Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Better Than Dating Chocolate Cake (Guest Post)

Today's post is provided by my good gal pal, Jenna! We met when working in the photo studio together over 5 years ago and since then have grown closer due to our shared love for baking, cooking, and well, let's be honest, eating. Though not a blogger herself, I decided she NEEDED to guest post on my blog this summer to share some of her yummy treats as well as her envy-inducing food photography skills so keep an eye out for more from Jenna as summer continues. 

You can also check out her photography work on Facebook or her website

So without further ado, here is Jenna with her "Better Than Dating Chocolate Cake"!
Hi Sara’s readers! I’m Jenna, one of Sara’s non-fashionable friends (she hides us from her social media, I think. Too many pants). I’m going to be sharing a few dessert recipes this summer that I’ve found and had to try. Sara suggested I share a little anecdote before the big unveiling of my recipe. Since I am not a blogger, or a writer, or a public sharer of any kind, this set me into a momentary panic mode. Lucky me, Sara was only a text away with inspiration:

Cake: better than dating.

For the last year and a half-ish, I have found myself in the unfamiliar territory of being vaguely single, stumbling all over the sliding scale of Single Person.  It’s been freeing and hilarious and fun, with a healthy amount of frustration and loneliness and WHY ME to round things out.

Just recently, I’ve jumped back into online dating, and oh God, there is nothing else in the world that will deflate your hope faster than Match.com’s personalized, daily picks. Why am I 100% compatible with someone 2 years younger than me with a username of ALwysHRD4u?

Once upon a time I thought there was more to love than this, but you can’t argue with the 100% compatibility match. That’s 2016’s version of soul mate material.

After a few real life dates and one immediate proposal of exclusivity (NOPE!), I’m back to square one, and apparently turning to my kitchen to welcomingly embrace my jaded spirit.

But today, my kitchen has a fluffy, moist chocolate cake, so that’s PERFECTLY OK.

And it even brought me flowers.

Anecdote over. I give you my Better than Dating Chocolate Cake!

Better Than Dating Chocolate Cake
Adapted from the NY Times

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker's)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder for dusting pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee (brewed and cooled to room temperature)
  • 1 teaspon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Ghirardeli semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (room temperature)
  • A handful of items found on your daily walk (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 2 to 3 quart pot, mix together the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1 cup of water
  2. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all ingredients are melted and blended (do not boil). Remove from heat and let cool slightly
  3. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (I combined these in my KitchenAid)
  4. In a small bowl, stir together milk, coffee, and vinegar
  5. Spray and dust 2 9" round cake pans with cocoa powder
  6. When the chocolate in the pot has cooled bit (about 15 minutes), whisk in the milk/coffee mixture and eggs
  7. In several additions, and without over-mixing, add the dry ingredients on low speed
  8. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice to blend
  9. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake on middle rack until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes
  10. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from pans and cool completely on a rack
  11. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips on the stove top in a pan over low heat (the original recipe calls for a double boiler but I found it wasn't necessary)
  12. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth
  13. When cake has cooled, frost bottom layer, plop the top on, and frost the rest of the cake
  14. Decorate to your heart's content with fresh fruit...or flowers...anything!
This was the first time I made this cake, and it did not disappoint. It was super moist, and the sour cream frosting had just the right amount of acidity to cut the richness of the cake. After having 3 square meals of cake in one day, I decided to share the remainder with my coworkers (it’s my secret move to retain job security). Thumbs up all around.