We've had an awful lot of sweets lately, from Thanksgiving pies to Advent calendar treats to kindergarten gingerbread houses, with a few birthday cakes sprinkled in the mix. In fact, I just put the last chunk of the chocolate stout cake in the freezer (yes, after eating a piece with my lunch). We'll dig it out again one of those nights when the kids are tucked in bed and we need a little something to accompany our tea and television.
But today, Little Boy Three needed his very own birthday cake. So I dug out my 6-inch cake pans and halved Maida Heatter's recipe for Old-Fashioned Fudge Cake. This cake has a mild chocolatey flavor, and would be happy with a fudge frosting to go with it. But since I--dare I say it?--am getting a little tired of chocolate, I went a different direction. It made a sweet little two-layer cake covered with whipped cream, a scattering of rainbow sprinkles and topped with candles.
And I'm hoping there won't be much left over. Because it's time to start baking Christmas cookies!
A Little Old-Fashioned Fudge Cake
adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts
1 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 scant cup of cake flour (I measured out a cup and then scooped out a couple Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup milk
Line two 6-inch cake pans with parchment, wax paper or foil. Grease and flour pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (about 2 minutes on high); stir until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the large bowl of the mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat well. Add the egg and beat well. Mix in the vinegar; it will look curdled. Add the melted chocolate and beat only until smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, then mix in the milk. Scrape again and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat only until smooth.
Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the layers begin to come away from the sides of the pan and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Run a sharp knife or small icing spatula around the edges of the pan to release the cake from the sides. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn the layers out onto a rack.