2013-03-14 / In the News

The Noisy Oven

Chocolate cake is easy to make, tastes great
By Mel Baker

Cast iron chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream dip cake

1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 squares baking chocolate, semi-sweet
1/2 cup hot dark coffee
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
9- or 10-inch cast iron pan

Gently combine the first six dry ingredients. Set aside. Melt butter, baking chocolate and coffee together over low heat. Pull off heat and let cool for a few minutes and gently stir in sugars and vanilla. Make sure mixture is lukewarm or cool and stir in eggs. Gently combine with set-aside dry ingredients and pour into a greased cast iron pan. Bake at 350 degrees until done, usually 35 to 45 minutes or cook on a woodstove until done, up to an hour, making sure the inside is done with a skewer that only pulls out moist chocolate crumbs in the middle.

Turn pan 1 to 3 times. Dip warm chunks of chocolate cake in a bowl of chocolate buttercream dip. You may also put spoonfuls of chocolate buttercream over slices of cast iron chocolate cake or put dollops on the side of the plate.

Chocolate buttercream dip

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted and
cooled until still liquid and warm but not hot

Make sure chocolate is cool enough as chocolate stays hot a while. Beat all ingredients together until combined and creamy but not fluffy. Taste and adjust, if needed.

Fabulous nut crescents

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups any nut or seed, very finely chopped or
ground in a blender until the nuts make a fine coarse

Beat butter and sugar together until combined but not fluffy. Stir in flour. Save out 1/4 cup ground nuts or seeds. Put in a flat dish. Stir into the rest of the ground nuts or seeds into the cookie batter. Make small crescents. Roll crescents in the flat dish of 1/4 cup ground nuts or seeds. Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet until light browned on the very edges (which leaves the inside creamy) for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your crescents. May roll in extra ground nuts after baking if desired. Great with any nut or seed.

Double fresh raspberry shortbread

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup homemade
raspberry jam
1 cup (or more) fresh

Combine butter, sugar and flour. Press into the bottom of an 8- or 9- inch glass pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Spread with homemade raspberry jam. Bake for about 10 more minutes until the cookie crust is done and jam is hot. Let bars cool to warm. Spread with fresh raspberries: leave raspberries whole, but press them in lightly so they stick.

Homemade raspberry jam

1 package frozen
raspberries or 2 baskets
fresh raspberries
3 Tablespoons water

Cook down in a cast iron pan over low heat until the jam is thick. Stir frequently, especially near the end. Do not burn.

Double fresh raspberry flower cookies

Add 1/2 to 1 cup more flour to the dough (or more as needed), rolling the dough out on a floured board or counter, and cutting it with flower cookie cutters. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. When cookies are mostly cooled, cover flower cookies with warm jam, and then press in fresh raspberries all over or put fresh raspberries in the center of the flowers.

Frutti di Mare Fettuccine Alfredo

For two people for a fancy, rich dinner; for four, double the pasta and alfredo sauce, and add a larger green salad. Seafood should be local and wild when possible and you may substitute in any kinds of seafood you like.

1 lemon
1 clementine
4 tablespoons butter
Several pieces of nice
lobster or small tasty bits
from legs
1/4 pound sea scallops
1/4 pound shrimp
1/4 pound other fish,
usually chunks of haddock
or salmon or both
1 tablespoon chopped
fresh parsley
1 red pepper, chopped in
small pieces
1/3 cup oil and vinegar,
plain salad dressing
without spices, 3 to 1 ratio;
homemade or store bought
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 regular 16 ounces
package fresh or good dried
fettuccine, local or Italian

Squeeze lemon and clementine and combine juices. Keep out 2 teaspoons juice and refrigerate. Cook each type of seafood separately with a tablespoon of butter and 1/4 of the remaining lemon-clementine juice for each type of fish. Put fettuccine on to cook. Toss all cooked fish and pan juices together with oil and vinegar dressing, parsley and red pepper. Drain fettuccine, leaving about 2 tablespoons pasta water in the bottom of the pan. Melt butter in this and toss. Keep cooking. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and let the long fettuccine noodles keep cooking just a few minutes, stirring thoroughly twice, until the cheese melts and you have a glistening sauce that sticks to the noodles. Place Frutti di Mare and sauce over Fettuccine Alfredo, either family style or on individual plates. Drizzle remaining lemonclementine juice over the top of the fish. Serve immediately.

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