2011 and Chocolate Cake

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

My cat, Turkey, is not NEARLY as excited as I am about this pan.

No matter what, I’m always a mess during the week before the New Year. This year was no exception. Last week was full of my laying in bed, thinking too much about the things I can’t change, eating too much, and worrying about the year to come. I sound like a pleasant individual, right?

There is good news. Even though it means I’m getting older, which is terrifying, it also means I’m growing up. Thank goodness. All that worrying and being upset turned into my realizing that the only way things can be different is if you make choices and do something to help yourself grow.

I’m ushering in the New Year with something very simple, in a beautiful pan I got for Christmas from one of the people dearest to me. Every day, easy peasy, pajama chocolate cake. Part of growing up means really, truly appreciating the simple, wonderful moments that make up your day, instead of seeing everything as the be-all end-all of the world. How many times have you heard that in your time on this Earth? I’ve been hearing it since I could remember, but it wasn’t until this year that I’ve embraced it, and welcomed it into my way of thinking in a (hopefully) permanent manner.

Now I’m sitting back, eating cake, drinking tea, and looking at the snow. Looking forward to everything.

 

I couldn't think of a better shape to express my feelings towards chocolate cake. My favorite shape, my favorite feeling.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Yields one cake in a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan, but you could probably do this in an 8 inch by 4 inch pan. Or a sweet heart pan. Just keep an eye on it after 45 minutes if you decide to go crazy and use a shaped/differently size pan.

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, softened (microwave a stick of butter, right out of the fridge, for 20-30 seconds)

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk/nondairy milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

(Note: If you are using dutch processed cocoa powder, use one teaspoon baking soda)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Prepare your pan by buttering it and coating lightly with flour.

3. Cream the butter until it’s smooth. If you’re using a stand mixer, cream it on medium speed for 3 minutes or so.

4. Add both sugars to the butter, and beat this mixture until it’s fluffy, another 3 minutes.

5. Add the egg, beat well to incorporate.

6. Add both the buttermilk and vanilla extract. At this point, the batter will look separated and not so pretty. Don’t fret.

7. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and leavening agent together, and add them to the batter. Or just sift them right into the mixing bowl!

8. Mix with a spoon until the mixture is blended and relatively even looking. Be careful not to overmix, but be sure to get all the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl incorporated into the batter.

9. Pour batter into the pan, spreading it evenly.

10. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Or 55 minutes if you have a zealous oven like mine.

11. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely.

It’s hard to give advice about storing when it comes to cake, because I love cake even when it’s stale. I guess the normal advice would be to store it in an airtight container, after serving, for 3 days, but I usually stretch this to 5 or 6.

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