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.

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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.