Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate cake turned Calahan Trifle

Many apologies for our short absence! I've been making a lot new recipes, but I haven't had any time to blog them (apparently having a five-month-old and full-time job are a bit time consuming - who knew?!).

Happy new year! And now, back to the recipes :)

Ahhhh, baking disasters. I know you well. But this time, I was not going to let a little blip in my plans get me down.

Before I tell you my sad story, let me enter in to evidence Exhibit A:

It was supposed to be a nice, moist chocolate cake. Actually, the "Best Chocolate Cake EVER."

Alas, it became part of a trifle, aka Exhibit B:

I really think this is one of those mistakes that worked to my advantage. Let me back up. My husband's mother and one of his nephews, Cal, were coming to visit when our daughter was about four weeks old. Cal's birthday was coming up, so I told them I'd make a birthday cake for him. We never get to celebrate his birthday with him, so it was nice to give him his present and a cake a few days before.

I searched a few of my bookmarked recipe sites for a moist chocolate cake recipe, and I came across "THE BEST Chocolate Cake EVER." I decided I had to see if it lived up to its name, so I purchased the ingredients and went to town.

I had such high hopes for this cake, and in the end, they fell flat. The hopes and the cake. The cake ended up being undercooked and gooey in the very middle, which would have been tasty and great (albeit not safe to consume, really) except it kept sinking ... and sinking ...

Finally, I decided the chocolate cake idea had to be scrapped. I had made some Oreo buttercream frosting, but this cake was not going to hold up to being frosted. As I sadly considered letting all of that deliciousness (as well as time and money) go to waste, I started to think about why the cake had been a huge flop.

Unlike many recipes, this one specifically  mentioned NOT to use sugar-free or fat-free versions of the chocolate pudding mix. That was all I had on hand, so I purchased some of the full-sugar, full-fat variety when I was at the grocery store. But I failed to use it, grabbing one of the sugar-free ones I had instead. Sigh. I think this was one of my major problems.

The other problem? I was using a single layer cake pan - it is convenient (less greasing! less dishes!), and I usually don't bake round cakes, so I don't think I have two size-matching layer cake pans. I used this one, which usually takes a little bit longer to bake a boxed cake mix. I added some time to the usual cooking time of 50-55 minutes, and the edges were starting to get *too* crispy, and when I put a toothpick in the center of the cake, it seemed like it was cooked and/or I was hitting spots of melted chocolate chips. I don't think I poked down far enough, and I'm not sure this cake was ideal to be cooking in the single layer pan - there is a lot of stuff to cook through!

I saved the edges of the cake, which were thoroughly cooked. In the end, the only thing that I really lost was the middle of the cake, where it was clear the cake hadn't cooked through.

This cake truly was delicious, and I didn't want to be birthday dessert-less or let the cake go to waste. So I started to brainstorm.

I took the crumbled up chocolate cake, made some chocolate pudding, bought some whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips cookies, as well as the leftover Oreos from the Oreo buttercream I had planned on using to frost the cake, and I layered them. Simple. Sophisticated. Delicious. Disaster-saving.

If you end up making this cake, let me know how it goes!

THE BEST Chocolate Cake EVER :D

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 package Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips

Kevin and Amanda's directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a VERY large bowl (4 qt), mix together everything except chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into cake pan of choice (I normally use two 9-inch pie pans).

For cooking time, I use the cooking times on the back of the devil’s food cake box as a guide and usually add 10 mins to whatever it says.

Then I do the toothpick check, and if it’s not done, I check on it every 5 mins after that. :) It usually takes around 45 mins for two, 9-inch pie pans.



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