Monday, January 30, 2012

Killer good chocolate cake

I believe the comments went like this:  "Oh.  My.  God."

That's the general response to this recipe every time I make it.  The recipe is for a chocolate cake--an easy one--and it's a great way to end a meal (or to start the day if you're a sugar hound).  For those who don't like chocolate, I have a question for you: Why?

This cake is good after a steak dinner, a spaghetti dinner, a gumbo dinner.  It's good for a picnic or a church supper.  It's just plain good--all by itself.  It's tender, moist and has substance without being too heavy.  And it will prove to you once and for all that you don't have to ever again make a box cake.  Ever.

Easy Chocolate Cake with Crunchy Coconut-Pecan Topping

This cake is made with mayonnaise, and the original recipe came about during an era when butter, eggs and sugar were rationed.  This recipe is bolster with extra eggs for richness and lift.  Don't balk--just try it and enjoy it.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mayonnaise
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (or substitute 3 Tbs. cocoa powder and 1 Tbs. oil or butter for each oz. of baking chocolate)
1 1/3 cups water

1.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2" baking pan.
2.  Preheat oven to 345 degrees.
3.  Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl; set aside.
4.  In a large mixing bowl with mixer at high speed, beat together sugar, eggs and vanilla for 3 minutes or until fluffy.
5.  Reduce speed to low and blend in mayonnaise and chocolate.
6.  With mixer still at low speed, blend in flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with water, beating until just blended after each addition.  Do not overmix.
7.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
8.  Cool completely in pan.
9.  Top with Crunchy Coconut-Pecan Topping (recipe follows).  Serves 15.

Crunchy Coconut-Pecan Topping

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil for 2 minutes, then add 3 Tbs. milk or cream and stir well.  Add 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Spread evenly on top of cooled cake.  Broil 6" from heat for 3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool well before serving.

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