As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of Little Miss’s play revolves around holidays and how they are celebrated. Today was a birthday day. All she wanted to do was make a cake, and like always I couldn’t determine if it was a real cake or one made of Mardi Gras beads and plastic bracelets. I don’t think she knew either.
But I figured, why not have her help me bake a for-no-good-reason cake just to give her some Mommy and me time. Only problem was I didn’t have any cake mix in the house and I have never before made a cake from scratch. After briefly considering a run to Target, I grabbed a cookbook off the shelf.
I cook and I bake, and I am pretty confident at both by this point, but when my husband, then boyfriend of eight months, gave me the giant, orange Bon Appetit cookbook with a total of about ten pictures, I was more than intimidated. I loved the idea of it, but how could I decide what to cook or figure out if I had done it right without a picture for every recipe?
I put the book on a shelf and moved it from my parents’ house, to our first apartment, to our second apartment around the corner from the first, and now to our house. Today, eight years later, I made my very first recipe from its pages.
It was stunningly simple. The step I had the most difficulty with was the sifting of dry ingredients. I don’t have an actual flour sifter, so I used a mesh strainer. It worked, but there was cocoa all over the kitchen. Plus Little Miss helped, which of course didn’t actually help.
Besides the easy factor, I was surprised to see I was supposed to mix the batter by hand. When I make cake from a box, I always use my pink Kitchen Aid mixer and then curse it when I have to clean the giant bowl the next day after it has sat in the sink and filled with muck and silverware. But it was easy! Took a little muscle, but my arms and a whisk got the job done.
The best part for Little Miss was sprinkling chocolate chips on the batter before the cake went in the oven. I thought about omitting this step because it seemed like pointless extra calories, but we did it for the fun, and in the end, the chips really made the cake.
My first homemade cake came out perfectly, well almost perfect. I cracked the bottom layer in half, but no one would notice once it was iced. It was fluffy and tasted great, with a rich chocolaty kick from the chocolate chips. Little Miss even ate the majority of her dinner because she was so excited to try it. And since it was dairy free, besides the chips, Mr. Man who still doesn’t handle milk well, had a few bites and loved it, of course.
Oh and just so you know, I’m not Super Mom. I may have made the cake from scratch and had a special moment with my daughter while Mr. Man napped, but I slathered that cake with insanely white frosting from a can and I am not ashamed. You can only do so much, and the end result was fantastic, Pillsbury icing and all.
If you would like to try this cake yourself, here’s a link to the recipe. Enjoy!
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake