Sunday, June 29, 2008

Come visit me. . .

. . .I'll be posting at least twice a month on the LA Mom's Blog, a sister of the Silicon Valley Mom's Blog and similar blogs in other cities. I'm excited. Right now, the site is in "soft launch," that is, there are postings, etc., but the site has not yet had it's official launch. Stay tuned, and keep reading. I think my first piece will be posted tomorrow. Come and visit!

Friday, June 20, 2008

6-Minute Chocolate Cake

I know posting recipes isn't usually what I do (when I do do it at all), but this one is too good not to share. My kids were clamoring for dessert--a dessert "they" could make. Ideas were bounced around, including making popsicles and making a graham cracker house using Nutella as the mortar. Unfortunately, since we could not find a vital part of the popsicle mold and did not have any graham crackers, those ideas were quickly put to rest. (We pretty much always have Nutella, I am sorry to say).

Then, INSPIRATION! I remembered a quick chocolate cake recipe "we" could make. So quick, in fact, that digging out the recipe actually took longer than mixing the ingredients. This is a particularly good cake because it can be mixed in the pan (fewer dirty dishes!) and is made without dairy or eggs--satisfying at least a couple of dietary restrictions. The ingredients are simple ones that generally are already found around the kitchen.

I don't think the cake needs much garnishment. I tend to eat it plain or sprinkled with a little powdered sugar--which has nothing to do, of course, with my need for instant chocolate-cake gratification. However, for those who have a little more self-control than I do, and want to take the extra time to make the glaze, that part of the recipe is included as well. (Nutella makes a good frosting for this cake, too.) In the interest of full disclosure, I think I should tell you that the 6 minutes in the recipe name refers to the mixing time, not the total time it takes to make and bake the cake.

As a former intellectual property lawyer, I also feel compelled to credit Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home for this recipe. Someone from the Moosewood Collective (Mollie Katzen, maybe?), in turn, found it in a House and Garden magazine in 1976.

As for my kids, "we" quickly turned to "I," as they went off to play the Game of Life, leaving me to bake away in Real Life.

So, with no further ado, I give you:



1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water or brewed coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar (Yes, you read correctly--vinegar)


1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup hot water, milk or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar into an ungreased 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Set cake aside to cool, and if you choose to make the glaze, reset the oven for 300 degrees.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate in a small ovenproof bowl or heavy skillet in the oven for about 15 minutes. [I suspect you can use the microwave for this step]. Stir the hot liquid nd the vanilla into the chocolate until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Refrigerate glazed cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.