Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Recipe Friday? Meet Chocolate.

Well, it just seems perfectly fitting that our first dessert for Free Recipe Friday
is none other than CHOCOLATE!

But first, a few chocolate facts!  Did you know?

-- Dark chocolate stored under perfect conditions will last for 10 years.
-- The United States produces more chocolate than any other country.
-- The Swiss eat more chocolate than any other country.
-- On average, the Swiss eat twenty-one pounds
of chocolate every day. (England is second.)
-- On average, every American eats
ten to twelve pounds of chocolate each year.
-- Cocoa is harvested twice a year.
-- The anti-oxidants in chocolate lower your risk of heart disease.
-- In North America, more people crave chocolate than any other food.
-- White chocolate contains no chocolate.
-- The very first recipe for chocolate brownies
appeared in 1896 in the Fanny Farmer cookbook.

Now you know!
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Now, from time to time, new recipes come across your path
and you make a mental note saying 'I am going to try that sometime' -
knowing full well you have no intention of doing so,
unless some freak life circumstances occur
and you have no access to recipes anymore.
This recipe was baked and eaten by our family in a similar way...
...without the freaky life circumstances part.
(Well, actually the following story is kind of a freaky life circumstance.)

A business owner that I highly admire
(who shall remain nameless and who also may or may not live in Florida!)
happened to email me (since I made cakes) asking if I knew of any
eggless chocolate cake recipes.  She and her husband
had a house guest that was highly allergic to eggs, but
had tried many eggless recipes that ended up
going into the trash.  I pushed my sleeves up,
dug thru some recipes and sent a few of them for her to try...
truly not knowing if they would taste as good as the
pictures looked or not.  It was a total shot in the dark.

But, low and behold, I received an email
from 'her' WITH PICS, stating this was THE BEST
chocolate cake they ever had and would
continue to make this cake forever - if they had an
egg allergy guest or not!  So then we HAD to try it.
We just HAD TO!   And so should YOU!
You will truly wonder why cakes need eggs at all
after you try this one!

2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 and 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2-4 oz. bars Bitter-Sweet Chocolate, chopped and melted
(we used Ghirardelli-60% Cacao)
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup water/Milk/Strong Coffee - optional, if frosting needs to be thinned

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Spray two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans
with non stick cooking spray.

2.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
in a medium sized bowl. Stir until mixed.  Set aside.

3.  Beat butter with both sugars in a large bowl,
using an electric mixer on medium for about 3 minutes.

4.   Add the applesauce in two additions, beating well -
scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Mix in the vinegar too. The mixture will look curdled but don’t worry.

5.  Beat in vanilla.

6.  Reduce speed and beat one third of flour mixture into the buttery mixture,
then add half the buttermilk.

7.  Repeat additions, scraping down sides until all is well mixed.

8.  Divide batter evenly between pans and
tap the pans lightly to remove air pockets if any.

9.  Bake on the center racks of your oven until a tooth pick inserted
in the center of cakes comes out clean, 25 to 30 min.

10.  Remove cakes/pans from the oven and place on a wire rack. 
***Free tip - immediately cover both cakes with a piece of wax paper. 
This will keep all of the moisture from evaporating out of your cakes. 
You're welcome! :) 

11.  Cool cakes in their cake pans on a rack for 8-10 minutes.

12.  Run a knife around inside edge of each pan
and then turn cakes out onto rack.

13.  Cover the exposed, bottoms of each cake
with another piece of wax paper.

14.  Let cool completely, about 1 hour. 
Or place in the fridge to speed up the process -
a process you will definitely be wanting to speed up!
This also will help firm up the cake a bit as it is a tad more fragile
than a cake baked with eggs. 
You can create the frosting while the cakes are cooling!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

1.  Beat butter for icing in a large bowl, using an electric mixer/hand beater
on medium, until creamy, 1 min.
2.  Add melted chocolate, vanilla, salt and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 minute.

3.  With mixer on medium-low, add remaining sugar in 3 parts,
alternating remaining liquids (milk and optional coffee) and ending with sugar.

4.  Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed,
until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

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When the cakes are all nice and ready to be frosted,
you can use a long, serrated knife (we used a bread knife)
to slice the 2 cakes into 4. 
Don't be scared, you can do it! 
Spread each layer with the yummy frosting, layering up as you go. 
Now grab a plate, put you a slice of this amazing cake on it 
and fill a big ol' glass with ice cold milk...and you might just have to go slap somebody,
it's THAT good!

*Disclaimer: Please do not go slap anybody...
unless they try to take your cake ;)

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