwave, if you so desired.  I never have, so I can’t give you a good time for warming.

Double the recipe for a 9 by 13 inch pan.  Cooking time might increase by about 5 minutes.  Will give 12 decent sized servings.  I usually get 16 servings from the 11 by 15.