The Gift of Chocolate

17 Nov

If you don’t like chocolate and the happiness it brings to peoples’ lives, please read no further.  Instead, get up and find the best psychiatrist money can buy.  Well, that may be extreme, but I guess I’m a little biased on the subject.  In my world, Chocolate is a delightful, exhilarating, wondrous (too much?) experience. End of story.  So if you are living in the chocolate camp with me, read on!  Oh dear, Chocolate Camp sounds like such a good place.  Anyway, this year I discovered a wonderful way to make one of my favorite chocolate treats even better.  You ready?   How about some cake-like brownies with cinnamon?!?  This recipe, officially called Mexican Chocolate Cake, (Get it? It’s spicy!) is one of my repeatedly most successful baking endeavors.  I’ve made it for game nights, dinner gatherings, and even birthday parties.  And all to rave reviews.  I’d like to take the credit, but I think I have the delectable melding of chocolate and cinnamon (and a lot of sugar) to thank for the success.   I got this recipe from a twitter pal, @afox98, so thanks Alyssa for sharing the wealth.  If this heavenly experience sounds like something you’d be willing to devour, read on!

1.       First things first, sour your milk.  Weird, I know.  But trust me; it creates a great but subtle sweet and sour contrast that you will regret skipping.  Just combine the called for ½ cup milk with ½ T Vinegar in a small bowl, and let sit for about 15 minutes.  If your start with this, by the time you get out the rest of the ingredients, your milk will be all nice and curdled for you.

2.      Set oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan.  I had to improvise last night because my trusty 9×13 was already in use, so I went out on a limb and used 2 square pans.  It still worked!  And it proved a great life lesson; work with what you’ve got.  (single tear)

3.      Assemble the rest of the happy ingredients.  I find personification makes baking even more fun.  You can take it or leave it.

2 c flour*                                                         1 stick butter

1 t soda                                                             ½ c oil

1 t baking powder                                        ¼ c cocoa

2 c sugar                                                          1 c water

2 eggs, beaten

½ c sour milk

1 t vanilla extract

1 t cinnamon

*= I use self rising flour so I skip the baking soda & powder.  It works and I skip 2 whole steps!

4.      Combine all ingredients from the flour to cinnamon.  Mix well, or till your arm starts hurting.  It should look a little something like this.  Yum!

5.      Now, turn your attention to the stove top.  You must combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring till the butter is melted.  There must be something scientific to this, because with several chocolate cake/brownie recipes I’ve had to heat the cocoa and co. first, and then add it to the batter.  I may look it up one day, I may not.

6.      Now, all those friendly ingredients can be reunited!  Or in other words, add the chocolate mixture to the rest of the batter, stirring until all mixed up.   (I’m all mixed up.  Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!! – hum to tune of “I’m All Shook Up” if you want to.)

7.      Now pour the liquid-y batter into the prepared pan (or in my case, pans).  Ok, one pan was kind of rectangular and one was square.  But if you are ever in my “without a 9×13” situation, 2 smaller pans should work. You just have to test for done-ness separately.  They got done about 2 or 3 minutes apart.  No big deal  as long as it still tastes good.

8.      Put pan(s) in oven and set timer for 20 and start checking for done-ness from there.

9.      While your lovely chocolate pieces of heaven are in the oven, it’s time to make the frosting.  I’ve had one comment in all my experience with this dish that the frosting was too intense.  So I will warn you that it does add a powdered sugar infused kick.  I can handle it, and I hope you can too.  I think this cake would be naked without it.  But that is just one chocolate devotee’s opinion.    Here are the ingredients if you dare to indulge.  (Again, I highly recommend it!)

¼ c butter

2 T cocoa

3 T milk

½ t cinnamon

2 c powdered sugar

½ t vanilla extract

10.  Combine the first four ingredients over medium heat, stirring till butter melts.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, I just use the same sauce pan from the very similar step in the cake procedure.  The frosting uses about the same ingredients so this strategy saves on time on dish duty later.

11.  Now for the SUGAR!!!!!1111  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then stir till smooth.  Look at that awesome action shot.  Impressive. If the frosting is done early, keep stirring periodically so it doesn’t harden.

12.  Finally, once the cake tests done (for the baking newbies, that means when you stick fork or toothpick in the center of the cake, it comes out clean) take it out of the oven.  No need to let cool. Go ahead and drizzle that frosting on there.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Ta-Da!  Finished product.  You can be neater with the frosting if you want.

I hope you have time and an occasion to bake this cake in the near future.  And if you don’t have an upcoming occasion, plan one, and then make the cake.  You won’t be sorry.  Unless you eat the cake in one sitting (tempting), and then you will be sick.

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2 Responses to “The Gift of Chocolate”

  1. thriftymom November 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Hey, where’s the pic of the final product! I was looking forward to seeing that delicious cake. Thanks for sharing your awesome recipe.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What’s for dinner? Baked Ziti Edition « Milk & Cookies - April 29, 2011

    […] To complete the meal, I also prepared a salad, garlic toast and one of my favorite desserts, Mexican Chocolate Cake. Please read on, I’m willing to share my secrets on this easy, yet delicious meal. Mexican […]

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