Finally made a pilgrimage to The Penzeys Spices store in the Twin Cities, a Minnesotan Mecca for foodies, where I not only got a free mug that states one of my chief life mantras: Love to Cook; Cook to Love, and free Pizza Spice (whatever that is) but I also had the chance to thank Penziers for sending their quarterly magazines to my house chock full of inspiring recipes and other goodies, like the cake featured below. I also bought some Vindaloo, which I’m sure will make its way into these annals in due course. If I were to own a store that sold something, I would love to sell spices—to know that your contribution to the world is a matter of vivified flavor—to imagine how your handiwork enhances countless spoon and forkfuls across the country. All the palates tickled because of what you ground from the ground.
Chocolate Sheet Cake
Adapted from Penzeys Spices
1/2 Cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 Cup shortening or vegetable oil
1/2 Cup cocoa powder (dark and regular, Dutch is best)
1 Cup water
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/2 Cup butter (1 stick)
4 TB. Cocoa powder (combine dark and regular if you have them)
6 TB. milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
½ Cup nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease and flour an 11×17 rimmed pan (jelly roll pan). In a sauce pan, heat the butter, shortening, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil, stirring vigorously to dissolve any cocoa lumps and remove from the heat. While the mixture is coming to a boil, in a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Pour the mixture from the sauce pan into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 400° for 18 minutes.
Five minutes before the cake is done, make the icing. In a sauce pan, heat the butter, cocoa and milk over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and gradually sift in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add nuts if desired. Pour over the hot cake.
Apparently I had an improper pan, and what was supposed to be a sheet cake turned into more of a high plateau or domed terrace cake. Very hard to pour the hot fudge icing onto its gentle slope. So, I spread the frosting onto the center space where the terrain was flat, and poured the remainder icing into a side dish for folks to spread on those edge pieces.
Really rich and delicious. In particular, the cinnamon addition and the dark chocolate Dutch cocoa combined magically for a decadent, unique, homemade cake flavor. Truly a luxury if you can afford these calories. Do have a nibble. Remember, cook to love–and love, foremost, includes yourself.