I need to preface this post by admitting something.
I'm not overly fond of chocolate.
Especially chocolate CAKE. Given the choice between chocolate cake and eating vegetables, I'd pick the vegetables, any day. I don't know why, exactly. Most chocolate cakes seem dry to me. I really don't get it, honestly. I've never had a really GOOD chocolate cake. On the flip side, I'd cut a bitch for a good piece of lemon, yellow, or strawberry cake. CUT. A. BITCH.
Now, let me veer slightly off topic for a moment. It will all end up making sense, trust me. Holidays are not fussy in our family. As kids, we definitely looked forward to Giftmas, but my family has very few hard and fast traditions that we stick to. We aren't church folk, although I do remember a creche in fine bone china and a less than rustic wooden stable that my mother would set up on a table in the living room by the tree. Our holidays were mostly about FOOD, with a hefty serving of football (Da Bears), and a lot of lazing around the house. Especially as we grew older.
And there again, my family is not the typical Norman Rockwell holiday meal painting either. My FATHER was the cook in our house. Especially anything related to a turkey. Oyster dressing, green bean casserole, a ginormous turkey, a vat of mashed potatoes, another vat of homemade turkey gravy...these are the delicious memories I have of the holidays. These are the traditions that we carry forward. My brother and I, strict disciples of my father's kitchen ways, are hell bent on continuing these lovely meals, even as my father's interest has waned, probably because of low energy levels as he becomes more and more disabled.
My brother works management in retail, however, at a large international chain that is a huge draw on "black friday's", and we have therefor had to adapt our Thankfoodsgiving tradition to accommodate him. I'm glad to do it. I know that it's way more fun to cook WITH my brother, and he's a whole hell of a lot more fun after the stress of one of the busiest shopping days is behind him. In past years, I've had most of it ready, and when he comes over on Saturday or Sunday, we get down with the eating. This year, the meal will be at his house, and I plan on going over there early to start the turkey at his house, and prepping as much as i can here at my house.
Trying to find my own niche in the mastery of this holiday meal, I've started trying to come up with some desserts that I can make to wow my family. Past years have involved cheesecakes and pecan pies. I've had some mixed results, honestly. One of the things I've realized is that practice makes perfect. So this year I plan to do just that. Practice.
Today was trial run ONE, something called a wacky cake. Several online friends have pointed me to this recipe, raving about the simplicity/yummy ratio. I was hesitant immediately. CHOCOLATE.
Apparently, this is a cake made during WWII, with few and simple ingredients, and with NO EGGS, something hard to find for many a mother desperate for chocolate, for cake, and for giving their kids something good for tea. That part of the story appealed to me immediately, even over my whole dislike for the main ingredient.
Here is the recipe that I used, although I admit that I doubled the cocoa, on the advise of a friend. Also, knowing that Rob really likes chocolate cake, he deserves a treat. He's been working a LOT of 12 hour shifts, and he's tired and grumpy and short tempered. It WAS very easy to put together. It makes a rather small cake, only 8x8, so that is something for me to consider for the holiday. It bakes rather quickly, and it looks very impressive coming out of the oven, all risen and chocolatey. I did the whole toothpick to check for doneness thing, and while it passed at that time, after I cut into it, it was still not done in spots, which was disappointing.
I sprinkled some powdered sugar on the top, as suggested, although if I make it again, I'll probably frost it, or do something with melted chocolate or cherries.
Taste wise, I wasn't completely impressed, but I think I missed the frosting. But you have to remember, I don't like chocolate cake. It was okay for chocolate cake. Which might just translate into AMAZING chocolate cake to a chocolate lover. I'm sure Rob will have an opinion, and I might update after he gets home from work and has some.
I do think that it has possibilities, though. It was amazingly cheap, quick, not from a box, and easy to make. I bet the Kiddo would REALLY dig it, and I could let him lick the bowl without having one bit of guilt about raw egg in the mix.
Next up I plan on auditioning a version of a Victoria Sponge. I specified VERSION because I know that it won't be spot on, and I plan on messing with it a bit, and I don't want any crap from anyone about it. I'm an American, after all.