Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chocolate Cake Story from Melissa Ford Lucken

I 'met' author and writing teacher Melissa Ford Lucken online through the new YARWA - the young adult group for the Romance Writers Association. She interviewed me on her blog and welcomed me to the new group, and mentioned she had a great chocolate cake story. Of course I invited her to guest blog, and I'm so glad she did! I want to make this recipe when I get to my healthy weight range, which is only 2 pounds away. (My goal is 7 pounds away.) Welcome, Melissa! -Amy
Never apologize--Julia Child

Eight years ago, when my son was in second grade, he baked a chocolate sheet cake for our county fair. He made the whole thing by himself, if you don’t count me helping with the clean up. I don’t remember who placed 1st, but I do remember who placed 2nd—him. I’m pretty sure we still have his red ribbon tucked away in the square picnic basket we used to safe-keep all the county—and some state—fair prize ribbons.
In the evening, after the judges pick their winners, there is a bake auction to raise money for the prizes. The kids who entered are invited to carry baked goods across the stage up to the auction block; the 1,2 and 3 prize winners are usually greeted with a lot of interest and applause.

As anyone who has ever carried a sheet cake in a foil baking pan knows, carrying a large cake in a wobbly pan is not easy. Not even those plastic snap-on tops make a difference. The whole thing is a challenge, especially when you’re in second grade and everyone is staring at you and you’re not all that sure you want to be there in the first place. Anyway, after about four steps across the stage, the pan got the better of my son; the whole thing flipped over and landed at his feet.
Not one to be bothered by tragedies, he bent down, picked it up, flipping it back over as he stood up. He looked at the cake through the plastic top and shrugged, assuring the crowd in the way only a second grader can, “Its fine. No problem.” The bidders went crazy; it sold for 26.85—the most paid for any item that year.
My son still bakes. (That's his picture!) The last cake he made was pound cake this past September, a birthday cake for his older brother. It was awesome.
Here is the original, smaller-size, recipe for that cake.
Chocolate Farm Cake
Ingredients for cake:
1 cup flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons soft butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350’
Grease bottom of 8 x 8 pan, line with wax paper, grease and flour.

In medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients and set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until well combined.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one, then beat in vanilla.
Alternately add dry ingredients and milk, beating until just combined after each.
Beat on medium to high for twenty seconds more.

Ingredients for frosting:
3 ounces unsweetened bakers chocolate
4 ounces soft cream cheese
2 tablespoons soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Coarsely chop bakers chocolate, melt, and cool to room temperature. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese and butter until well combined.
Beat in powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time.
Add cooled chocolate until smooth.
Beat in milk, as needed, to create desired texture.
Do not overbeat.

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