There’s been a sour cream chocolate cake made with cocoa that has been a favorite in my family since my kids were young. It was called Ethel Bruce’s Grandmother’s chocolate cake. Yesterday, I couldn’t find the recipe and looked online for a “chocolate sour cream cake recipe.” I found one and decided to make a few changes to it and make it for dessert tonight.
We are having a dinner celebration for someone who has just passed his Ph.D. exams and the cake will top off a dinner menu of wild Atlantic salmon, farm stand corn on the cob and a big green salad with garden tomatoes from next door and fresh thyme, chives and basil.
I’ve discovered that if I cut dessert recipes in half that there’s more than enough for four (with enough left over for tomorrow night too!) and that it’s more fun to make a good-looking cake in an antique cake tin too! So, here’s the recipe I followed:
Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Cake:
1/2 cup Ghiardelli unsweetened baking cocoa (already had some in the pantry!)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter softened (in the microwave)
1 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream (I used Oikos Greek plain yogurt)
Boil water and combine with powdered cocoa to blend. With mixer on low, add butter, sugar and eggs gradually and mix at medium speed. Combine dry ingredients and add slowly while mixing. Lastly, add the sour cream or yogurt and combine.
I used a 9 inch fluted antique cake pan which had an indented bottom. I buttered it thoroughly making sure all the ridges had butter on them. Filled the pan with the batter and found it was too full. Spooned out three paper muffin cups with batter to bake in a separate pan.
Preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Baked the cakes with a sheet of aluminum foil underneath to catch any overrun drips. Thankfully, the batter held in the fluted pan.
Tested at 25 minutes and left in for another 8 minutes. When toothpicks came out clean, turned off the oven, opened the door and slid the rack halfway out of the oven. Let sit for 10 minutes so cake would not fall. Moved to a plate and countertop to cool.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:
I’ve made very thin chocolate chip cookies before with cut-up bars of Lindt or Ghiardelli chocolate and toasted macadamia nuts before with yummy results. So instead of using semi-sweet chocolate chips for this frosting, I’m using a 3.5 ounce bar of Lindt dark chocolate (smooth texture,) breaking the chocolate into small pieces.
Melt chocolate with half stick unsalted butter in the microwave. Stir to combine.
Add 1/2 cup sour cream (no substitutions here) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. With mixer, add 1 cup confectioners sugar and taste. Add a little more up to 1 1/2 cups total so that it is not too sweet. Chill.
When cake and frosting are cooled, frost the cake (and cupcakes) leaving the edges showing to make it easier to loosen the cake from the fluted edge of the pan.
So, this goes to show that one can move forward from the past and that there are no hard and fast rules that one has to follow to make something delicious and a little different. Making the frosting from a dark chocolate bar as a departure from boring semi-chocolate chips elevates the flavor of the frosting (and the cake) to another level.
I guess that’s what they mean when they talk about letting go of the past and taking life to the next level, right?