Sinful Midnight Cake

Do you realize how many different chocolate cake recipes there are in this world?  Way too many, and settling on a recipe (in my opinion) is half the battle.

I settled on a cake that doesn’t have a single calorie in it.  No sir, I’m certain of that.  And if you believe me, I’ve got a bridge I’ll sell you.  Cash only please, and no refunds!

This recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook – copyrighted in 1969.  I’m not sure how it got it’s name because it really isn’t as dark as midnight, but I suspect it might be hard to stay out of at midnight. In fairness to Betty Crocker, it should be noted that I didn’t have enough baking cocoa on hand when I made this recipe so I substituted some of the cocoa with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.   It’s possible that if I had used the cocoa that the recipe originally called for then it might have produced a darker colored cake.

I’ve included one of my recently learned secrets on how to handle fresh baked layer cakes in this post.  Until recently, I struggled with uneven cake tops.  If you have this problem make sure you read this entire post.. 

Sinful Midnight Cake

2 eggs

1 2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/4 c. cocoa

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/4 c. hot water

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and line two 9” round layer pans with parchment paper.  Lightly grease parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, margarine, oil, cocoa, and melted chocolate.  With electric mixer, mix for 1 minute on low speed.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on high speed.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

Remove cakes from the oven.  Using a clean dishtowel, while the cakes are still warm and in their pans, press them flat.  This saves you from having uneven cake tops when it comes time to decorate them.  Place two large pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface and flip the cakes out of their pans onto each piece of plastic wrap.  Lightly wrap each cake in the plastic wrap.  This traps the moisture in and will help make your cakes super moist.  Allow cakes to cool thoroughly. 

Unwrap each cake when your ready to frost and decorate them.  

I frosted this cake with a chocolate buttercream icing, but because this recipe calls for a lot of sugar and the cake was sweet, I think I’d opt for a chocolate whipped cream frosting the next time around. 

I am definitely more of a cake fan than an icing fan.  What about you?

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Happy Hour!

Happy Hour at our house involves more than just a cocktail, it involves a great dinner created by two foodies who appreciate each others abilities to prepare, and devour.  And prepare and devour we did! 
 
The plan had been set in place earlier in the day with the standard question of “What’s for dinner tonight?”  It doesn’t matter who asks the question, what’s more important is who answers it.  I don’t know about you but sometimes it seems to be a painstaking task just trying to decide what to make for dinner.
 
After careful consideration of weighing our choices a plan emerged.  My husband would grill a couple of strip steaks, top them off with onions and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, and throw some crumbled Stilton’s blue cheese on top.  He even decided to get out the sizzle platters for the occasion.
 
Happy Hour wouldn’t be that without a cocktail so I made a  giant white wine Spitzer.  I prefer to make these using (wine) ice cubes made with my favorite white wine.  Now keep in mind that alcohol doesn’t freeze entirely, if at all.  It depends on the sugar content, so the cubes have a slushy consistency.  After putting the cubes in a large wine glass add your favorite sparkling water.  I used a diet cranberry-raspberry.  Garnish with your favorite fruits.  I used a wedge of lemon, and some fresh raspberries from our garden.  Ooh, so refreshing, and low in calories.   I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Needless to say he did a superb job, and it’s a darn good thing the wine Spitzer was low cal!