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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

What a day, what a day...  I have been in the midst of a baking frenzy to get together some treats, prizes, and more treats for the grand finale of Paragraph's Mystery Week on South Padre Island.  If you read my blog post about Paragraphs Mystery of the Golden Booby, then you know that this week is the grand finale when all four authors are at Paragraphs on Padre Blvd and clues and the mystery will be discussed.  Prizes are in order (I'll be bringing a cookie or two for a prize) and I want to do what I can to say thank you to the hard working book sellers and authors who were so enthusiastic about providing all of us a bit of Winter fun! 

I decided, several weeks ago, to try to make a Blue Footed Booby Cake (I am not a good cake decorator - I don't practice) so I found a cake pan on Amazon that I thought could be made into a Golden Booby shaped cake.  I had also been perusing recipes and, only today, decided to make it chocolate (a strong second was a pumpkin flavored cake, but since my cookies were the Acorn Squash Sugar Cookies which taste a lot like pumpkin spice, I opted for chocolate).  I found a couple of recipes and in my usual mash-up method, I ended up with a Chocolate Sour Cream Cake.  I made a sample cake - it was yummy - so I got started.

Adapted from Ghirardelli's Grand Fudge Cake Recipe


2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup low fat milk
1 Tbsp. brewed coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare two 9" pans by lightly greasing and flouring or use something like Baker's Joy spray.

In 4 cup measuring cup (or separate mixing bowl) mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk.  Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup (or separate small mixing bowl) mix the milk, sour cream, and coffee with a whisk.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each egg added.

Add 1/3 of dry ingredients on low speed, alternating with 1/2 of the wet ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix with each addition until well incorporated.  Scrape down to the bottom of the mixing bowl to insure everything is well incorporated.  Mix until smooth and fluffy.

Divide the batter into each pan and level with an offset spatula.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Allow to cool on rack (in pans) for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

I used a Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese frosting and did a thin crumb coat on the bird after the cake had cooled completely.  It was another unusually cold day today, so the cake cooled fairly rapidly!  After the crumb coat had firmed up in the fridge I did another layer of butter cream, colored some frosting for the wings and some for the beak and tried my hardest to decorate a cake that looked vaguely like the fabled Blue-Footed Golden Booby.  I could not, however, bring myself to spray it gold.  I don't mind a bit of lustre dust on a cookie - but an entire cake?  I thought not.  While I was at it, I made some blue feet out of royal icing I had left from decorating the cookies.  I had made little blue feet RI transfers for some cookies and a big set of feet for the cake.  I was praying it wouldn't break when I removed it from the wax paper.  It didn't - but it did break when I put it on the slightly rounded cake...fragile RI transfer was flat - cake was round.  Not a good mix.  I glued everything back together with more blue RI.  Woo hoo!

I'll have written this over a two-day period....and the only photo of the cake I got was a fast one at the event, in not very good light.  So, here it is.  Don't laugh...I was really working outside my comfort zone. The blessing is, it was a darn good cake and nearly every crumb was scraped off the cake board!  Yay...I love it when a plan comes together!  If anyone has any cake photos, I'd love to have a copy!

I'll be sharing a post on the cookies I made - probably tomorrow or the day after.  This was an unusually hectic week and I didn't do my usual photos.  I will, however, share what I have!

Until then...

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

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