Chocolate Cake. Two of  the best tasting words on Gods green earth! Aside from Cheese and Cake. Chocolate cake for me is a tough one. My mother hands down, makes THE best chocolate cake on Gods green earth. It’s true. Anyone that has ever had it will declare it from the mountain tops with fork held aloft, and crumbs falling from their mouths! When my children where younger and they knew we were making a trip to Nanny’s house they would ask ahead of time, “Is Nanny making Chocolate Cake?” To which I would respond, “I am sure she will but we have a 14 1/2 hour drive so lets just wait and see.” THE Chocolate Cake has always appeared. Thanks Nanny! We LOVE YOU.

I had an opportunity a week or so ago to visit with my friend Miss Ree Drummond and she was preparing a four layer chocolate cake with Nutella, strawberries and homemade whipped cream. I thought, “This could be my opportunity to topple Nanny and her dang cake!”  So, I pinned the recipe and awaited my “opportunity.”

If you have been keeping up with the homestead, things are busy ’round heur’ lots o’ construction and such. I knew we would be hard at work yesterday so I planned a hearty meal with an outstanding chocolate cake to follow. And by “we” being hard at work I mean -M and I, those college and career type off-spring avoid us when there is “yard stuff” going on. They have rolled out enough sod and dug enough sprinkler trenches in their young lives, at least that is their perspective, but they sure loved the hearty meal that made up for the hard work. Country fried buttermilk pork loin, with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, smothered in creamy gravy and buttery corn followed by four layer chocolate Nutella strawbe… a big ol cake!

I began the cake construction earlier in the day. It seemed like some work! But came together pretty easily. One of the items I was excited about was the Bulgarian Buttermilk. I have tried to pick up good buttermilk ’round these parts (remember we are Pioneerin’) but no luck, till the Bulgarian stuff. When I was little, my grandmother would give me buttermilk with a funnel and real butter chunks in it! She was born in Kentucky and knew good buttermilk, so what I found is as good as it gets. I used it for the pork chops, the cake and will be makin’ some homemade salad dressing with the remainder. Quality stuff right there!

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THE CAKE

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cup Nutella

THE STRAWBERRIES

  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

THE WHIPPED CREAM

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

I made the whipped cream first, because I only have one stand mixer and it’s the easiest mixture to clean out quickly and a chilled bowl is best for whipping the cream. Also, with the ease and deliciousness of homemade whipped cream, why would we ever buy the store made stuff?

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It is important to follow Ree’s directions for cake assembly because of the hot mixture of chocolate and allowing it to cool a bit before adding.  This mixture reminded me of the texture of brownie mix.

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Do your berries, remember to drain them.

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Assemble mix and bake, WITH ONE EXCEPTION, I made the mistake of NOT putting a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan. YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY DO THIS.

I also happened to glance to the bottom of her page… there is an indiscriminate note that says, *Note do not assemble this cake more than an hour ahead of time**** TRUTH!

The Verdict-

-M and I did not at all enjoy the Nutella on the cake. I also have no idea how she spread that stuff without warming it!

On the do not assemble note, there was no way we could eat all this cake in one sitting. So I did a couple of things different; first I did the double layering. Because upon reading the blog about her cake recipe it was a fail! The four layer cake fell over! BUT ON THE SHOW THAT WAS NOT DISCUSSED.

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Then I simply served a slice of the cake with all the toppings to my people.

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The girls enjoyed it, Jake has not yet had the pleasure since he was working, but my con-vegan who wants to live on Nutella thought there was nothing better! Of course not counting Nanny’s Chocolate Cake.

So you can see from the pictures all did not go well. I learned from my mistakes, the cake certainly clung to the pan, even though greased and floured, and without really warming the Nutella, I learned it won’t spread. In the words of -M “If your gonna eat this Nutella stuff your tongue will stuck to the roof of your mouth like Zachariah! You can’t talk after that stuff!” He proclaims after half heartedly choking. For me this cake was less than spectacular. The batter itself was simple and easy, but all the fuss, I would have been fine with momma’s frosting and calling it day.

Here’s to Ree… but this ones not for me.

Good luck with this one friends,

Still Springing Forward,

Jennifer