Donna at Way More Homemade is hosting a baking carnival today. I don't do a lot of baking at the holidays, to be honest. The daughter, who is a much better baker, took over those responsibilities many years ago. But one family tradition is to bake a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day. It is usually a chocolate cake, because we all know Jesus probably likes chocolate best.
Back in the early days of our marriage when I wanted to impress my hubby with my mad cooking skilz (which were nonexistent by the way), I made everything from scratch. Then one time we were invited to dinner by another college couple. The hubby raved about her cake and said I HAD to get the recipe! It turned out to be a box mix. The cheap store brand box mix. Alrighty then.
So I used boxed mixes for many years. Then Ann Byrn came out with The Cake Doctor and revolutionized my life. Now I know Donna's whole blog is about life not being from a box. But this is BEYOND a box and so very, very good. And there are just times in life when you want something special but you don't have all afternoon to make it.
Or you want to bake a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day but you don't want to spend half the day in the kitchen. You'd rather be hangin' with the family. That's when you can use this recipe guilt-free :-)
DARN GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 pkg. plain devil's food or dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° Lightly mist a 9"x12" pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour. Set aside.
In large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water and oil and blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and increase speed to medium for another 2-3 minutes. Batter should be thick. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (until toothpick in center comes out clean). Allow cake to cool completely.
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I'm a fan of the simple, so some years our cake would get just a dusting of powdered sugar to make it look a little prettier. Other years the chocolate urge would overwhelm me and I would make a little chocolate ganache and pour over the cooled cake. Either way, it makes a great birthday cake for Jesus!
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake.
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In other news, we've ordered a mirror for the bathroom! We found a little place that sells glass for anything and everything and they also had a few mirrors in their display window. We're having them cut a mirror to the size we need and then add some lovely colored glass tiles around the edge to sort of "frame" it out. We can pick it up Friday. Woohoo! I'm planning to put my contacts in first thing. That's a task I have not been able to accomplish with my 6" mirror. One of those areas where I'm high maintenance -- I need a really BIG mirror so I can see as I hook one arm over my head to hold the other eye open while inserting that little piece of plastic into my optical organ.
We also found a stationary/art supply store selling Christmas things. We bought our ornaments for the year and they are so cute! You'll have to wait until Monday to see them though. Unless we get out into el campo this weekend, those ornaments may be able the only blog-worthy thing to photograph for BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. I will tell you that the colors perfectly match my living room curtains!
[Which by the way, I'm getting back to today. Hope to have the final three curtain panels sewn by tomorrow afternoon.]
And we received our first ticket. The bumper of the car did indeed look as if it was invading part of the curb painted yellow (not the car, just the bumper) once the nice pair of policemen pointed it out. Ugh. No idea how much it will cost, the hubby has to go before a judge. We parked there, excited to find an open spot, after moving from another block because -- although there were six cars parked there -- the sign said it was a no parking zone. I'd betcha that if we'd stayed in that no parking zone we wouldn't have had a problem. But being the law-abiding citizens we are, we moved to a legitimate parking space. And now we'll pay. For those few inches of bumper invasion. *sigh*