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Chocolate Cakes

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How many iterations and resurrections have chocolate cake recipes had? In comparing my reference sources ( Bon Appetit, Sunset Magazine --a 1986 recipe!--,Better Homes and Garden), I find that differences are in the form of measurements rather than ingredients. One exception is the use of brown sugar for a portion of the sugar allottment.

See also Chocolate Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce, memorialized by my sister-in-law at a family Christmas potluck. You'll need a big chunk of time for this one, but it's worth it!

The first recipe blends two magazine articles blended withMoosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites recipe for bundt cake, which uses vegetable-based oil instead of butter. It makes up for saturfated fat, though, by using baking chocolate, so it may be a wash as a low-fat alternative.

The second recipe uses cocoa powder, far lower in fats than baking chocolate, and little difference in taste. Save the calories for the frosting. This one has become the family favorite. Don't mince or skip the liqueur--it makes a difference.

BTW, using a low fat butter substitue like Smart Balance 50/50 butter sticks does not change the texture and no one notices the difference in taste.

1.  Chocolate Buttermilk

The result of my first trial was a nice rich cake. though the batter was insufficient to fill 2-   9" cake pans. 

1 3/4 cp flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 cp vegetable oil
1 cp brown sugar
1/4 t salt
3 eggs
1-2 sq (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3/4 cp buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
2 T Grand Marnier liqueur, Triple Sec (orange flavor)

1/2 cp nuts, chopped (opt)

1. Melt chocolate in oil and set aside.
2. Sift dry ingredients (except sugar) in small bowl and set aside.
3. Cream brown sugar and chocolate mixture, then beat in eggs, one at a time. 4. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and salt till fluffy.
5. Stir in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk till smooth and well blended.
6. Grease two cake pan bottoms, add waxed paper cut to size, and grease top of paper--it's much easier to remove the cake! 
7. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, till toothpick in center comes out clean.
8. Ice with your favorite frosting, or use recipe below.

2. Chocolate Cocoa Cake
For the cake:

2 cpsifted flour
3/4 cp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cp chopped nuts

2 large eggs
1 cp granulated sugar
1 cp light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temp)
2 t vanilla extract
2 T Bailey's Irish Creme, or other favorite liqueur
1 cp LF buttermilk

1. Blend eggs and sugar on low or medium speed for about a minute. Add butter, vanilla, and Grand Marinier liqueur
2. Butter and line with waxed paper 2 9" cake pans.
3. Mix remaining ingredients on low speed, slowly adding buttermilk till throughly blended.
4. Divide into the lined cake pans; bake at 350 degrees till toothpick in center comes out clean (about 25 minutes). Cool on racks 10 minutes before removing from pans.

3.  Chocolate Potato Cake

2 cp flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cp mashed potatoes
3 sq melted unsweetened chocolate
4 whole eggs
2 cps sugar
1 cp butter or margarine
2 t vanilla
1/2 cp (scant) milk
1 cp nuts, chpd

1. Sift dry ingredients
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs.
3. Add mashed potatoes and chocolate
4. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk
5. Fold in nuts by hand.
6. Cook at 350 degrees about 35-40 minutes

          Myteline Igo Schultz, Nogales, AZ

4. Milk Chocolate Pound Cake

Note: My daughter made this many years ago -- before she decided she hated cooking! -- and it's delicious. For bittersweet chocolate fans, try semi-sweet baking chocolate as a substitute. Suggest a lemon icing as as topping.

1 cp butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cp sugar
4 eggs
6 milk chocolate bars (1.55 oz), melted
2 1/2 cp flour
1/4 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cp buttermilk
1 cp chopped pecans
5 1/2 oz can of chocolate syrup
2 t vanilla

1. Cream butter thoroughly; gradually add sugar beating well after each addition. Add eggs,one at a time, beating well each time.
2. Add melted chocolate and mix well.
3. Combine flour, soda and salt; add to chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix til blended after each addition.
4. Stir in pecans, syrup, and vanilla.
5. Pour into greased and floured 10" tube or bundt pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes test early. Cool cake, remove from pan, and dust with powdered sugar (opt.)

             Southern Living

Chocolate Frosting
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This is another work in progress. How to make a spreadable, rich frosting with as little saturated fat calories as possible. A couple possibilities: cut the butter with low-fat cream cheese or using evaporated milk in place of heavy cream. A 1997 Bon Appetit recipe mixes three types of heated chocolate with whipping cream.  For those who like the taste of chocolate and orange, the 11/01 issue offers Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.

This version came by accident, when I tried making a ganache to spread between layers. It was too thin, so I decided to use it as a base for frosting. The end result was perfect,but it was made with 6 oz squares of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. This recipe goes with cocoa powder, but has been untested in Planter kitchen.

The beater makes a fluffier frosting.

3/4 cps cocoa powder
1/4 cp butter or margarine
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
4 cp sifted powdered sugar

1. Cream cocoa powder and butter with a mixer on low speed.
2. Stir in vanilla and cream.
3. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed till smooth. Regulate thickness with more powdered sugar or more hot water.
4. Should be spread at room temperature.