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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Denny's Saucepan Chocolate Cake

In 2006 I was temping during the summer break. Temping always pans out some interesting experiences; in this case, it gave me a great recipe. My assignment for most of that summer was to be a personal assistant to this awesome woman, an author and motivational speaker, Denny Kercher. Denny worked from her home office, so every day I would go to her lovely home, greet her friendly dog, put my lunch in her fridge, and get to work. It was a super fun job and Denny kept it interesting with different things to do each day.

One day Denny called me upstairs to the kitchen mid-morning and handed me a plate with every temp's fantasy - a massive cube of chocolate cake topped by an almost equally massive layer of fudge frosting. We ate in near silence. Denny told me this cake was her treat to herself. She got the recipe from her friend Barbara. She always makes a double batch and freezes it so she can have just a little, or more, whenever she wants. It was obvious how much I liked the cake, so I think Denny kept her freezer stocked with it all summer. It was a great, great summer. Thanks, Denny.

The reason I have made this cake this time around is because of my 3-year-old daughter. She was on some medication in the spring that was exasperated by sugar, so we were trying to keep her sugar intake low. We went to my cousin's house for dinner and brought the Dark Fudge Bundt cake and Ginger was super disappointed to get a super-small piece. Anxious to avoid a meltdown while we were company, I promised I would make her her very own chocolate cake sometime when she was done with the medicine. And, being my daughter, she remembered. About a month later she reminded me of my promise to make her own chocolate cake.

I didn't want to make a mix; that is for very desperate times, and I am almost never that desperate. I also didn't want to make a big cake. As a nursing mom, I was watching my own sugar and chocolate so I didn't want a huge cake sitting around. Denny's cake was perfect, because it is 8x8 or 9x9, not Bundt, layer or 9x13. But in addition, it is EASY. The cake AND frosting are both made in the same saucepan, so no mixer or other accessories. Super simple, which was also key with a new baby who sometimes only allows 15-20 minutes at a time of two-hand freedom. And speaking of new baby, sorry there's no picture. In my sleep-deprived state I thought I had taken one; by the time I downloaded my camera and realized I hadn't, the cake was gone. Trust me, it looks good and tastes better.

This cake is chocolate, delicious, easy, and has great memories for me. A keeper for any occasion!

Denny's Saucepan Chocolate Cake
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk, divided
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or double boiler, melt chocolate and half of milk, stirring. Remove from heat; add butter and sugar and stir until melted in warm chocolate.

2. Stir in flour and baking soda. Add remaining milk, egg and vanilla. Mix well.

3. Bake in greased and floured pan: 8x8 40 to 45 minutes; 9x9 30 to 35 minutes; doubled in 9x13 check after abotu 35 minutes. When a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean it is done!

Chocolate Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
Powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter with chocolate squares. Add vanilla and sugar until you start getting the right consistency. Alternately add sugar and milk until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. Usually about 1/4 cup milk and 2-ish cups sugar. Just play with it - don't you love pass-along recipes like this?

Recipe from Barbara Kendall via Denny Kercher


Mia said...

Delish! I made this last night for Forrest's birthday. I messed up the frosting somehow. I've never done it from scratch so I am not exactly sure what I did wrong (it seems grainy and like the bitter was separating- knows what I did). But everyone loved it anyway! Forrest even claimed the bigger piece tonight which he never does because he isn't a big dessert person.

Mia said...

Butter not bitter...

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