CHEW THIS! Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, January 18th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Old-Fashioned Southern Memories
Blaise Doubman

I remember several years ago my Grandma Barbra getting a satellite dish and telling me all about the new shows that she had found while browsing through one afternoon. With excitement she told me about a food channel that had “this older southern woman” and all the delicious food she fixed. She also told me about “this young woman who talks all the time” and compared her motor mouth to mine. Ha! Come to find out the two women she was talking about was Paula Deen and Rachael Ray. Who would have thought? I always say that my Grandma Barbra discovered both food personalities before anyone else in Kennard. For the record, I do believe she was one of the first people in Kennard to get a newer dish installed. On many occasions Grandma Barbra and I would sit and watch these food shows and write down different recipes to try, taking them into the kitchen and putting our own spins on them. Years later, all of Kennard would get what is now known as “The Food Network” and I remember my Grandma Deloris being just as thrilled with the new addition as anyone else. Her and my Grandpa Max would watch, write down recipes and put their own spins on things. I think about memories like this a lot, especially since both of my Grandma’s passing recently.

They say that during times of grief, it is the good memories that help pull you through. I am relying on that to be true because other than the support of my family and friends, these good memories are all that I have. Some of my favorite memories are both of my Grandma’s talking about their southern roots. The stories they shared were often remarkably similar, just perhaps different places and different people but they were just as comforting. Some of the stories they would tell were disturbing, taking place in an era that I can’t even seem to imagine, but most of their stories were not only uplifting and kind but incredibly fascinating. Grandma Deloris shared with me one time about how she would drink so much milk when she was a little girl that her Dad, my Great Grandpa Willie Davis, said it would be cheaper to buy a cow than to continue paying for all the milk he had to order! So, what did he do? Next thing my Grandma Deloris knew, there was a cow in the backyard! She loved telling that story. Same with my Grandma Barbra and the story she would tell about fixing my Great Grandma Flora and I pancakes every single day for lunchtime for years when I was younger. I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a giant pancake before I was 10! I can still see their smiles telling their stories to me. When developing the recipe, I am sharing with you today, I wanted something that was classically southern, the Bundt cake, but updated with not only better flavor but better texture. I love this recipe!

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This is best eaten the same day it is made. If any leftovers, wrap and chill in refrigerator for up to a day. Feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Also feel free to add ½ cup chopped pecans. The dusting of powdered sugar is optional. This cake can even be frosted with homemade chocolate frosting.

1 package Devil’s Food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 heaping cup sour cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the Devil’s Food Cake Mix with the chocolate instant pudding mix. Add in vegetable oil, warm water, slightly beaten eggs and pure vanilla extract. Mix with a fork until light and combined before adding in the sour cream. Mix the sour cream in well using a spatula, being sure to get the bottom and the sides of the bowl.

Finally, add in the semi-sweet chocolate chips and gently fold them in using the spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Lightly hit the pan on the counter a few times to loosen any air bubbles.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 47 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake and flip out onto a serving plate.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve this warm, room temperature or cold.

Ask and Answer: I have gotten several questions about quick frostings and what the ratio of butter to powdered sugar should be. This really depends on how thick you like your frostings. I like mine thick enough to hold shape but thin enough to spread easily. If the consistency is like that of slightly melted ice cream, it is perfect. The base for the perfect frosting is 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened beaten together with 3 ¾ cups powdered sugar, or the amount of powdered sugar that is found in the rectangular boxes you will find in some stores. Beat both together and add in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and a teaspoon of salt. This is vanilla buttercream. Add in melted chocolate for chocolate buttercream, or other flavorings such as orange juice and orange zest, lemon juice and lemon zest, maple flavoring, peppermint flavoring or anything that sounds good to you. If you like your frosting extra thick, add more powdered sugar. If you like your frosting thinner, slightly add in milk until desired consistency.

No-Bowl Chocolate Cake

I love how you completely prepare this cake in the pan you bake it in! Less mess and let me be honest, more fun! Try it with your kids, or yourself, today!

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No-Bowl Chocolate Cake

2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
3/4 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Dump in the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a not greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Whisk everything together using a wire whisk. Add in the hot water, vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract and white vinegar. Whisk good – being sure to get the bottom and corners of the pan.

Bake in preheated oven 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and make frosting. In a saucepan over medium heat combine 1/2 cup white granulated sugar with 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Once at a boil, stir constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Pour over still warm cake and smooth evenly.

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

CHEW THIS! Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 21st 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake brings back memories…
Blaise Doubman

I remember when I was younger, my family and I would frequently visit “Cassidy’s Egg Farm” located right where state road 234 meets state road 38. Sadly, it’s no longer in existence, but I have some very fond memories of the place and the food it sold. It sat back from the road a little, and was located in a small brick building behind a personal residence. I’ve always wanted to know more about its history and more about the structure behind the business concept, but I’ll save that for later. Let’s focus on the food. I remember going in with my parents, or grandparents and seeing their case full of cookies, cakes and pies. The desserts, all sitting in their own foam trays, with plastic wrap carefully stretched over each, always called my attention. Over in the corner, was a refrigerated section filled with, you guessed it, eggs and milk. It was genuine, personable and quant. The payment method was “the honesty policy” and went something like this… On the counter there was a notebook and pen. You wrote down what you got, how much it was, and, per the sign hanging, they requested you put your money into a small slot in the wall, which was then collected on the other side by the owners.

Over the course of several years, I think I tried everything they had to offer. Their chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles were delicious. Their apple and cherry pies were always a personal favorite around the Holiday seasons. What my family and I remember the most though, were their chocolate cakes. After the small business closed, I would try and recreate some of their baked goods, but never quite got the final product I wanted. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a recipe for an “old-fashioned” chocolate cake (that is first boiled on the stove) that I even came close to the taste I remembered from my childhood. After several recipe changes, and a few added ingredients, I came up with the following recipe that my family and taste testers said tasted “almost identical” to the cakes remembered from the local memory filled business.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

For this recipe, I prefer Pillsbury brand “Softasilk” bleached cake flour. What’s the difference between bleached and unbleached flour? Bleached flour is aged quicker, by the use of chlorine gas and benzoyal peroxide, resulting in a softer flour that produces food with a softer texture, brighter color and a noticeable difference in volume. Unbleached flour is aged “naturally” and, when used in baking, produces more structure in the final product. Unbleached flour is often used in yeast breads for this reason. Both flours, however, can be used interchangeably in times of need, but a good rule of thumb would be: use the flour that is called for in the recipe. Baking is science; therefore following exact directions are critical.

For the cake…
2 cups bleached cake flour
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup cold water
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the frosting…
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 ¾ cup powdered sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the cake flour and white granulated sugar together in a large bowl.

In a large sized saucepan, add in the water, butter, vegetable oil and cocoa powder. Stir together and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off heat and add in the combined flour and sugar mixture and stir together well.

Once thoroughly mixed together, add in the buttermilk, eggs, instant coffee granules, baking soda and ground cinnamon and stir until everything is combined.

Pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan, and place in preheated oven for exactly 30 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and start on the frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir this mixture constantly until it just comes to a bubble, being careful not to allow a boil. Immediately pour this mixture over the slightly cooled cake.

Allow the cake, and frosting, to cool completely before cutting and enjoying.

Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.

CHEW THIS! Intense Chocolate Cake

Intense Chocolate Cake

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 6th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Dark, dense and intense chocolate cake…
Blaise Doubman

Did you know that it’s been proven that a little dark chocolate is good for not only the body and mind, but for the soul also? It’s true! The benefits of chocolate are amazing! In my research I’ve found several interesting facts about chocolate. Did you know that chocolate may lower cholesterol levels? Chocolate may also prevent memory decline, and also may reduce the risk of heart disease. The chocolate that is studied in most scientific studies is dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate the better it is for health.

Discussing all of this almost makes me want to label this delicious, dense chocolate cake a “health” food – but I think that’s taking things a little too far. The chocolate used is considered “dark” (its 60% cacao) but the butter, sugar and flour may stray it from finding this anywhere near the word “health”. Given that, a small piece of this cake (says me) is the perfect prescription for someone needing a little slice of happiness and for someone needing an instant mood-boost. I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat chocolate, I instantly feel better. Maybe it’s just me…

Intense Chocolate Cake

This cake is beyond decadent. Serve small slices dusted with powdered sugar, or alongside some ice cream. Place the cake in the refrigerator for an even richer texture and crumb.

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 60% cacao chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch spring form cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour. (Or you can use “Baker’s Joy” non-stick spray that already has the flour in it.)

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir occasionally so the butter doesn’t burn. Once hot and bubbly, add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate and butter combine together and are smooth and velvety.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the large eggs, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, instant coffee granules, pure vanilla extract and salt until combined. Add in the melted butter and chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined.

Pour the finished batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool completely before removing, cutting and serving.

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cake

Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cake

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 7th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Testing out those social media recipes…
Blaise Doubman

At least a dozen times a week, someone sends me recipes they have found on various social media outlets. Sometimes it’s Facebook, sometimes it’s through a blog email they’ve signed up for, Twitter, Instagram…you name it. Depending on the week, sometimes all recipes sent to me are a variation of one or the other. I have a folder that I keep labeled “social media recipes” that I dive into every once in awhile. Honestly, more times than not, the recipes are a failure. There’s always something missing, an off time or the ingredients just simply don’t go that well together. I always tend to make notes in the margins of the print-outs about what I think the flavor combination should be, what I would like, and how long I think it would take to cook or bake. I’m not an expert, but I know what most people like…and have developed a sense as to how a recipe should read.

My latest adventure into my folder of “social media recipes” was a recipe for a chocolate pudding cake. The picture made it look so good, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I should have known better…the taste fell flat. I decided I was going to make some changes, and make it my way to see how much I could improve the recipe. I decided to use chocolate fudge cake mix, as well as pudding. I wanted to add even more chocolate flavor, so I added chocolate milk to the pudding mix instead of just white milk. Adding instant coffee granules really makes the chocolate flavor even deeper, and topping off the cake with just Cool Whip would round out the cake and not make it too heavy. The final result was amazing! I made notes, typed it up and decided to share it here with all of you…

Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cake

This recipe is perfect for reunions, cookouts, potluck dinners and gets togethers. Just make it the night before, cover it, and refrigerate it and the next day you have dessert ready to go. I find this cake delicious with crumbled up chocolate cream cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, or even crumbled up chocolate brownies! The sky is the limit when experimenting with this recipe. If I’m serving it for a potluck dinner, I usually just sprinkle the top with candied sprinkles. That way it’s festive and fun.

1 box (3.4 oz) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
2 cups chocolate milk
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
Crushed chocolate cream cookies or colored sprinkles (optional)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 13×9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the instant chocolate fudge pudding mix with the chocolate milk until thickened.

Next, add the chocolate fudge cake mix to the pudding and stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for exactly 31 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely.

Finally, frost the top of the cake evenly with the Cool Whip, and add desired topping of crushed chocolate cream cookies, or sprinkles.

Refrigerate for at least six hours (or overnight) before serving. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to three days.