Post # 28 Jennifer’s Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake

August 2, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A few months ago, I was “talking” with my neice Jennifer online (via Facebook.)  Jenn and I are great friends apart from being related and sharing a birthday.  It had been a while since we had talked so the conversation was pretty far ranging.  During the course of the discussion, she asked me if I remembered the simple chocolate cake my mother used to make in a square pan.  I knew exactly which cake she was talking about.  It was simple, fast, and delicious.  I hadn’t seen that recipe in years, and it was one that had been lost to a head injury I sustained a few years ago.  She couldn’t find it either, and her mom, my brother’s first wife, couldn’t locate it anywhere.  We were sad because it was a great cake, but also because we’d lost a small part of our family history.

I’m an electronic hoarder.  I’ve worked with computers for nearly thirty years.  Matter of fact, I used to have a computer set up in the living room when Jenn and her older brother Timmy were very young.  They were under strict orders not to touch the computer unless I was there to watch them.  I’d get home from work and holler “Who’s been touching my computer?”  Both of them would avow no knowledge of the incident(s) and I’d ask, “Then why is there peanut butter on the keyboard?”

I have computer files that go back decades located on CDs, external hard drives, etc.  Periodically, I review what I’ve got and try to organize them.  I’ve got old stories I’ve written.  I’ve got recipes that are copies from older records, or scanned from old magazines.  I’ve got pictures from countries that no longer exist in today’s political climate.  I’ve got stuff I can’t even identify.  I’ve got drives I can’t even get into because they require power cords that don’t exist.  I can’t bear to throw out a computer disk or device because that one gem, that pearl of knowledge might be there.

My mom’s choclate cake was a masterpiece of simplicity.  In five minutes, that cake could be in the oven.  It was so versatile that you could do almost anything to it.  I’m sure that it’s a recipe that she memorized from a magazine, but the actual history of the cake is known only to whoever spins the universe.  Since it was in mom’s head, I know she changed it to whatever circumstance she had.  I know one time she made it with hot chocolate mix because she had no cocoa handy.  That added marshmallows to it and turned it into a rocky road kind of thing.  One time, I made it and accidentally bumped one of the burner switches on her electric stove.

“Mmmm, what’s that?” she asked smelling chocolate permeate the house.

“I made the chocolate cake” I replied.  Shortly we smelled scorched chocolate.  I was puzzled and went to investigate and discovered the problem.

No worries.  I cleaned out the pan while laughing and had another ready in an hour.

Sometimes we added a package of chocolate pudding to make it denser.  Sometimes we frosted it with crushed fruit.  Sometimes we added nuts and under-baked it and gave it a brownie consistency.  You have to be very careful with that because you want to be certain the cake batter doesn’t turn to liquid.

It’s a great cake.  It’s a very simple, humble, reliable, versatile cake that will quickly become a staple in your repertoir.  Learn this recipe and experiment and make it your own.  Add cinnamon and it becomes an entirely different cake.  Be creative; have fun!

So Jenn, look to the right.  With all my love!  Enjoy!!!!

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