Chocolate Cake

It is probably impossible to count the number of these cakes that my grandma has made in her lifetime. It is the one that the family most often requests for birthdays and special occasions. I just celebrated my birthday, and Grandma came through with another scrumptious chocolate cake.

grandmas-chocolate-cake

Cake:
1 Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1-1/3 c. coffee
(Grandma likes Folgers Classic Roast – Instant)
½ c. canola oil
3 large eggs
¾ T butter flavoring
1 scant tsp vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to according to package instructions.  Spray pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift cake mix (or at least run beaters thru the mix to break up clumps).  Add all other ingredients.  Mix on low until moistened (about 30 seconds).  Mix on medium for 2 minutes.  (Can be a 2- or 3-layer cake). Bake according to package instructions.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
½ c butter or margarine, softened
¼ – ½ tsp salt
5-6 T cocoa
1 T butter flavoring
1 scant tsp vanilla flavoring
5 c powdered sugar
coffee

Mix cream cheese, butter or margarine, salt, and cocoa until smooth.  Add butter and vanilla flavorings.  Gradually add powdered sugar.  If too thick, thin by gradually adding small amounts of coffee.  Grandma says, “A little goes a long way.”  Grandma tip:  Dip knife in coffee when smoothing frosting after applying it to the cake.

Apple Cranberry Spice Cake

I’m visiting family in TN this week, and yesterday I went to see my 92-year-old grandma. She is a great cook and still enjoys trying new recipes. She always offers more food than we can eat, and this day was no exception.

Our favorite item on the menu was a new recipe–Apple Cranberry Spice Cake. It is so moist, so flavorful! We enjoyed some cake during our visit and then took the rest home with us. The entire cake was devoured well under 24 hours later. I managed to get a picture of the very last slice of cake–seconds before I ate it, so it isn’t the prettiest picture, but it’s all I’ve got.

apple-cranberry-spice-cake

Apple Cranberry Spice Cake
from The Tennessee Magazine, Dec 2008, page 26.

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz) package Spice Cake mix
3 eggs
1 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c water
1 c apples, peeled & diced
1 c dried cranberries

Glaze:
1 T butter
1/4 c water
2 c powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat over to 350.

Spray or grease & flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Combine cake mix, eggs, applesauce, butter, and water. Beat on low speed for 1 minute to blend, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in diced apples and cranberries.

Spread batter evenly in bundt pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 25 minutes in pan on wire rack and then remove cake and cool completely.

In a saucepan, make glaze by combining butter and water over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Pour warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Yogurt Marmalade Cake

This has become one of my very most favorite new recipes of 2008. I found the recipe on Pioneer Woman’s site, and starred it for future reference.

I doubled the recipe and froze one of the loaves, which worked well and allowed me to serve one at each of our brunches. The yogurt creates the moistest cake. YUM!!!

yogurt-marmalade-cake

Yogurt Marmalade Cake
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 heaping cup of plain, lowfat yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup prepared orange marmalade
(Note: I used Smuckers’ Sugar-free Orange Marmalade)
1/4 cup yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and canola oil until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not overbeat.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan.

While cake is cooling, pour marmalade into pan. Heat on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Add yogurt to pan and turn off heat. Stir to combine, then pour slowly over the top of the cake, allowing icing to pool around the sides.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I made this cake for my husband’s birthday several months ago. He’s a big fan of chocolate and peanut butter. This cake absolutely hit the mark. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting is positively sinfully delicious! Worth every calorie!

…and just so you know, this cake is delicious whether served at room temperature, cold from the fridge, or frozen! (We decided to freeze some of our leftovers and really shouldn’t have bothered. The frozen leftovers lasted only a couple more days–and with some of those servings we didn’t even bother to let them thaw).

I love the Smitten Kitchen site. She shares some really delicious recipes and helpful tips. Check it out!

chocolate-pb-cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (Note: I used regular Hershey’s Cocoa)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (optional) (Note: I omitted)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. (Note: This is a great step for preventing your cake from sticking to the pan at all).

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Optional step: Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.