Mariel here. I just spent a few glorious days in Ye Olde Adirondack Mountains – it’s a family tradition on my father’s side and we’ve recently reinstated this annual pilgrimage up north. While my husband had to cancel last-minute thanks to work deadlines, I had carefully parceled out a meager respite from my own affairs, letting editors and publicists know that I’d be out of communication for five whole days. You see, not much has changed in Long Lake since – well – ever, and the area gets neither cell reception nor internet access, except for one local ice creamery known as Hoss’s. Boss Hoss pretty much runs the place.
Delighted to be out of touch since this summer has been a real festival of excruciating deadlines, I tutted on up to the boondocks and rolled into town confident that I’d be MIA for a bit. And as it turned out, “a bit” was all I got. I made the mistake of checking my email on Monday whilst indulging in a mid-morning ice cream and saw an urgent message from one of my editors who needed some copy turned around ASAP. Which is fine. Except when you work in an office of one, the person who has to turn that copy around is YOU.
So although I had thoughtfully carved out some “me” time, I ended up spending two days shuttling back and forth from Hoss’s bakery-slash-business center to trade emails and diddle copy for publication. Not a biggie – a definite smallie in the grand scheme of things – but it’s a lesson for us all. When you want to go away…leave your iPhone at home. iPhones HATE vacations.
None of this has anything to do with the cake I’m about to share, but does anyone really need me to drone on about how delicious mocha and frosting is? Didn’t think so. Happy trails to you and yours.
Ooey-Gooey Mocha Cake with Swirl Frosting
Note: You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan
Ingredients for the cake:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder – stock
1¼ cup strong hot coffee – $1.00
2 cups flour – stock
1 teaspoon baking soda – stock
1 teaspoon salt – stock
½ cup of buttermilk (you can also whisk together ½ cup of milk + ½ Tablespoon of white vinegar and make your own) – stock
1 teaspoon vanilla – stock
1½ sticks of unsalted butter, softened – stock
2 cups sugar – stock
2 eggs – stock
Ingredients for vanilla frosting:
1½ cups confectioner’s sugar – stock
½-teaspoon vanilla extract – stock
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt – $0.89
3 Tablespoons melted butter – stock
Ingredients for chocolate swirl frosting:
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder – stock
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt – calculated above
¼-cup confectioner’s sugar – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $1.89
Cost per slice: $0.16
Directions for the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pam or lightly butter your 9-inch springform, dust with a bit of flour, shaking off excess
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and the cocoa powder. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, whisking well to combine. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Using the “stir” setting on your mixer, add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa-coffee mixture. Stir until just combined. (Like my mom, I finish this part by hand, so that the cake is moist and not over beaten.)
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove spring form sides and continue to cool completely before icing.
To make the frosting:
1. For the vanilla frosting: in the bowl of your clean electric mixer, combine the confectioner’s sugar, yogurt and vanilla. Then beat in the melted butter until creamy. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
2. For the cocoa swirl: in the bowl of your electric mixer (don’t worry about cleaning it between making the vanilla frosting and chocolate swirl), beat the yogurt, cocoa and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Set aside.
3. Once the cake is totally cool (I was in a rush and made the mistake of frosting WAY too soon, which is why you can see a little pooling around the base of my cake), frost just the top of the cake with the vanilla icing, allow some of it to drip down the sides. Next, dot on little spoonfuls of the chocolate swirl and create patterns of your choosing using a toothpick. Enjoy!