Seasonal Flavors: Cake and Icing
April brings around a host of birthdays of folks in my life who are all unrepentant “chocoholics.” There is Easter with the chocolate bunnies and foil wrapped chocolate eggs, but a birthday celebration requires an easy and satisfying personal chocolate dessert. And easy and quick it must be for the cook, as garden work abounds in April.
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 Tbls rum or cognac (or 2 tsp almond extract)
- ¼ lb or 4 squares semi-sweet
- chocolate (4 oz)
- 2 egg whites (stiffly beaten)
- 2 cups whipping cream (whipped)
Cook over low heat the sugar and rum/almond extract. This is the only hard part of the process since one must be patient until the sugar is dissolved.
Melt chocolate in double boiler while sugar is dissolving. When melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of the whipping cream. Now quickly add the dissolved sugar syrup to the melted chocolate and stir again.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then add the stiffly beaten egg whites.
Fold in whipped cream.
Cool at least two to three hours before serving.
Timing is the key. Beat the eggs and whipping cream while you are waiting for the sugar to dissolve and have already melted the chocolate.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake *
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup shortening or softened butter
- 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 ounces melted chocolate
Grease and dust with flour an oblong pan 13 x 9 x 2 or two 9-inch round layer pans (or if you are ambitious you can do three 8-inch round layer pans).
Measure all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix for ½ minute on low speed. Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Pour into pans. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees F.
To frost, either make Cream Cheese Frosting or use Boiled Sugar Frosting.
*Another mother–in-law recipe. She had nine children and thus nine birthdays.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ lb (2 cups) confectioner’s sugar
Beat the first three ingredients together and then add the confectioner’s sugar. (I can never bring myself to use the full 2 cups as it is way too sweet. I probably use slightly more than one cup, enough so that the consistency is appropriate for spreading/icing.)
Boiled Sugar Frosting
In a double boiler place the following:
- 2 unbeaten egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 5 Tbl cold water
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Beat these ingredients constantly with a rotary beater or a whisk while the water is boiling underneath for approx. 7 minutes. Add vanilla. Cool before icing cake.