Monday, June 15, 2009

Ugliest Cake in the World

I have been baking up a storm lately - cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, all in the past few days. Since I'm usually only in the kitchen to hand Foodgoat his beer or to look for cheese in the fridge, this sudden outburst of baking can only mean one thing - I must be seriously depressed.

What could I be depressed about? Not GoatSpawn (who's a joy) ... not my job (still have one) ...

Must be the Cavs! A delayed reaction to another Cleveland sports team blowing their chance at the championships. Boo!

So, contemplating at least another year in this God-forsaken sports town, I've taken to baking.

Like Cleveland sports playoff games, the results have not always been so pretty:


This horrifying thing is a sourdough chocolate cake with my first attempt at a homemade frosting, which I was disturbed to find out was just butter and sugar. I feel like I should put a paper bag over it.



The cake itself turned out quite tasty, if a bit dry, with the sourdough flavor not quite as pronounced as you might think. The frosting was sweeeet, literally sweeeet, and so strongly coffee flavored it woke me up.

Not bad, but I like cupcakes better - the frosting/cake ratio there favors the cake and less the frosting. Less is more where frosting is concerned.

And as tasty as it is, it seems not even chocolate cake can relieve CSD (Cleveland sports depression).

Sourdough Chocolate Cake & Coffee Frosting
(from King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk (whole milk)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs


  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/8 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot water

1) Combine the "fed" starter, milk, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

2) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

3) In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder. The mixture will be grainy.

4) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5) Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour-milk mixture, stirring till smooth.

6) Pour the batter into pan.

7) Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool while you make the icing.

9) Sift the confectioners' sugar into a large mixing bowl, and set it aside.

10) In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buttermilk. Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water, add to the pan, and bring the mixture just to a boil.

11) Immediately pour the simmering liquid over the confectioners' sugar in the bowl, and beat till smooth.

12) Pour the warm frosting over the cake. Try to be neat. If unsuccessful, eat anyway.

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