I’m in a considerable amount of hot water for making this cake. My mother, grandmother and aunt have been in a heated competition with each other for the last several years to see who can make the better cake – it’s a pride thing with The Ladies. So they busied themselves quite often going back and forth finessing their recipes, one upping each other for years. And as a result, I really have not had any need to bake one myself since my return here – you know, I’m getting a steady stream of pastries from The Ladies. But I was fiending for chocolate really bad; had been for days. My mom had promised to bake a chocolate cake several weeks ago. Had the cocoa and other ingredients just laying about since forever, and no cake. Finally my appetite reached the end of it’s patience, I sneaked into her kitchen while she was away from home, and made the cake myself this past weekend.
But it was not making the cake that got my into such hot water. I’m quite an accomplished cook, but admittedly I had not baked a cake years; not since the one I made for my sister when I visited her and her husband over five years ago. As far as The Ladies were concerned, I did not even know how. After all, I just spent the last six years gorging myself on whatever cakes and pies and whatnot, they baked. Unknown to them, sweets are kinda my specialty. Even when I’m rusty, like I was when I baked the cake, I’ve got a real knack for them. And sure enough, this cake, the first that I have made in half a decade, came out spectacular. You see the reason I am in such hot water for baking this cake, is because it’s heads and shoulders better than any cake The Ladies have baked in the last six years – and after tasting it, two out of three of them, grudgingly admitted to my total domination in the matter.
- 8 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup strong, black, hot coffee
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups Sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Step one: instead of ass, say buns. Like ‘kiss my buns,’ or, ‘your a buns hole’. . . oops, wait a minute, wrong formula.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Oil and flour either two 9″ round baking pans, or three 8″ baking pans
- In a double broiler, melt UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, mix in hot COFFEE, as much as needed, to help melt the chocolate. If you do not have a double broiler, use two pots, one large and filled with boiling water; one small sitting inside, or on top of, the larger pot. Melt the chocolate in the smaller pot
- In a mixing bowl, sift in FLOUR, SUGAR, BAKING SODA, BAKING POWDER and SALT. Mix on low speed until thoroughly mixed
- Add in EGGS, BUTTERMILK, VEGETABLE OIL, VANILLA EXTRACT, MELTED CHOCOLATE and the remainder of the COFFEE
- Beat for two to five minutes (the batter will be thin)
- Pour batter evenly into prepared baking pans
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (8″ pans), or 30 to 35 minutes (9″ pans)
- Insert and remove a fork, or toothpick into center to double check if batter is fully cooked; if fork comes out clean, cooking is complete
- Remove pans from oven, and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes
- Remove cake from pans, and allow to cool to room temp
- Refrigerate cake before frosting
- Frost cake with frosting of your choosing
What’s truly ironic about making the cake, is that in a rush to get it made, partially because I wanted it done before my mother arrived home, and partially, because I was really fiending for chocolate, and was not looking to share the cake with anyone, I made the mistake of trying frost the Chocolate cake too soon. Well first, I removed both layers from their pans too soon, and the top layer broke in half. Not a complete catastrophe, an easy enough to fix once I got the frosting on. But frosting it too soon, before it was cooled enough, started causing the exterior to peel off. Warning to anyone making this cake, it is very fragile, and you would do well to heed that final step of refrigerating it for a few hours, before frosting. By the time my mother walked into the door to her home, my cake was literally falling to pieces . . . and boy did I ever get the look. You know that look that only a parent can give, when they are a sure you are a complete and total incompetent boob. The final laugh would be mine of course, but that would have to wait until the next morning, as the cake was in dire need of repair, and the best way to achieve that, was a nights stay inside the fridge before proceeding forward with any attempts to right the sinking ship.
The next day, I got back to work. Carved a small pocket out of the bottom layer, and after frosting it with one of the store bought brands my mom had in her kitchen, filled it with a cherry filling that I had made the night before. The filling was pretty much your standard cherry pie filling (pitted cherries, sugar, flour, corn starch, lemon juice, cherry juice, nutmeg, etc.), just made thicker than I normally make it for pies. I then pieced the top layer back together, and quickly frosted it into place. I used a knife evened up the sides and edges around the cake, and frosted the sides. Put the whole thing back in the fridge for another hour. Took a tub of store bought cream cheese frosting (also stolen from mom’s kitchen), melted it, folded it with another ounce of unsweetened chocolate (also melted), and then poured the whole thing across the top of the cake, so that it cascaded down the sides (pretty much covering up any leftover imperfections from the cracked top layer), and sat the whole thing back in the fridge, as I cackled manically, like Dr. Horrible.
My vindication, and the true hot water I would be in, would come later that day after Sunday supper with my parents, and my grandma was there too (two of the three ladies). After seeing the mess I created the night before, I could tell my mom was feeling a bit smug, knowing that what I had created, was how should I say . . . inadequate. The look on her face as she realized there were two layers of frosting and a layer of cherries in the middle, things The Ladies had never dared attempted before, was priceless. But it was the tasting that really brought on the heat. Did I ever tell you, that my mom and my grandma make the same face then they are trying to downplay important, as something inconsequential? Well, that was the face I got from both ladies that day, as they ate my cake. My aunt would find out for herself two days later, as she got a chance to taste the cake. The look on her face was like how the engineers of the Titanic felt, when reports came in that the ‘unsinkable’ ship had sunk.
From then on out, I have pretty much been persona non grata, so far as The Ladies were concerned. There has even been accusations that I made the cake from a box, despite the fact that I stole all the ingredients from my own mother’s kitchen. Here they were all these years fighting for dominance amongst themselves, and like a quiet predator stalking prey, all along they had been bested right under their noses. I can only imagine what is now going through their minds. They had been feeding me cakes for years, what must they think that I have been thinking all this time. And the real shame to it, my sister told them long ago, when I made the same cake (minus the double frosting and the cherries; for her cake, I used a fudge mousse) for her birthday, that I had made one of the best cakes she had ever tasted in her life. After that, my ability in the matter never should have surprised anyone. Yet here I sit, in deep doggie doo, chronically my fall from grace in the eyes of The Ladies. I now walk as a pariah when I am in their kitchens. Hence, after ages of making this cake recipe, I have finally given it a name: Chocolate Pariah. But I am not stopping there, I have big plans for this delightful dessert. I was in the process of modifying another dessert that I like to call the Chocolate Genocide of Ultimate Doom. I think . . . I think, I am going find a way to incorporate the Pariah into this Ultimate Doom I am creating. But that is a subject matter for a later date.
Disclaimer About the Photo Gallery – None of the photos in this post are of the actual Chocolate Pariah. Several weeks ago, as I was preparing to commit to a now abandoned string of articles following my adventures in plating as I learned the art, I came across an even more startling revelation: I’m shit at photography. While I have no problem showcasing my novice attempts at plating to the world, after the series was about following my efforts in learning how to plate, when I looked at how terrible all my photos were coming out . . . well put frankly, it was too embarrassing. Hence, every photo that I would have taken, has been replaced by some photo I scoured from Bing, Google and Flickr. And I painstakingly search for photos of chocolate cakes that resembled the look of the Chocolate Pariah as closely as possible.