I Wish My Brother George Was Here

I recently celebrated a birthday and was feeling peckish for chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake, really good chocolate cake. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks –  The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock and it’s amazing! The frosting, Poor Man’s Whipped Cream is my grandmother’s recipe, it’s light and just sweet enough, the perfect compliment to the richness of the cake.

Very Good Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup hot, double-strength brewed coffee
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325º.

2. Sift sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

3. Pour the hot coffee over the finely chopped chocolate, allowing it to melt.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, vanilla, and the coffee-chocolate mixture.

5. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients by thirds, stirring well after each addition until completely blended.

6. Divide batter into two greased and floured 9″ cake pans. Drop each cake pan once onto the counter from a height of 3 inches, to remove any large air pockets, which could cause holes or tunnels in the baked cake layers.

7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake springs back slightly when gently tapped in the center. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Poor Man’s Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons Crisco*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

1. Combine flour and milk in a saucepan, whisk over medium heat until very thick. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

2. Add vanilla to the flour and milk mixture.

3. Put butter, Crisco, and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip until light and fluffy, then add cooled flour mixture. 

*If you don’t want to use or don’t have Crisco – you may substitute an equal amount of butter for the shortening.

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