I come from a long line of bakers or “sweet tooths” as my mother used to say.
As long as there was butter, sugar and eggs in the house, we always had something sweet.
I can’t think of anything more delightful than making sweets. To this day when I put on one of my many vintage aprons, I am instantly transported to the sweet smells of my grandmother’s kitchen and my favorite blue apron.
When we were young, every summer my parents would pack up my sister Natalie and I and Max, our dog, in the station wagon to drive across country from Los Angeles to “down south” Alabama for the family vacation. I can still recall how excited I would get to dig through her kitchen drawers to pick out one of her perfectly ironed aprons. I knew that meant we were about to do some serious baking for family and friends.
I had never seen cakes like the ones my grandmother used to make. All of the bakeries that I visited back home made fancy cakes, but Grandma Hanna’s homespun cakes were beautiful, moist, and delicious.
This is the very first cake that I learned to bake and I still make it at the bakery today. Learning to bake from scratch, she would say, is a life lesson of patience and perfection. Beginning with the process of gathering all of the ingredients, letting them come up to room temperature, measuring precisely, and mixing it with loving hands is what gives it the perfect texture rather than a tough cake. I loved watching her beat the batter by hand in a big ceramic bowl. I can still recall having to count the many turns of the big wooden spoon.
I suppose there is a certain mystique that comes with baking, but with a few simple techniques and the proper tools, it is the most comforting way to spend an afternoon. I always love reaching into the pantry for just a few simple ingredients, and in just a short time enjoying delicious homemade treats that create comfort and joy.
Chocolate Heaven Cake
Yield: 12 big slices of heaven
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
4 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup oil
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups strong, fresh brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of three 9” cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl place chocolate and pour hot coffee and vanilla.
Let stand about 2 minutes to melt the chocolate then stir until smooth.
ln another bowl whisk together eggs and oil until well blended and light in color. Whisk in sour cream, then melted chocolate mixture.
Add chocolate sour cream mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed while gradually adding in thirds. Mix until just until incorporated scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill prepared pans two thirds full. Bake cakes 40-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool then decorate as desired.
Chocolate Heaven Frosting
3 sticks unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 TBL milk
1 teaspoons vanilla
9 ounces melted semi sweet chocolate
2 1/2 to 3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
Mix butter and milk until smooth and creamy
Add vanilla just until incorporated
Add melted chocolate until completely mixed
Gradually add sugar until you reach the consistency of frosting.
i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above?
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am
Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am
I WISH I COULD COOK.
COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER?
I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE.
YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE.
19 SPENCER WAY
KINGS PARK, NY 11754
HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am
You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm
Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition.
Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm