I'm unsure why tomorrow is declared Drink Wine Day in the US of A. Why is tomorrow so special? It can't have anything to do with the harvest, me thinks. Perhaps it's a way to fight the mid-winter doldrums. I think you'd stand a better chance of raising spirits (ha!) with a Chocolate Day, or a Eat Cake While Wearing Jammies Day, but maybe that's just me.
Here's the link to the official DWD website if you want to check it out. Yummy looking wine cocktail recipes in the side-bar that I may have to investigate further.
In other news, I baked these blueberry muffins yesterday. The recipe is my go-to muffin recipe from Alton Brown. I adapted it by using one cup of frozen blueberries from the stash in my deep freezer. I buy many pounds of wild blueberries every summer and divvy them up into one cup portions, which are a convenient amount for most recipes.
Yes, the recipe makes a dozen muffins, and yes, there is one missing from the photo. That's because it was in my tummy as soon as it was cool enough to eat. Son1 and his partner arrived about an hour later and each ate a muffin as an afternoon treat. Breakfast this morning took care of a few more. I think I'll be baking another batch fairly soon.
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The most wonderful day of the year – Chocolate Cake Day!!!
There are other cakes worth celebrating, of course. Spice cake with maple frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, or lemon cake with a lovely tart glaze, but in my mind, chocolate cake can’t be beat.
I’ve baked many versions of chocolate cake over the years. A popular one in our house is a three-layer confection filled and frosted with the most amazing cocoa frosting. An old stand-by is a venerable family recipe for chocolate cake baked in a tube pan and slathered with vanilla frosting. Yum!
Chocolate cake has been around for over 150 years and I think that deserves – cake! So here’s the recipe that I turn to more often than not when I have a hankering for chocolate cake.
Aunt Hilda’s Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sour milk (milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa, dissolved in 1 cup very hot water
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust with cocoa a Bundt pan, tube pan, or two 9-inch layer pans.
Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and cocoa water. Mix until well blended (mixture will be very wet).
Pour into pan, or pans, and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. (25 - 30 minutes for layer pans). Tester inserted near centre should come out clean.
Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.
Do you have a favourite chocolate cake recipe?
I’m torn. Or, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, tradition is a great thing, offering stability in these troubled times (a bit of angsty saga there, eh?). On the other hand, some might consider baking the same cake (yes, we're talking about cake here) as THE birthday cake month after month, year after year is akin to being in a rut.
I think it depends on the cake in question. Some cakes deserve to be consumed on a regular basis. For many years the only birthday cake in our house was an old-fashioned cocoa cake with cocoa frosting. Three layers of OMG this is freaking amazing. (Hubby is a rebel and always wants an apple pie for his birthday “cake”.)
As a youngster quite often my birthday cake was a spice cake with Seven Minute Frosting (cooked egg white frosting = food of the gods). So when I think of that cake, spice cake with the meringue frosting, I’m transported back to the halcyon days of my childhood. And that’s a good thing. That’s what tradition means. Comfort and stability and damn good cake.
So which cake will I bake for the birthday this weekend? I’m torn.
Happy New Year!!!
How’s your headache? <grin>
The beginning of a new year means one thing for some people – resolutions. I’ve never done well with resolutions – I’m probably doing it wrong. I think it’s nigh on impossible to wake up on January 1 and BAM, start working out every day. Or POW, quit caffeine. Or SHAZAM, stay away from chocolate.
I read a blog post the other day that resonated with me. In it, the author talked about wanting to make positive changes in her life but she understood her limitations and was willing to compromise on the steps she would need to take. What she called half-assing a habit. (Go read the post and then come back.)
That’s how I’ll approach my resolution to eat healthier. I know myself too well to even attempt to go cold turkey when it comes to sweets and baked goods. It just wouldn’t happen. So my half-ass attempt at eating healthier will mean one cookie instead of four. Bread only on the weekend. And only one slice of this killer cake per day. (I baked this cake for a New Year’s Eve party and bonfire last night. Ridiculously delicious. But it didn't rise like it should have so was a little...dense. Still wonderfully rummy though.)
Are you one who makes a resolution every New Year? Do you stick with it for the entire 365 days of the year?