baking beast

a suspicious creature has been lurking around the streets, leaving behind delights that dreams are made of. what's to become of this baking beast?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

chocolate cake squares

i made the "chocolate cake squares (grandma hermalin's)" from maida heatter's book of great desserts this week.... sooo easy to make and sooo delicious!! it may not be the prettiest or fanciest cake, but it really hits the spot for some good ole chocolate cake squares that you crave in the middle of a busy week. the glaze called for was a semisweet one, but i only had milk chocolate left so i used that instead.. still delicious. in the cake batter, i added chocolate extract that i recently got from king arthur.. can't tell if it helped the cake taste better, as i have not had the cake without extract before. but the taste of the cake was fantastic. very chocolatey and moist cake!! no special ingredients in the original recipe, and it's even easier with cocoa powder as you don't need to fiddle with melting chocolate and such. i just used regular ole hershey's cocoa, which i thought had a weird flavor from previous baked goods experiences.. but no weird flavor in this cake. whew!! i was a little worried that it was going to come out tasting a little odd. the cake is very moist and somewhat dense.. and the glaze sets in later for a fudgy kind of frosting. anyway, for such a simple cake, i loved it and it was just what i wanted. :)

Chocolate Cake Squares (Grandma Hermalin's)
From "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts"
Makes 9 portions

1 cup (4.5 ounces) sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup (1.75 ounces) unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp instant coffee
1/2 cup boiling water

1. Adjust oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan and dust lightly with flour.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a seperate bowl, beat the butter a bit to soften. Add the sugar and cream for a minute or two until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. On lowest speed, add the cocoa. Then, in this order, gradually add one-half of the milk, one-half of the dry ingredients, remaining milk, and remaining dry ingredients, scraping the bowl frequently with a rubber spatula all during mixing. Mix only until smooth after each addition.
4. Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water. While it is still hot, add it very gradually on lowest speed to the chocolate mixture. Beat only until smooth. Batter will be thin. Turn it into the prepared pan and bake for abour 40 minutes or until top spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 min. Cover with a rack and invert. Remove pan. Cover with another rack and invert again to finish cooling right side up. Prepare the following icing:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate (or 4 ounces of whatever chocolate you wish to use)
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 4 pieces

In the top of a small double boiler over hot water on moderate heat, melt the chocolate. Remove top from the double boiler and with a small wire whisk beat in the butter, one piece at a time, beating until each piece is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.
This icing may be used immediately, or if it is too thin, place the pan into ice water and stir constantly until icing thickens very slightly, but watch it closely to see that it doesn't harden. It should still be fluid when used.
Pour it over the cake and smooth with a long, narrow, metal spatula.


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