Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Many Paper Towels Does it Take?

 As I mentioned in yesterday's post, tomorrow will be Pat's 27th birthday.  And yes, I did just now have to add it up again to be sure.  Too bad I can't blame it on my pregnancy anymore.  I can't even blame lack of sleep; Madison was down for over 13 hours last night!

In honor of his impending birthday, I made him his (almost) traditional birthday cake on Sunday.  Every year growing up, his mom made him chocolate cake with chocolate icing and candy pumpkins on top.  So on the years that I've remembered/been brave enough to try baking, I've tried to do the same.  All the other times I just picked the most appealing Betty Crocker mix, but thanks to my new housewife status, I figured now was as good a time as any to try making it from scratch.

I had gained a little confidence after baking this yellow cake last month, so I went to my standard destination for new recipes, Allrecipes.com.  Side note:  I know I plug them a lot.  I get nothing from it, I just like that they have a bazillion recipes with tons of reviews and they're free!  Anyway, that's where I found a recipe I was super excited about: Black Magic Cake!

The Black Magic Cake called for:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Two notes: First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I do not measure the smaller quantities.  I just kind of guesstimate.  (Is anyone more surprised than me that spell check didn't flag "guesstimate"?)  Second, when I don't have an ingredient that's called for and I don't feel like packing up the hundred pounds of baby gear required for a fifteen minute expedition to the store, I just use the item in my pantry that most closely resembles the needed ingredient.  In this case, I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.  It's better for you, anyway!

I combined the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt:
I made a well in the center:
 Then added the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
 Then, according to the recipe, I was supposed to beat it using a soft paddle attachment on medium speed for two minutes.  Instead, I beat (beated? bate?) it by hand for probably five minutes.  It was very thin, so it wasn't too tiring.
I believe this was the point at which, after eating a few spoonfuls, I suggested that it might be a good idea to pour it over ice cream.  What I really wanted to do was just eat it like soup, but I was too ashamed to admit that in front of my husband.  In person, anyway.  I guess he'll know now.

Then I baked (half of) it in a 9" cake pan at 350 degrees for 24 minutes.  The recipe called for 30-40; my oven is a beast.  After baking the other half (I only have one cake pan, I'm waiting to see if I like this whole baking thing before buying any supplies), my mom invited us for some chicken gumbo leftovers.  We were starving and desperately wanted to go.  One problem:  we have sugar ants.  I didn't want to leave the cakes out unattended for any period of time.

Patrick, who, surprise, surprise, was being sarcastic (see what I did there?), suggested that I surround the cakes in dish soap to keep any ants from getting to them.  Then he stared at me in shock as I poured green apple dish soap onto the counter.  That stuff smells good!  Which got me to thinking:  what if this wonderful smell soaks into the cake?  So after covering one layer with foil and the other with a lid, we headed over to my mom's for some delicious gumbo.  Mmmm.  Mom, if you're reading this and you have any leftovers left over (ha ha), send them my way!
 Thus ends part one of this gripping tale.  Tune in next time for the jaw-dropping conclusion!

Do you have to use your fingers to remember your (or your spouse's) age?  Have you ever regretted the loss of that universally acceptable excuse, "It's just because I'm pregnant"?  Is beat really the past tense of beat?  How many paper towels do you think it took me to get the dish soap off the counter? 



  1. whoa! 13 straight hours with no feedings?! That is a lot!

  2. That would be a lot!!! lol. I should clarify. 13 TOTAL hours. She woke up once after nine hours or so to eat, then went right back down.

  3. 9 hours is still great! Way to go madison!!!

  4. But I am hungry! You can't leave me hanging. How did it turn out? LOL! I guess I'll just have to come back and see. I am a new follower from Show Me What ya Got. Vicky from www.messforless.net