24 May 2011

On Chocolate Cake and Pecking Birds

Photos & ramblings from May 22nd, because a certain someone has requested more frequent updates on her favorite little person, and these represent a really happy day for me.

Dark Chocolate Cake - have you ever seen such a black cake?! I used the recipe on the back of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder as a rough guide, reducing the sugar significantly. The icing was the same cocoa powder, butter, some powdered sugar, and 2 cups of blueberries. Chad thought it tasted like biting into 72% dark chocolate, which is pretty much exactly the taste I was going for. No one has been able to taste the blueberries, but I can pretend that this is a healthy cake because it contains fruit :). I will definitely make this again.

Update: since so many people seem to be finding this page on Google, I'm including the recipe, as good as I can remember it. Enjoy!

Ingredients (my modification): 1c sugar, 1 3/4c all-purpose flour, 3/4c Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, 1 1/2tsp baking powder, 1 1/2tsp baking soda, 2 jumbo farm eggs, 1c skim milk, 1/2c vegetable oil, 2 capfuls vanilla extract (the real stuff), 1c boiling water.
Directions (simplified): mix the dry and the wet ingredients (minus the water) separately, then combine gradually, scraping the sides as you go. Then, add the boiling water. Batter will be thin. Pour into two 9in round pans with parchment paper on the bottom (essential). Bake 30-35min until toothpick comes out clean. Cool, remove from pan...keep safe from curious cats and small children...etc until it's time to frost. I frost my cakes as soon as they feel about room temperature because I am quite impatient.
Frosting: Cook down about 1c frozen blueberries until they thicken, then puree. Melt 1 stick of butter, then add 1 3/4c Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. Add blueberry puree and cook on low. Never stop stirring. Alternatively add powdered sugar and skim milk until you get the consistency you want. I probably had about 1/3c milk and about 1 1/4c powdered sugar...but don't quote me on that as I never end up measuring what I do for frosting. I also had about 1/3c cooked blueberries that weren't pureed that I added to the mix afterwards. These were the tiny, frozen wild blueberries that you can get from the freezer section. I've also done this recipe with fresh picked wild blueberries with similarly excellent results.

Aidan is proud of the mess he's made.

I had some blueberry "juice" left over from when I defrosted the blueberries. Aidan loved having his own "winebeer" juice.

It goes without saying that he needed a bath after that cake.

And Finally,

Dear Pecking Bird,
Why must you incessantly peck at my window all day long? Are you tormenting my cats, or do you really think that if you peck long and hard enough, that the glass will miraculously disappear? You had better be careful: while I find you amusing, my husband does not. Right now, I am the only thing standing in between you and his paintball gun. You've been warned.

We know where your wife and babies live.


  1. That cake does look soooo black! That would be a great retirement cake for my step-dad, since he's a mechanic and has spent the last 50 years of his life covered in grease! He retires in 5 weeks. Unfortunately, he hates dark chocolate. I was thinking of making a blue velvet cake, but I don't seem to have much luck with red velvet, so might wait until I've mastered the recipe. Do you have any good cake suggestions that I might not have tried before?

    Tell me about the birds! We've got swallows and housemartins nesting under the eaves and gutters and they drive me insane! The chicks never stop cheeping (and they have 2 broods!) and the mamas and papas divebomb us when we leave the house a little too loudly!

  2. You could always add more sugar and turn it into sweeter chocolate.

    Alternatively, what about German Chocolate? As I recall, that's pretty sweet. I don't have a good non-chocolate cake recipe yet. The one I used for the rainbow cake was much too sweet, even when I made it the second time and reduced the sugar. The best box mix I've found by far is Betty Crocker Butter Yellow.

    When all else fails, who doesn't love a NY style cheesecake? I have several variations I could share.

    You know the crappy thing about this is I didn't write down how I made this black cake. I hope I can replicate it!