I have to admit I have always avoided baking. The main reason why is that I have zero patience. Double-boilers, sifting ingredients, measuring precisely … yeah … yuck. My mother and grandmother (Gram-gram) were wonderful at it and I always marveled at their talent and patience. I was never blessed to have children; maybe the powers-that-be realized I have no patience. Though when my Gram-gram’s and then much later my mother’s health began to fail I realized that I had endless amounts of tolerance.
I knew that my time was getting shorter and shorter with them, and I needed to have them teach me their secrets. Do you know what their secret was? Baking is a time-out. A way to escape the craziness out there in the world. Go into the kitchen turn on your favorite music; get out the measuring utensils; actually LOOK at a recipe; making sure everything is either chilled or at room temperature. If not, heat up a kettle for tea, make a pot, pour a cup and wait until everything is at the right temperature. Baking is therapy and escapism for the average cook … who knew? It’s never really quick … it’s always going to be more than an hour; there is always plenty of tea and a time to really talk to your loved ones.
When I designed this recipe, I played a lot with many different cake recipes and finally figured out one that beginning bakers didn’t have to worry about double-boilers, sifting, eggs and butter either chilled or at room temperature. I also wanted a cake where most of the ingredients could be stored in the pantry for future use. I make this cake often, usually when I am stressed and need a time-out. Johnathan who has been working in our tasting room for years always gets a crooked smile when I bring it in to the staff to eat and says, “You feeling stressed?” After making this cake and the way your house will smell … trust me you do feel better.
No Stress Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 cups of flour
- ¾ cups of unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 ½ cup of butter – melted
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 cup of water
- ¼ cup of vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup of milk
- ¾ cup of unsweetened cocoa
- ½ cup of butter
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla
- 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 3 cups of your favorite chopped or sliced nuts (I use walnuts)
- Step 1 Preheat stove to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 In a large bowl combine, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, butter, milk, water, vanilla and eggs. Get this … this is the tough part … whisk until batter is smooth. That’s it.
- Step 3 Spoon batter into a 13’ x 9” inch pan, spread batter so the pan is evenly covered. Place dish in center rack of stove for 30-35 minutes or until you can pierce the center with a toothpick and the pick comes out clean. Don’t worry it will … just check every two minutes or so …
- Step 4 When cake is done, place it to the side and cover with foil to keep the heat in … you will want to add the frosting on when the cake is still warm. I know I’m breaking a baking a cake rule … sheesh. Trust me on this.
- Step 5 To make the frosting in a large sauce pan add milk, cocoa, butter, vanilla and keep on low heat stirring frequently.
- Step 6 When butter is melted add powdered sugar a cup at a time, every time the sugar is mixed thoroughly into the chocolate add another cup.
- Step 7 When last cup of sugar is melted into the chocolate add nuts and stir until all nuts are covered.
- Step 8 Pour evenly onto warm cake, this will bind the frosting to the cake and make it kind of like a fudge topping.
- Step 9 You just made a cake without using a boxed mix! Yippee!!!