I suppose chocolate cake is one of those things that, barring an allergy or something, everyone craves now and then. Around this house, Handsome requests it infrequently because it is so very, very rich. When he does, though, it is with much insistence. And it is a request that can only be filled with one recipe. Never a boxed mix, and never with any deviations. We had it this weekend to kick off his birthday week celebrations, and it was a grand success. : )
In addition to my man's great appreciation of this recipe, which is enough to get me fixing it any time, we discovered early in our marriage that each of our families had been preparing it for generations! This particular chocolate cake is one of the precious things that we held in common between our unique childhoods. That makes it double special. Triple special. Quadruple special.
My Momma got it from my Grandma, who I think received it from her mother in law. Handsome's Grandma Goldie made it all throughout his childhood, some say using cooked brown beans, a trick I have GOT to figure out, and I can only imagine how many generations back her cooking traditions stretch. She was a beloved woman and famed home cook.
Here it is.
First, if you don't have buttermilk, make some. To one tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice, add enough whole milk to make a cup, and do try to measure better than I did. Let it sit while you do other awesome kitchen stuff, so it will thicken up. Presto, pretend buttermilk. You're ready for the rest.
Batter: Make this in three parts.
Whisk together 2 cups each of flour and sugar.
In a saucepan, boil together these things:
2 sticks butter
3 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
Then add that to the dry mixture and also add these things:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir it with a wooden spoon till really really really smooth and satiny and gorgeous.
Pour this chocolaty blend into a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
About ten minutes in, which is also ten minutes before the cake comes out, because ten is halfway between zero and twenty, prepare the fudge topping:
Sift a pound of confectioner's sugar, which is about 4 cups. Mom pointed out that sifting is key because otherwise you might have a hard time getting the final fudge mixture smooth enough. She's right. Thanks Mom! xoxo
Using the same pan as earlier, no need to wash it, cook these things:
1 stick butter
3 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
Cook the fudge just to the boiling point. Then remove from heat and add to a heat proof bowl of sifted powdered sugar. Stir it like there's no tomorrow and do not count the number of times that you absolutely must lick your fingers.
Now pour the hot, sugary fudge over the hot cake, tilt or spread it gently around, and let it relax at room temperature.
The final product should present a beautiful, shiny skin that is almost juicy when you sink your teeth into it. This incomparable cake is super served with french vanilla ice cream and also incredible served cold. Not too shabby when nibbled on the sly in the middle of the night, just walking by.
How good does your house smell now? You are welcome, and see you at the gym, baby.
Happy Birthday Week to Handsome!