When the weather gets really cold and the ponds freeze over – which doesn’t happen every winter – it’s time to think of post-skating snacks.
One year when I lived on a pond there was an early deep freeze and the pond stayed frozen most of the winter. And everyone came to skate. Which was great fun….except
I’m no Peggy Fleming
nor I am I ever mistaken for Dorothy Hamill
and certainly no Michele Kwan.
No, there are no Blades of Glory in my story
I spend a whole lot of time on the ice…ON the ice.
The end result of all the time demonstrating gravity is that I would get really cold and tired very quickly…and then retreat to the warm kitchen to make snacks for everyone else. And what better to fortify and recover and generally make a good day/night of it all then something chocolate?
Long before there was chocolate lava cakes, there was chocolate upside down cake.
UPSIDE-DOWN CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 cup sifted flour*
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar**(divided)
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa***(divided)
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans****(optional)
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8” square baking pan.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, ¾ cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons in a bowl.
- Mix in the milk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the melted butter (add nuts)
- Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
- In a saucepan, mix the brown sugar, water and remaining granulated sugar and cocoa.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugars dissolve. Pour over the batter in the pan.
- Pop the whole thing – without a last little stir – into the hot oven.
- Go about your business for a little while. Smile and start humming little snatches of favorite songs as the smell sugar and chocolate start to fill the air.
- Since I usually use a glass (Pyrex) pan I start checking at ½ hour, (theoretically, you could lower the temp by 25°, but I’m a little bit impatient!)and of course the actual timing will vary with your oven. The original recipe says 40 minutes, but 30-35 has been more my history with it, and that’s with multiple ovens. A cake tester should come out clean.
- Cool on a cake rack for 20 minutes, then turn out, bottoms up and the fudgy sauce will now be on the top.
- The original recipe says cool and then cut into 2 inch pieces, but I have never once done that. Start serving, warm, at the 20 minute mark. Sometimes I just spooned it out of the pan into bowls, not pretty, but pretty darn good.
* I stopped sifting flour for all but the finest of baking projects sometime during the Ford administration. This cake doesn’t really require sifting with most commercial flours.
**I’m pretty sure I’ve cut back in this sugar, but since I didn’t write it down…it just seems awfully sugary.
***Hershey’s will do. They’ll be cold and it the warmth (and butter) that will make the difference.
****Nuts are optional – and almonds are nice, too. Or a little grated orange rind. Or some very finely cut candied ginger or dried apricots. When I made this cake a lot, I made it A LOT and was always looking for something interesting to toss in.
Myra Waldo. Cakes, Cookies, and Pastries. Galahad Books, NYC reprinted with permission from Crowell-Collier Publishing. 1962. Third printing 1970. p. 19.
There is a similar upside down chocolate cake in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book, too
I’m not at all sure when or why I got this cookbook – except that it was before 1982 and survived my cookbook purge.