Tag Archives: cocoa powder

Southern Dark Chocolate and Mayo Cake

Yes, I’ve been gone a while.  I can blame it on all manner of events and situations.  I was in the Holy Land…okay, so that accounts for two weeks.  I help my 95-year old father.  THAT is a constant but one that I typically enjoy.  I have tons of yard work.  I truly do and love getting dirt under my fingernails but the fact of the matter is I got tired.  And discouraged.  And my creativity ran dry, Dry, DRY!  However, with summer being firmly ensconced in South Florida, my mind tends to run to hot weather food…and dishes I relished as a child and as a young adult.  Recalling meals I discovered in my early days or travels has me hovering over the butcher block, knife in hand or in front of the oven pulling out a cake pan to test for doneness.  That brings me to this cake.  During my college days in Georgia, I was exposed to all manner of dishes; from brains to cheese grits to chocolate mayonnaise cake.  Made popular in the early 20th century, mayonnaise was the perfect substitute for pricy eggs and milk.  While the Hellman’s company didn’t invent the chocolate mayo cake they most certainly made it popular.  Here in the South, a loved mayonnaise is Duke’s and that’s what I use here.  Keep in mind, you are not including the moisture of butter and milk so, regardless of the brand of mayo you use, do not make the mistake of using non-fat or reduced fat.  You will find this cake to be incredibly moist and tender. It is the stuff of dreams.  Also, if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, regular unsweetened cocoa may be used in both the cake and the icing and you’ll still have a magnificent work made by your own two, capable hands.  No one will ever mistake this cake for a boxed cake or, even worse, a grocery store cake.  And since mayonnaise is essentially eggs and  vegetable oil there is no tell-tale taste…nothing more than a drop dead, gorgeous, mouth-watering chocolate cake!

Southern Dark Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • shortening to grease pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, Hershey’s makes one and it can be found in the baking section of your grocery store
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, not fat-free or reduced-fat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cold, strong brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Dark Chocolate Frosting
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Grease, line bottoms with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper three 8-inch cake pans.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat at high-speed the eggs and brown sugar for 3-4 minutes.  The mixture will become light in color and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the mayonnaise until just blended.
  5. Add the coffee to the cup of water.
  6. Alternately mix in the flour mixture with coffee-water, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between each addition and do not over beat.
  7. Divide equally between the three prepared pans.  I measure about 15 ounces per pan.
  8. Bake for 20-23 minutes, checking at the 20 minute mark for doneness or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
  9. On wire racks, cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans, peel off parchment paper and place on racks to completely.
  10. Spread Dark Chocolate Frosting or frosting of choice on cake when completely cool.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: 3 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, SIFTED.  If the cocoa powder is not sifted you will have lumps that are impossible to get out.
  • 7 tablespoons boiling water, plus more is needed
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, SIFTED, plus more is needed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large mixing bowl add cocoa powder and boiling water.  With a wooden spoon, stir by hand until the cocoa and water is smooth and completely combined.
  2. Using an electric beater on low-speed add the softened butter and mix until completely combined
  3. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat on low until most of the sugar has been incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating on medium until the frosting is smooth.  The longer the frosting is beaten the lighter in color and the more fluffy it becomes.  If it too stiff add hot water one teaspoon at a time.  If the frosting is too loose add more SIFTED confectioner’s sugar one tablespoon at a time.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

 

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Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti for my Chocolate Queen

I love those special days, Mother’s Day being one, when everyone’s nice to you and you get to do anything you want.  I got out of bed this morning when I wanted to, got dressed and left the house to work out.  What a gorgeous day!!  The sun was out and stiff breezes kept me cool.  An hour later I returned home red-faced, wet and happy knowing I won’t have to do this again until tomorrow!  I prepared my breakfast while listening to Rick Steve’s travel program on NPR.  It was a predictable Mother’s Day program but I almost lost it when he spoke of his mother who had passed away a few days after this past Christmas.  It was quite touching.  He spoke of the gifts his mother had given him and credited her with giving him the gift of travel.  Made me think of our Cookie.  She was so cool, we just didn’t know it!   She gave us the gift of language when she insisted we speak Spanish.  Keep in mind, when I was growing up, there were really no Hispanics in Fort Lauderdale.  Granted, we traveled often to Puerto Rico and would stay for long periods of time, but we also had to write our thank you notes and letters in Spanish and her frequent calls to the family meant WE had to actively participate in those conversations.  I’d always try to sneak out of the house when I heard her speaking in Spanish on the telephone.  And I’d always get caught.  Mama would pull me to the phone, hissing in my ear “YOU GET ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW AND SAY HELLO TO EVERYONE.  DO NOT EMBARRASS ME!”.  I hated it.  With a dark and sullen look on my face I would brightly say, “Hi, Madrinita!  It’s Alicia.  How are you?”.  I could feel my tongue getting thick and tangled up and self-consciousness would creep in.  Well, guess what?  At 56 years old I still speak Spanish.  Relatively well, and without an accent.  I can thank Mama for the gift of language.  That just staggers me.  She gave us ANOTHER LANGUAGE.  Mama also gave us the gift of faith.  We were all raised Catholic and we WERE at church every Sunday morning.  And we went to catechism.  Holy days of obligation were always observed and confession was said every week.  I don’t talk about it much because religion is extremely intimate to me.  Faith was not a big deal until I hit a rough patch.  Loneliness and fear struck debilitating blows at 3:00 in the morning.  Anger, pain and confusion played dominant roles in my pathetic, crumbling life.  What did I do?  More importantly, where did I turn?  My church.   Mama had given us the foundation and solace of religion.  Without it, I would not be here today.  ‘Nuff said.  On a more shallow note, she taught us to appreciate….JEWELS!!!  Pearls, gold, rubies, emeralds, it matters not which stone.  If you love it, it CAN be yours!  Anything!  A car.  That $800.00 bag you just can’t live without.  Save.  Just save.  She taught me that even 10 bucks a week will one day become seven thousand dollars and, you TOO, can be the proud owner of the fillintheblank!  She taught us no matter how little money you have, you can always save.  You girls out there need to pay attention to this.  Open your own account and keep it.  Maintain it.  You don’t have to tell anybody, either.  It’s MORE than humiliating to have to ask.  It’s contemptible to have to ask a man.  Get it yourself and you’ll enjoy whatever it is way more!  Mama taught us, in NO uncertain terms, your name is one of the few things you always have.  You represent your entire family…in my case, the Puerto Rican, the French, the English, and the more recent Greek.  Anytime we’d leave the house, especially after nightfall, she would call out to us, “Fly your banner high!”.  I have to admit, I made more wrong choices than I would have liked, but there WERE times when her words would ring in my ears and I did the right thing.  “Fly your banner high.”  I really do believe we all did.  Well, at least we tried!

My birthday, 2006

Mama loved chocolate.  One could safely say she loved chocolate as she would have a fifth child!  It mattered not if it was a Snickers bar or the finest chocolates of Europe.  She loved them all.  And you could never, EVER, have too much.  She and Daddy never really fussed much but one time, when Dad came home from a speaking trip abroad, he mentioned to her that he had been given boxes and boxes of fine Swiss and French chocolates, gifts from his clients.  He didn’t want to be weighted down or inconvenienced by carrying them on the flight home so he just left them unopened in the hotel room for the chambermaid.  Mama was furious.  She just BLEW UP.  “But, Jackson, you KNOW how I love chocolate!  How could you!! How could you!!”.  It wasn’t pretty.  So, itty bitty precious Mama, I give you CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP PISTACHIO BISCOTTI.  And Happy Mother’s Day!  You duh Mama!!!!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pistachio Biscotti

yield: 13-14 biscotti not including the end pieces, (they’re the baker’s treat!)

  • 7 tablespoons of softened butter, one is for the baking sheet
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper and, using on tablespoon of butter, spread evenly on parchment, down the middle, covering approximately 13 X 5 inches.  Just eyeball it.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Using a stand-up mixer if you have one, otherwise use an electric mixer or arm power, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  6. Add flour mixture and stir to form a stiff dough.
  7. Add pistachios and chocolate chips.  I stir this addition in by hand.
  8. Transfer dough to prepared parchment paper and form into a 12″ X 4″ flat log.  Smooth and shape where needed.
  9. Bake until slightly firm, roughly 25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
  12. Transfer log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1″ thick slices.  I always use a serrated knife.
  13. Return to baking sheet, cut side down, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8-10 minutes.
  14. Cool completely before storing.