Saturday, December 15, 2012
I know some people make a cake for Jesus's birthday. It's a nice tradition. That I don't do. I trust that Jesus understands. You see, by the time His birthday rolls around, we've already celebrated one December birthday and stuffed ourselves to the brim with sweets all the other days just for good measure. I expect that by the time Christmas rolls around, He's proud to see me eat the orange from my stocking and--for heaven's sake--put something protein-rich in the crock pot.
However, if you and yourn manage to exercise enough December control to not be repulsed by the idea of a whole cake on Christmas. Or if you and yourn have an actual human birthday to celebrate in December--December being a very popular month for birthdays as April is (apparently) a very popular month to, um, connect with our primordial heritage and get our Geehawhoowhoo on.
Well, I've certainly digressed now, haven't I? At any rate, if you're looking for a completely amazing in every way December (or St. Patrick's Day, for that matter) cake, I've got your back baby. Just don't blame me if your back is looking a little fuller after you eat this thing, okay.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 2 layers (or even 3 if you have, truly, no self control to be found in all this world)
Prep time:15-20 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Cool and frost time: Some more (yeah, I don't know; I usually plan a morning or an evening for the making of a cake such as this. If you are organized and efficient, you can do it faster)
Cost: About $1.50 and then add $3.50 more for frosting and glaze
2 oz. chocolate (I use chocolate chips)
1 C hot water
2 C sugar
1 2/3 flour
1 C cocoa
1 1/4 baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C oil
1 C buttermilk (or 1 scant C milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch pans, put wax paper on the bottom (cut it into a circle) and regrease the wax paper.
Heat water. Add chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate if you're classier than me). Let it stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and all is smooth.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, bet eggs until thickened and lemon colored (3-5 minutes of beating). Add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture, beating all the while.
Divide batter between pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a fork/knife/cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Let cool 10 minutes. Then turn out to cool completely. (Don't cool too long in the pans. Things get stuck that way, even with waxed paper.)
You can plastic wrap and freeze these if you'd like.
(For a three-layer version for all those who like to make very merry indeed, here you go.)
adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 1/2 C butter, way soft
6 Tbsp milk
6 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp mint
a few drops of food coloring--you can go green, or you can just leave this white and garnish it with some crushed peppermint/candy canes at the end
Combine and beat it until it's smooth, fluffy, and delicious.
When cake layers are cool, frost the cake.
Dark Chocolate Glaze (not pictured above because my ganachey glaze looked kind of ugly. But it sure tasted perfect with this cake)
Note: This is for a lot of glaze. My family was all over that. However, I think I personally would have preferred to halve it and just have a drizzle of chocolate over the top instead of a delicious sheet of it. It's up to you.
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
7 oz chocolate chips
1/2 C butter
Melt it all together (I do this in the microwave at 30 second intervals). Whisk it together. Let it cool just a bit--you don't want to melt your mint frosting. When it's cool enough not to melt stuff (stick your finger in; it will be mildly warm), but still pourable, pour it over the cake and let it drizzle down the sides. Or drizzle it delicately over the top--whichever is your preference.
Here it is in all its ugly-sheet-o-delicious-chocolate goodness.