I’m back. And now that I am, it seems as though it never quite made sense to leave. I abandoned “Put That In My Face” because I thought I needed a more appropriate name. But, being more “sensible” never quite feels right for me. Who cares about watering things down? I like to cook, I like to eat, I like to quite literally put things into my face. Food can be sensual, provocative, exploratory, creative, spiritual….it can be anything you want it to be. The title of this blog is all about getting into the food we make from scratch. Clinking wine glasses. Laughing at a table with friends and loved ones. And giving our taste buds a ginormous present.
There will be some minor simplifications to this blog. It’s going to be about food. Mostly accessible food. There will be some complicated recipes but really, I just want to share what is coming from my kitchen at any given moment. Personal insights will be honored but I no longer feel like talking about running or anything extensional. I’ll leave it like this, super glad to see 2016 go, super happy for 2017 to arrive. There are so many wonderful things on my horizon this year. Graduating with a degree in Interior Design, getting these fucking braces off my teeth and hopefully perfecting the art of ramen.
Enough about that. Let’s chat about the cake. My Nana passed away in October right before my trip to Belize and believe me when I say, she was loved. I had forgotten about her chocolate cake until a relative asked me to bring it this year for Christmas Eve. What few people don’t know is that Nana started making this cake for me while she was going through radiation (she had breast cancer and kicked its ass like a champ). I was 16, maybe 17 at the time and I was staying with her a lot. I drove her to her radiation appointments, had dinner with her and tried to cheer her up as much as I could. But I was also a young kid missing a pretty busy social life, so, she made me this cake to lift my spirits. Being the chocolate lover that I am, it worked.
This recipe is quick and easy. No fuss, no muss. BUT it will impress. You don’t need the fancy white chocolate trees but if you are interested in making them, just message me. Nana’s cake always looked like shit, she couldn’t frost to save her life but it was fucking delicious.
NANA’S PERFECT CHOCOLATE CAKE (basically stolen from Hershey’s)
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (see note about this in frosting area)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa powder (don’t use the dark stuff, I just use the Hershey’s regular grade cocoa powder)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat your oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans. (be liberal with the greasing, these puppies will stick) Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. (you can also do this by hand, why bother dirtying the mixing bowl and what not) Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin so don’t freak out). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. To make the frosting, mix your room temp butter with the cocoa (I like to whip the shit out of it so I use medium to high). Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, alternating with the milk. Add the vanilla extract and then whip on med-high speed until fluffy and amazing. When you frost this cake, it will feel a little disastrous at first because it is so moist. Be patient, don’t have a stroke, I promise it will all work out.