Monday, August 16, 2010
Mom's Chocolate Cake Redux
Even though temperatures were hitting in the 90s, I decided to make Mom's chocolate cake. However, I made a few changes; first, I baked cupcakes because they take less time to bake than a cake, so the oven isn't on as long and secondly, I decided to add a filling...dulce de leche. I iced the cupcakes in a chocolate buttercream and sprinkled the tops with "Fleur de Sel," which is a fancy sea salt. Chocolate, dulce de leche and salt...even Mom would have loved these.
Lastly, you'll notice in the photo a beautiful Hawaiian quilt runner a friend brought back to me a few years ago. Hawaiian quilting is radially symmetric applique patterns, usually botanical designs in bold colors on a white background. Remarkably, the designs are made from a single cut on folded fabrics. I made a Hawaiian quilt a few years ago for Tsukineko inks. I hand dyed the fabric, using their All-Purpose Inks, and made a four panel quilt, doing the same pattern in four colorways to depict the seasons. One day, I'd like to do another one...just to keep.
Mom's Chocolate Cake (Cupcakes)
Dulce de Leche
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
Use a can opener to remove the lid. Set up a double boiler with about a 1"-1 1/2" of water in the bottom. Place the opened can in the top of the double boiler. Cover and bring the water to boil, then, lower to a simmer.
The mixture will thicken and become a caramel color.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (my mom used margarine) at room temperature
4 T cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 T vanilla extract
In the bowl of the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment (or a large bowl and hand mixer), mix together the dry ingredients (the first five). In a small sauce pan, combine the butter, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil (watch closely so it doesn't boil over). Remove from heat and while the mixer is running, pour this mixture over the dry ingredients. Finally, add the beaten eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well to combine.
The batter is thinner than you may be used to. For this reason, I transferred the batter to a large liquid measure and poured the batter into the cupcake papers.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soften to room temperature
5 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup whole milk
1 T vanilla
Fleur de Sel (optional for embellishment)
In the bowl of the KitchenAid, using the whisk attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add half of the confectioners' sugar and all of the cocoa and beat to combine. Start out on low speed so you don't have dry ingredients "flying" out of the mixer. Add half the milk and beat well. Add the remaining sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy. The frosting will change in color to a "lighter" shade of chocolate when it's whipped.
To assemble the cupcakes, use an apple corer to remove some of the center cake.