DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

26 February 2013

The best moist chocolate cake recipe

I'm going a bit bonkers. I woke up an hour ago, felt that I'd had a very restful sleep, lay there for a few minutes listening to the rain and got up. I had no idea what time it was but I didn't want to be late this morning, I have to go out later and have a few things to do before I go. I looked at the bedside clock in the darkness, it was 4.45. Damn, I'd slept in. Quietly I went into the bathroom, dressed and came to the computer to finish my blog. When sat down here, I looked at the clock, it was 1.50 am! I debated whether to go back to bed or not, so here I am up and wide awake two hours early.


I have an easy, frugal, vegetarian recipe for you today - stuffed sweet potato. It's delicious and I'm guesstimating that it cost less than four dollars to make for two people.

Start off by peeling the sweet potato and cutting them lengthwise - you want a larger piece and a small piece, about 2/3 and 1/3. Spray lightly with olive oil. Put them in an oven-proof dish and bake until they're just cooked, about 20 minutes.


When they're cooked, allow them to cool down enough for you to handle them and scoop out the middle of the larger piece, leaving nice, sturdy potato boats that will hold the filling. Add the smaller piece to the filling and mash it all together with a small knob of butter.



Have a look in the fridge and see what aged vegetables you have in there. If it's all fresh, that's even better. Take out what you want to use, chop it all up finely and mash it in with the sweet potato middles. I used red onion, celery, capsicum and corn. If you have people who just can't eat a meal without meat, add a small amount of cooked bacon or finely chopped chorizo. Pile the stuffing into the sweet potato boats, add a sprinkling of grated cheese and bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the cheese melted.

THE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE
Just so you're well aware that it's not all angels, love hearts and sweetness in my kitchen, here (below) is the beginning of the ugliest cake I've ever made. I made this on the same day I make my last batch of butter and cultured butter and I used the buttermilk as the liquid element in the cake. This is the recipe I used, the only change I made was I halved the sugar portion. I find North American recipes are far too sweet for my taste and even with one cup of sugar it was sweet enough. As you can see in the photo below, it looked good when the batter was poured into the cake tin.




When it was baked, there was a weird volcano-like lump on the top corner. Ahem. I thought I had some cream in the fridge, I didn't, so after I sliced the top off, I spread it thinly with some of the just made cultured butter and topped that with a spread of cherry jam. Finally, I iced it with a frosting made with icing sugar, cocoa, and the last of the buttermilk.

It was absolutely the worst looking cake I've ever made. 

It sat on the kitchen bench for a couple of hours and then we had a cup of tea and sliced off two portions. No matter what it looked like, we had to eat it. It was without doubt, the best chocolate cake I've . ever . tasted . in . my . life. The cake was richly moist and very chocolately, it wasn't too sweet and for some reason, the hodge-podge of fillings and frosting worked very well. It stayed moist for the four days it took us and our visitors to demolish it. I wish I had taken a photo of it when it was iced and ready to eat. It looked really terrible! Just goes to show that you can't judge a book by the cover. This recipe is now written out in long-hand in my Real Food recipe book. I encourage you to try it and I hope it looks better than mine did. My thanks to Jennifer at Foodess for sharing her recipe.


44 comments:

  1. I really want a slice of chocolate cake now!

    I was thinking of you today as there is an article on the BBC website here in the UK about the boom in Australia and the growing cost of living - an Australian woman who has lived in the UK for years has gone back to Australia and found that they were selling limes for the equivalent of £1.50 each, $2.25 your money I think! She was talking about how scandalous it is - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21519050

    I know a lot of UK folk are heading over to Austalia from the UK at the moment in search of better jobs etc, and the salaries look tempting, but is the cost of living really that high???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jules, I read that article yesterday when Kath in Northern Ireland sent it to me. Thanks Kath! Interesting. Rent and house prices are crazy here now and sometimes I wonder how younger people get into their own homes. When I was younger, in the 1970s, I used to live in the harbourside working class suburb of Balmain. Then it was inhabited by students and older people who had lived their whole lives there. I clearly remember terrace houses then cost $19,000. Now those same gentrified houses sell for $3 million. It's crazy. If you own your own home it is possible to live cheaply here, particularly if you grow some, or all, of your own food. But paying rent or a mortgage and buying everything you need spikes the cost of living incredibly. If you have children and add the cost of child care, it adds incredible stress to many young lives. The government here keeps telling us we've never had it so good and maybe big business is riding high, but many families are suffering.

      Delete
  2. If it is not too personal a question, why do you get up so early?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DC, when I first started blogging, I had so many things to do during the day, I could only blog if I got up early. Now I'm used to early mornings and enjoy the quietness of an early start. The day is at its best when the sun rises.

      Delete
    2. Ha! That was my first question too... Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to such torture if they didn't have to? Then I re-read the first few sentences. "I...felt that I'd had a very restful sleep..."

      Suddenly it dawned on me... maybe this is the difference between morning people and night people. Maybe morning people actually wake up feeling rested and awake. This is an experience I've never had. I generally wake up feeling much more tired and exhausted than when I went to bed... it's only after I've been up for an hour or two that I start to feel human again.

      Totally not the point of this post, I know, but it's got me wondering...

      Anyhow, it just so happens that I bought a few sweet potatoes at the store the other day, having no idea what I'd do with them - I think I know now!

      Delete
    3. I usually go to sleep exhausted and almost always wake up refreshed. I cannot function when I feel tired.

      Delete
    4. Hmmm... very, very interesting. I'd always assumed that morning people just had some super-human ability to push through the morning exhaustion - well... that plus a highly functional "off switch" that allowed them to fall asleep during what is (for me at least) the time of day when I feel most awake. It really makes me wonder if there isn't some actual physiological difference between "morning larks" and "night owls."

      Delete
    5. I think there is a difference between morning and night people. Like you, I think it's psychological because before my children were born, I was a night person. I changed that habit when I had to get up early for them.

      Delete
    6. WHAT ABOUT THE CAKE????? Who cares why some people get up early....I want to know if you sleepy heads made the cake and how it scored? Looking on line is bad enough......to hunt through emails about sleep patterns was not what I was looking for lol I want a cake.....now....I'll go ahead and make it....and tell you how it came out! lol

      Anyone tell me it was great?

      Delete
  3. Mmmmm...Chocolate Cake! I live in the U.S. and find I have to cut back on sugar in most recipes. I don't know why that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I first got onto the internet n 2003, I loved to print off recipes from American websites. When I cooked / baked them I found they were way too sweet bordering on mouth burning. I now reduce the sugar by half or a third.

      Delete
  4. Hi Rhonda,
    thank you for both recipes. I am so glad the cake didn't taste as it looks ; ) Mine have looked worse though I can say !!
    I am blogging again and it is so nice to read your posts.
    I have had surgery in November. Both thyroid halves were removed and I was diagnozed with Hashimoto disease and uptil now I didn't have much energy, but that is slowly coming back and so is my inspiration to make things myself again. You sure help getting in the mood to bake and cook ; )
    Have a great day and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to read you've been unwell, Monique. It's good that you're feeling a little better now. Take care, love.

      Delete
    2. Good morning Rhonda,

      Thank you for your comments on this chocolate cake. I had printed it off Foodess' site, but hadn't yet made it. My husband has terrible sleep patterns, short sleeps interspersed by long periods of wakefulness so he rarely wakes refreshed poor thing. Perhaps I should get him to start a blog - then he could type away while I slumber on.

      To Monique Elisabeth, you have just made my day; I had a total thyroidectomy and neck dissection early in January due to a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, and am struggling with the recovery, so your comment about a slow return to energy is giving me a light at the end of the tunnel - thank you!

      Delete
    3. Morning Barb, I'm so sorry to read you're unwell too and not at your best. I hope your recovery mirrors Monique's and that soon you'll be feeling much better. Take care.

      Delete
  5. I made this cake too and it was the best chocolate cake iv ever made. I'm American and mos of my cakes turn out like that. Next time I'll cutthe sugar in half too. I though of it but didn't want to mess it up for company. I madethe icing too. With our company, it was eaten in seconds with everyone raving over it. I also made her lemon recipe with her grandma story, it's a keeper too. I only had limes and it tasted great! It was beyond good. Thank you for her link. I'll be trying more recipes of hers soon! Lori

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's just so funny, the cake I mean, but what the heck, it tasted great and everyone loved it, I must give it a go.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your posting made me laugh today. I guess it proves my husband right that as long as it tastes good who cares what it looks like? I always tell him that I care and I want it to be perfect. Darn, now I want chocolate cake. lol. I agree with you that 2 cups of sugar seems to be really excessive.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh if you think that's ugly, you should see some of the cakes I've made in my time, lol. I often reduce sugar in US recipes (especially pickles) but in cake, the sugar acts as a humectant (moisture attracter/locker upper) to create a lasting moistness or fudginess, so I tend to leave well alone

    For visitors to Oz, a reminder that limes (see Jules' comment above)are seasonal and occassionally expensive (in most of Australia, citrus are winter harvested fruit). I'm currently buying them in bags of 6 for $4, much cheaper. Having lived in both US and UK, I missed much of the seasonality of fruit and veg as they seemed to be more used to having things flown in from all over the world as a matter of course (or maybe that's an urban Vs country thing - I don't know). Mangoes from Brazil in the depths of a London winter.

    ReplyDelete
  9. to stop a cake opening up during cooking lower the oven temp. If the oven is to hot it causes that to happen. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great recipes. Thank you, Rhonda. I want to try them both!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I always cut way down on the sugar in recipes, too. Those sweet potato boats looks awesome. I have two sweet potatoes sitting here, so guess what I'll be making soon? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oooh that cake looks so moreish on the actual blog it came from... yours looked nice too Rhonda, but I bet it did taste nicer than it appeared :) I'm having some family over for afternoon tea this Saturday, I think that's a good enough excuse to try the cake recipe ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yumm, we are all big fans of chocolate cake in this house. On a totally unrelated note, how do you know when a pumpkin is ready for picking?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pumpkins will feel heavy and the vine they're attached to will go brown. When that happens, cut them off the vine, leaving a 4 - 6 inch long piece of stem attached to the pumpkin. Leave them outside, out of the weather, to harden off.

      Delete
  14. I saw that cake recipe in your weekend reading last Friday, and as it was conveniently my birthday on the weekend, I pointed my teenage son towards it. Wow!
    It was unanimously voted the best chocolate cake ever - easy, really moist (even on the second day) and made with pantry ingredients. No complaints about it being too sweet from my boys!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Rhonda, I laughed out loud when I read your "Damn, I'd slept in". Just the way I'd feel if I overslept. I'm mostly a morning person, but not as early a riser as you are! My husband gets up very, very early and I usually go back to sleep for a while, but if I sleep too long, I'm sluggish all day.

    That chocolate cake looks ...to...die...for... Can't wait to try it. Just last week I made double chocolate (cocoa and chocolate chips) zuchinni bread with walnuts. The bread was dark like your cake and very moist. Later this week I'll try your sweet potato dish. We eat a lot of sweet potatoes, but I usually just bake them and put a little butter on them while they're hot.

    When I was a child, my mother would bake up eight or ten sweet potatoes (there were four of us, including my parents). She would lay the extras in a pan on the back of the stove. What a great treat it was to come home from school, grab a cold, sticky sweet potato, peel it and eat it like an ice cream cone. A much better snack than chips or cookies. I haven't thought of that for a very long time, so I think I'll bake extras this week for snacks! There's just my husband and me now, though - no kids to eat them in the afternoon.

    Diane in North Carolina

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've never understood why some cakes volcano and other cakes turn into the grand canyon. It's just cosmetic after all, and they generally taste awesome. I love a good chocolate cake recipe. I do find i have to be cautious with recipes from America, as their cup and tablespoon measurements are different to Australia. That can also have an affect on the balance in a recipe. Just something to watch out for :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Rhonda, hope this lot of rain isn't doing too much damage up there.

    Sorry to be off subject...but a friends house caught fire last week,2 rooms with burn damage but the rest of the house has heat and smoke damage....end result, whole house will be gutted back to the frame and maybe some of the furniture can be cleaned and saved, everything else has to go.

    PLEASE EVERYONE...check your building and contents insurance amounts and upgrade if needed.I sat down and costed replacing everything, room by room,I live pretty simply, but the cost of replacment is mindblowing.It has taken years of buying on sale, at garage sales and thrift shops to get what I need,but when you are suddenly left with nothing, the insurance might not cover mostly new purchasing.
    Things like... Books, cookery books, music CD's,craft supplies(wooow), clothes, linen and bedding (yikes), everything electrical(OMG) it adds up to big bucks really fast.
    It will take MANY months till they can move back in and until then they will be concerned about the insurance amount covering all that is needed.

    Sorry to bring you all down from Awesome chocolate cake, but please check your figures.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've been craving a moist chocolate cake, can't wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe. There was a full moon in Texas last night - maybe that's why you were up early. I got up at 2:30 am and went back to bed at 4. The two hours of sleep I got after that were wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Gosh, i have two sweet potatoes sitting at home and i know what's on tonight's menu now. Thanks for the suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  20. that's it! tomorrow i am going to make cake :) after the week we've had i reckon we deserve it! (we got hit by that terrible cyclone-like storm, that left us flooded, isolated and with 130 km/hr winds blowing massive trees out by their roots... we had no power, running water, phone or mobile phones for 3 days... it was really horrible and are now doing the massive cleaning up job!) so right now cake sounds great! oh and can it please stop raining now?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great recipe and will give it a try next week. This morning I made a lovely chocolate cake with zucchini. I think a big part of the success is owed to the dutch cocoa powder that our aunt gave us in a food hamper at Christmas time. It is divine.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Melinda
    I too had a house fire a couple of years ago and did not have any house contents though did have building insurance. The thought was everything was getting pretty old and were planning an interstate move and buy new stuff then. Fortunately we are people who don't need new stuff so went about buying everything second hand but in many cases not very old. The only thing we bought new was my husbands' media/television system. This made the cost obtainable and we then set about having contents insurance. We had been insured for about 28 years and only a couple of uninsured, even though a lesson learnt, most possessions can be replaced.
    Presentation isn't always everything and it is amazing what icing/frosting can do for a cake.
    Regards
    Melinda Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
  23. It certainly looks good on Foodess and I'm glad yours ate well too! I've printed off the recipe to try another day. Thanks for sharing and letting us know that flops can taste good too.

    Cheers - Joolz

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing this. I tried your ginger fizz recipe last week as an alternative drink at my husband's birthday dinner-people were almost exclusively drinking it and loving it. (mixed with mineral water)The store bought fruit juices remained nearly untouched. Thank you for ginger fizz-love it!
    greetings, Bettina from Germany

    ReplyDelete
  25. That looks SO GOOD...volcano and all. I've been avoiding sweets and chocolate for nearly two months now but I think that chocoholism stays with you for life ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh, these look like lovely recipes - thank you for sharing! I have made a few volcano cakes - it's so disappointing when they come out like that but how thrilling that yours tasted to delicious. Will be making this soon!
    I love getting up early - I am usually at my most productive first thing. Mind you, your day started even too early for me :-) Kirsten x

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh Rhonda, I do love your blog, but today, you may have created a monster by linking to the Foodess blog! Oh me, oh my, not only that chocolate cake (which is just in time for us as DD and I were planning on making chocolate cupcakes after school), but the other chomptastic stuff on there. Droolsome!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Made the chocolate cake in two 9" pans using oat flour so my granddaughter could have it. Wow! It was wonderful! Used sour cherry preserves on top and then a chocolate glaze. Thanks for sharing the site for the recipe. My family loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is such a delightful and mouthwatering post, Rhonda.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Big call and it certainly seems to live up to it!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Rhonda,

    I made this cake last night for my family upon reading your experience with both making and eating it. It's a fantastic cake! Thanks for blogging about it.

    I really enjoy your philosophies and way of life. I look forward to one day being as "set up" and organised as yourself and Hanno.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This indeed is a great chocolate recipe!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...