Monday, December 13, 2010

ScrumDIDDLYumptious - Part II

I've heard it called "Texas Sheet Cake."  Standing in the lunch line, me and my fellow teens referred to it as, "Wacky Cake" (don't ask me why).  I've taken the liberty of dubbing this similar creation, "Hot Cocoa Cake" simply because I used a box of special dark, hot cocoa mix to make the delicious, fudge like icing that topped this chocolatey indulgence.  So, whatever you choose to call it, it's most definitely worthy of the expression, "Ummmmm…" and an eyes closed sigh of satisfaction (especially when you enjoy it fresh out of the oven when the cake is still a little hot and the icing's a tad bit gooey).

Shopping List:
non-stick cooking spray
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1 c. strong brewed coffee or water
1/4 c. dark, unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c. buttermilk*
1 ripe banana (egg substitute)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 c. canola oil
8 packets special dark, hot cocoa mix (1 box)
1/4 c. milk
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

large mixing bowl
heavy saucepan
electric mixer
11' x 17 1/2' pan (standard size cookie sheet)

Preparation:  Combine flour and sugar in large mixing bowl.  In saucepan combine oil, shortening, coffee or water (I chose a strong Kona/Columbian blend for mine that was oh so nice), and cocoa.  Stir and heat to boiling.  Pour into mixing bowl.  Add buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.  Mash up banana and add to mixture.  Mix everything together with electric mixer on high speed.  Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray then pour batter into it.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick tested in center comes out clean.  While brownies bake, prepare frosting.  Combine canola oil, milk,  and empty all contents of hot cocoa packets into a saucepan  (I used the same saucepan as above for less clean up) and heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla (add more milk if needed) and stir for smooth consistency.  Pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven.

Conventional recipes will tell you to let this cool and then cut it into however many bars your little heart desires.  I am of the mindset though that there's nothing quite so wonderful as enjoying a warm piece of cake or cookie right as it's come out of the oven.

As I mentioned previously, once the icing does have a chance to fully cool, it takes on a wonderfully fudge like quality which I'm quite a fan of too.

To be honest, I don't really no how much more delicious this recipe is compared to the original which, instead of hot cocoa packets in the icing just calls for 2 Tbsp. dark, unsweetened cocoa.  But, using the hot cocoa mix felt special.  I wanted to try it.  So, I did.

The result was a pleasing little piece of heaven that seemed just that much more befitting of the Christmas season which, for me, is inextricably intertwined with Hot Cocoa consumption.

So whether you make this dish just to love on yourself or for a group of friends who are absolutely not skipping dessert, I hope this brings a smile to your face and warmth to your home.

Merry Christmas,

*For an easy buttermilk solution, combine 1/2 c. of a milk alternative (rice, soy, or almond all do great) + 2 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice.  Combine and let stand for at least 5 minutes while you prep other ingredients.

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