06 January 2013

A few days late, I bear cake

A belated happy 2013 to all--may it bring  you and yours laughter, opportunity, friends and whatever good things you wish for.

I know some of you have been wondering why my entries have become increasingly sporadic these past few months.  The last half of 2012 brought pervasive change.

While Hagia and Zeus are no longer padding around the house, two new companions have trotted in.  Those of you who follow my @cardamomaddict account know about Nigel and Rufus, but if you don't, here's a pic taken in October.

In the midst of those exits and entrances, my professional life has taken a twist, and I have hung out my shingle and started Peacock Blue Communications, where I help clients with the various stages and phases of planning and implementing strategic, integrated communications plans (think I can help you?  email me at jasmine{at}peacockblue{dot}ca and I'll be happy to chat with you).  I've been working with clients and networking (oh, the networking!) for the past few months.  I'm working on the website, but here's what I've got up right now at peacockblue.ca; you can also follow my PR, Social Media and issues/reputation management tweets at @pckblue.

While all of this was happening (and still is happening), I simply wasn't able to dedicate time to this space as I had done previously.  I've not been cooking as much as I had been, nor have I been exploring food and culture in ways I like, so I've not really had much to post about.  Retiring this blog crossed my mind.  But I'm a stubborn optimist who thinks that every hiatus is a brief one.

So while I'm not committing to fast and furious posting, I will keep this space alive, posting what I can, when I can.

While I've been mostly absent, I have had one constant these past couple of months...chocolate cake.  As my longer-term readers know, I pretty much lost my chocolate tooth a few years ago when my partner died.  Whereas my chocolate cravings haven't returned, this overwhelming craving for un-iced chocolate cake has taken hold.  I'm on my third cake (fourth, if you include brownies) and I think I've found a winner.

The recipe is from a long-neglected gift I received more than 10 years ago from Jo Walton (yes, that Jo Walton) who came to stay with me.  She knew I loved to cook and bake, and Cadbury's was (and still is) a favourite of mine, so she gave me a copy of The Complete Cadbury's Cookbook.  It's a lovely book, filled with chocolatey and cocoa-y merriments.  Why I don't cook from it more often, I don't know, but I think this recipe will become part of my regular repertoire

Devil's Food Cake

adapted from The Complete Cadbury's Cookbook (c) 1994

Yield: 1 20cm (8") cake

175g (300ml/scant 1.25c) plain flour (all purpose flour)
1tsp (5ml) baking powder
0.5tsp (2.5ml) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
50g (105ml/7Tbsp) cocoa powder
Boiling water
1 pinch salt
55g (60ml/0.25c) soft butter
60ml (0.25ml) flavourless oil
225g (280ml/1c +2Tbsp) dark brown sugar
2 eggs
80ml (0.33c) yoghurt

Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Grease and paper a high-sided 20cm (8") round cake pan (or two 20cm (8") regular or low sided pans). Set aside.

Seive together the flour, leavening agents and salt. Set aside.

Mix enough boiling water into the cocoa powder to make a soft, smooth paste. Set that aside too. 

Cream together the fats and sugar. Blend in the eggs. Mix the cocoa paste with the yoghurt and incorporate into the eggy-sugar mix.

Fold in the dry ingredients until the batter is uniform in colour and texture and you don't see streaks of unincorporated flour. Pour into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 35 minutes, or done.

The cake is done when an inserted skewer comes out cleanly, the cake has shrunk in at the sides a teeny bit (about 2mm/1/16th") and the top springs to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Ice, if you wish.

 I'm a quill for hire!