Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Chocolate and vanilla....where some may see boredom, I see simplicity. Ask me what my favourite ice cream flavour is, and despite having tried flavours as varied as mango, pomegranate, maple bacon, and Cabernet, I will usually vacillate between chocolate or vanilla.
So when asked by a friend to make mini-cupcakes for a baby shower, vanilla and chocolate was the plan. A double-barrel shotgun of simplicity. Singular flavours of vanilla with vanilla buttercream, and chocolate with chocolate buttercream were anything but. Not all cake recipes are equal, I discovered. I was like Goldilocks finding the one that was 'just right.' Over the span of a week, out from the oven came four cakes, two winning recipes, and the end-result of a few dozen mini-cupcakes.
The winning chocolate cake will be re-visited often. Not too fudgy and not too sweet, you can enjoy it with a thick layer of buttercream or dusted with confectioners' sugar.
Texas Sheet Cake
Makes 20 to 24 servings
(From Bonny Wolf's 'Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes, and Other Kitchen Stories')
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups chopped pecans (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or line with parchment a 15.5 x 10.5 jelly roll pan. Combine the butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Remove the butter from the heat and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well (either by hand or with a mixer). Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix again. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Note: I halved the recipe and ended up with close to 4 dozen mini-cupcakes. It will also make an 8 x 8 inch cake.