Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recipe by Amy: Quick-Fix Chocolate Cake with Easy Fudge Frosting

One of the best discoveries of humankind would have to be chocolate. Let's just stop for a second and think about it.


Right about now, you probably have a goofy grin on your face (unless you're one of the unfortunate people who don't like chocolate. If so, I'm sorry. You're really missing out.). You're probably daydreaming about the last time that euphoric sense of awesome enveloped your entire being as the bite melted in your mouth. Well...maybe I have something wrong with me. But I blame that on my mother; she is a veritable chocoholic.

I'm sorry, Mom. I still love you.

It just so happens that chocolate is one of the most universally liked foods in our society. And if you're like me, there are days when nothing but chocolate will do. And sometimes, there is (*gasp*) NO CHOCOLATE TO BE FOUND IN THE HOUSE! On those days, I am seriously bummed when all I can find is in my cabinet is a tin of cocoa powder.

But fear not, my friends. There are quick solutions to such problems, and they are sitting right in your pantry! It's quick and easy, and you won't be sacrificing any flavor--or money. Come on. I will show you.

Quick-Fix Chocolate Cake with Easy Fudge Frosting (serves 12)
*Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe*

Here are my partners in crime:

I'm using canola oil, a box cake mix (they are cheap and good for the quick fix), eggs, powdered sugar, butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla.

First, make the cake according to the box's instructions. For some of you, making cakes is yesterday's news. However, I'm still going to walk us all through the process.

P.S. For those keeping score, these boxes are about $1.25, depending on where you shop. However, there will be homemade batters later in the blog. I promise.

Today is all about the quick fix!

This is a WONDERFUL bottle of Honduran vanilla given to me by my dear friend Lauren Bickel. Fun fact: you can pick up a bottle of this stuff at your local Latin foods market for around $5. It's really STRONG, so I'd adjust your recipes accordingly. I usually add about half of the amount the recipe calls for. Plus, I love the smell. Thank you, Lauren Bickel. Let's be friends for a long time.

Alright, you guys--I gotta keep it real. This is my mixer, brought to you by Wal-Mart for $15. It's not fancy, but she does the job admirably well. You're going to need one of these for the cake and the frosting.

By the way, if you just happen to want to buy me a beautiful KitchenAid stand mixer, I will be your best friend forever.

But I digress.

Dump all of the ingredients into a pretty bowl that will match the pretty yolks. The rest of the contents will be pretty as well, and you'll just have a pretty picture altogether. I can feel the hunger pangs already coming on with this one picture. Uh huh.

But then you'll beat the batter for two minutes, and it'll look much better. I promise.

In fact, your batter will look so good that you will look at your beater and contemplate consuming said batter on said beater while your can of off-brand diet coke looks on with curiosity.

And you will consume the batter. And you will feel so much better about life.

And then, you will pour your batter into a greased pan(s) of your choice. Don't you remember that you greased the pan? You don't? Well, you did. And you know what else you did? You preheated your oven too. You're really on the ball today!

Pour your batter into your greased pan (don't forget to smooth it out!) and place it into your preheated oven. Bake according to the package directions; a 13x9 (inch) pan is about 30 minutes.

While your cake is baking, you should utilize your time and distract your cravings by making frosting. Now people have very diverse opinions about frosting: some prefer none, others (like...me) think the more, the merrier. Let me just tell you now--this is a wonderfully rich icing inspired by my Granny. She makes the BEST chocolate sheet cake in the WORLD (no really, she does). She mixes pecans in her frosting, and every time she makes it, I cannot stop eating it. I'm making this cake for a crowd, so to be on the safe side, I opted against the pecans. However, you feel free to toss them in there.

Let's get started.

Gently pour 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder in your bowl.

The milk! I forgot to put milk in my ingredients photo. You're going to need this because...

You're going to add 5 tablespoons of milk in with the cocoa powder.

And then you're going to add one stick of glorious melted butter.

And then you mix the ingredients. I used a fork, but I think you'd get better results with a whisk. My mother is going to kill me because she got me a BEAUTIFUL set of whisks for Christmas.

Thanks, Mom. I promise I'll remember to use them from now on.

Then stick that mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil while you make great shadow puppets in an attempt to take a photo. Don't cook it--just bring to a boil while stirring every so often, and take it off the heat.

That's right--you are now looking at the finished product. "But Amy--WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE STEPS?!?" Well friends, I am sorry. I have failed you. I did not get any pictures of the process after I took the chocolate mixture off of the stove. But never fear: I shall tell you what to do.

Dump the mixture into a bowl. Pour in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Gradually pour in your powdered sugar cup-by-cup. Eventually, I added about 4 cups. My Granny didn't even use cups--she just gradually worked in a whole box of powdered sugar. But the beauty of this frosting is that you can make it as thick or thin as you want--all you have to do is adjust the amount of powdered sugar! So no worries, my friends. It shall be a lovely frosting indeed.

Great news: the cake is done! You can tell by sticking a clean toothpick into the center and pulling it out. If it's free of batter, then it's done! But by looking at this cake, you can already tell that my cake is not even--I didn't smooth out my batter very well. This will prove to haunt me later. Details to come.

Frost your cake while it's still warm. I didn't do a very good job frosting, but hey--why do you care? You're in a quick-fix, remember? You're just ready to consume it!

Sometimes you might want to share your quick-fix cakes--such was the case with this particular cake. It might behoove you to have fun candles like this on hand just in case you have a great friend with an even greater sense of humor. This candle would actually help save my day--nay, an entire party. Details to come on this; it's quite a hilarious story.

But meanwhile, you have the leftover frosting to eat. And your day just got a thousand times better.

I hope this cake (or even just the frosting) brings you much joy and rapture. Here is the classic recipe breakdown:

Quick-Fix Chocolate Cake with Easy Chocolate Frosting

For Cake:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water

For Frosting:
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 tablespoons milk
1 stick melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box of powdered sugar (adjust for thickness)
1/2 cup of crushed pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven according to the package directions on the mix box and grease your pan (s). Pour all of the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat for 30 seconds on low, then 2 minutes on high. Pour the batter into the greased pan(s), and place into the oven for the allotted cooking time (my 13x9 pan was in for 30 minutes). Place the baked cake on a counter to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Pour the cocoa, milk, and butter into a bowl. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture reaches a boil, take it off the heat. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and add vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until ingredients are well incorporated and have reached your desired thickness. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency, add less for a thinner consistency. If adding pecans, stir them in now.

Frost the cake while it is still warm, and enjoy thoroughly.

Peace (Peas?) and love,

1 comment:

  1. Yum chocolate! Great quick recipie!
    Keep the faith, Kat