A friend sent me an email recently with the link to a column that had appeared in the NY Times. The writer recalled her years growing up and all the cooking that was done in her kitchen, and she explained that she now likes to spend her sleepless mornings baking in her own kitchen. If she's awake at 4am she gets up and comes to her kitchen to bake a cake or make muffins which she can enjoy at her table while she watches the sun come up.
That sounds like a fantasy life to me. If I could, I would spend every day baking and then eating my products. I would weigh a ton in no time at all. But what a fantasy that would be! I love the smell of freshly baked goods in my home and those heavenly scents are produced by the most wonderful recipes. One in particular is a chocolate cake which my Aunt Joan passed along to us from her German grandmother. It's best made by hand - with no mixer - because that produces the best texture. Each ingredient is added in turn and mixed well, then the whole thing is poured into a cake pan and baked, where it produces the most wonderful aroma known to man. I can still remember coming into my mother's kitchen from school and smelling that cake in the oven. Yum!
I offer here the coveted family recipe for anyone who wants to try it out for themselves. My only request is that you title it "Aunt Joan's Chocolate Cake" if you save it to your recipe box. I think she deserves all the credit!
Aunt Joan's Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 sticks of soft butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cake flour (regular can be used in a pinch!)
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I use pre-melted choco-bake)
1 cup boiling water with 1 tsp baking soda tossed in before it goes into the batter.
Bake at 320 degrees for about an hour in a 13x9 greased pan. Adjust for your own oven or different pan sizes. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean but don't overcook!
This cake is amazing still warm from the oven with buttercream frosting melting over it, or cooled and then iced with seven minute frosting - or try your own personal favorite! It's a "can't lose" recipe, I promise. And the aroma will stay with you for a long time.
Bake it today. You'll be so glad you did!