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The Blue & Gray Press | November 20, 2017

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Baking from Scratch Asserts Independence

By SARAH KELLY
Staff Writer

Sometimes, you just need to bake a cake. There need be no birthday party or other such celebratory function for such a decadent dessert to make its appearance.
I have included a recipe for a double chocolate fudge cake, my own spin on the classic devil’s food cake we have all come to adore. A chocolate cake from scratch is not simply a dessert but in a sense a representation of your individuality and sovereignty. A homemade layer cake is the ultimate representation of domestic chivalry.

As college students, we are searching to assert our own independence as free-thinking citizens. We are aware of the little boxes our society attempts to place us into, and we wittingly defy them. We claim autonomy through the music that we listen to, the books that we read, and the art we produce.

There is no better way to assert oneself as an individual, and a consummate baker, than to produce a cake from scratch, unaided by boxed mixes and frosting that emerges from a can. It really is worth the extra little bit of work you put in to claim this cake as your own creation. It may turn out a bit lopsided and your frosting may not lie at 90 degree angles, but this imperfection is all part of its charm. Does anyone really want to live in a cookie-cutter world?

Making a cake yourself or with friends is also a splendid way to strengthen your bonds of kinship and have tremendous fun. While I have touted the many rewards that baking a cake can offer, I have neglected to mention what is, in my view, the most important: A slice of heavenly fudge cake has the innate ability to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Simply the sight of it thickly frosted and resting on your countertop is enough make anyone giddy with excitement.

This recipe is my own adaptation of the Devil’s food cake published in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. This cake is rich without being overpowering or bitter as many store-bought cakes can be. The recipe is slightly time-consuming; however, I guarantee that any effort will be cancelled out upon your first bite. What really sets this cake apart is its sweet milk chocolate frosting, and the accompaniment of a second layer of glistening chocolate ganache that will astound any who sets eyes upon it.

For the cake:

1 ½ cups unsalted butter
¾ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup water
3 cups cake flour
2 ¼ cups sugar
4 eggs

For the frosting:

6 ½ ounces milk chocolate
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

For the ganache:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream

Set oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl. first combine the dry ingredients, then add in the eggs, water and sour cream, mixing with a spoon until smooth. Pour the mixture into two nine inch cake pans sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once finished, leave on a wire rack to cool.

For the milk chocolate frosting, first melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Combine the room temperature butter, vanilla and milk until smooth.

Next, slowly add in the powdered sugar while mixing until you have a creamy frosting with no lumps. It is easier to use an electric mixer here, but if you don’t have one on hand, I have found that if you have a friend mix quickly while you add the powdered sugar, an equally good result can be achieved.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, run a knife along the edges and place the first layer on a serving dish. Frost this bottom layer and place the next layer of cake on top. Next, frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting.

The final step is to make the ganache. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, then add in the heavy cream, mixing until smooth. Spread the frosting over the top, or alternatively drizzle over the top and sides.

I hope this enchanting chocolate cake inspires you to rebuff conformist notions and exert a sense of self sufficiency. Happy baking to all.