Tuesday, February 26, 2008

By Request...

Here are the two chocolate recipes I promised.

Credit given where credit is due...this one I printed off the Oprah website wayyy back in 2003 and it remains a very special, and rare treat. For one thing it takes a long time to make, and for another it's stupidly rich, but worth every calorie.

The Smith Family Twelve-Layer Cake

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (room temp)
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs (room temp)
3 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing/Ganache
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, cut up
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pecan halves, coconut, chocolate shavings for garnish if desired.

Position racks in the centre and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375. Lightly butter four 8 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

To make the batter: Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Sift again, set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl until light in colour and texture (I use electric beaters as I don't have a mix-master). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk. Add in the vanilla. Using a scant cup for each layer, spread the batter evenly in the pans. It will make a thin layer. (Note: Most of the time I end up with 10 layers, not 12, but who's counting?)

Staggering the pans on the racks so they are at least 2 inches from each other and the sides of the oven and NOT directly over each other (another note: I only have 2 pans, so I cook them 2 at a time, not 4, increasing prep time but lowering my probability of screwing this part up), bake the layers until they feel firm when touched in the centres and are beginning to pull away form the sides of the pans - about 12 minutes. Cool IN THE PANS for 5 minutes. Remove to cake racks, remove parchment, and cool completely. Wash and prepare the pans. Repeat until all layers are baked and cooled (Yet another note...I peel the parchment off, but then as they cool re-stack the layers with the parchment loose but in between to keep the layers from sticking together until the icing is ready).

Bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and evaporated milk to a full boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until it has thickened slightly (Resembles choc syrup but will thicken as it cools) about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Let icing cool until thick enough to spread but still pourable.

Place a layer of cake on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Spread with a few tbsp of the icing, letting the excess run down the sides. Stack with the rest of the cakes. Pour the remainder over the top of the cake and smooth over the sides. Garnish.

Now, if you have extra syrup, it's excellent used as hot fudge sauce on ice cream. :-) Also, it doesn't mention anything about moving the cake to a serving platter. What I've found works best is to use 2 large, very sturdy spatulas to lift it A SHORT DISTANCE to a waiting plate. It's a damned heavy cake. But gorgeous, and when you slice it it looks like ribbons on the inside. MMMMM.

This one is a LOT easier....seriously it takes 5 min to make and a half hour or less to bake. If I have unexpected company for dinner this saves me as far as dessert goes. It's also from my Food-For-Life friend and so is low in fat, unfortunately not so low in sugar. :-)

Brownie Pudding

1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup milk
2 tbsp melted shortening (I use margarine)
1 tsp vanilla.

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa. Add milk, shortening and vanilla. Mix until smooth, and turn into an 8x8 greased pan.

Mix together 1 cup brown sugar and 4 tbsp cocoa and sprinkle over top of the brownie batter. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over top and DO NOT STIR! (yes, it looks funny. Trust me.) Bake at 350 for approx 30 min.

What comes out is delicious dark brownie smothered in hot fudge sauce. :-)

So there you are...two of my favourite chocolate recipes.

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