I’m making preparations for the birthday fete.
There will be cake, mussels, and a bonfire.
Perhaps you would like the recipe for the best birthday cake in the world? Oh, okay.
Chocolate Dump-It Cake
Adapted from Judith Hesser
By AMANDA HESSER
2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups Nestle’s semisweet-chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack to catch any drips as the cake bakes on the middle rack. In a 2- to 3-quart pot, mix together the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan.
When the chocolate in the pot has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions, and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky — if someone is around to help, enlist him.) Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. Stir in the sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have 2 layers. There will be extra icing whether you have 1 or 2 layers. My mother always uses it to make flowers on top. She makes a small rosette, or button, then uses toasted slices of almond as the petals, pushing them in around the base of the rosette.
You are welcome.
As there will possibly be 10 people at my party, I am seriously considering having another cake as well — this cake is pretty exceptional the next day, too, so I want there to be leftovers. I’m thinking maybe a peach cobbler. Somemores?
Then — maybe a salmon, with potato salad, lentil salad and roasted vegetables or a green salad?
Fancy cocktails? (I went out for dinner with an old friend last night and we drank fancy cocktails which were pretty delicious. We sampled 4.)
It has to be easy — well, we’ve discussed that already. I still have not picked the hike, but there’s still time.