I am by no means a hoarder! I do, however, want to save things, having difficulty at times parting with ingredients. And by ingredients I mean... olive oils, vinegars, decorative sugars, and exceptional sprinkles. You understand, don't you? If I use them, they'll be gone. I know. It's a rather warped way of thinking, but that's just me... (Savory Rosemary-Olive Shortbreads that were never eaten).
This has recently been the case with a little jar of small, pastel sugar beads that my daughter purchased in Paris last summer. The jar has been setting on a shelf in my kitchen where I can look at it, and admire it daily. But the questions eventually began... "Why haven't you used the sprinkles?... "Don't you like the sprinkles?"... "When do we get a dessert with the sprinkles?" I caved. Yesterday I made an easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting that followed a big platter of beef and vegetable stir-fry. As you can see in the jar above, there are enough sprinkles (whew!) for another future dessert. No worries.
After dinner, my other daughter sent me this photo she took yesterday afternoon in downtown St. Paul. It reminds me of my sprinkles! I love it!
This easy chocolate cake goes together quickly. The ingredients are mixed right in the baking pan. If you want to serve the cake out of the pan, do as I did, and line the bottom of the pan and up two sides with parchment paper which makes for easy removal. There is more than enough frosting for the top and all four sides.
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 6 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup cool water
• 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* The cake ingredients are mixed in an ungreased baking pan. If you want to unmold the cake from the pan for serving, lightly butter the pan and line the bottom and up two sides with parchment paper.
1. PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F
2. Sift the flour into an ungreased 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan. (All I had available was a 9-inch x 9-inch which works just fine.) In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the flour mixture and using a fork, gently stir all of the dry ingredients until evenly combined.
3. With the back of a spoon, make 3 indentations in the flour mixture -- small, medium, and large. Add the canola oil to the large, the vinegar to the medium, and the vanilla to the small. Pour the water over everything. Using a fork, gently stir together the ingredients. You want to be sure to get into the corners of the pan and distribute the liquid equally throughout. Do not beat the batter (and if the pan is lined with parchment take care not to rip it), but you do want most of the lumps smoothed out and no patches of too thick or too runny batter.
4. When all of the ingredients are evenly combined, transfer the pan to the middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely -- especially if unmolding.
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the milk. Stir in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract, followed by the remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar; mix well. Add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to achieve desired spreading consistency.
6. Frost the top of the cake if left in the pan. If you choose to unmold the cake, frost the four sides as well.
TAKE a LOOK: