I have said for many years that some of the best recipes ever created are the ones on the backs of ingredient packages. Think about it – the company paid someone to create that recipe so that it would showcase their product.
I often will use this type of recipe as a jumping off point to creating something different. But in this case, the original is still the best. It is the one cake that The Artist and his father both love and ask me to make for every family get together. This is one recipe that has stood the test of time. I just wish I knew who the recipe developer was so I could thank them!
I have made this cake dozens of times since I discovered it and they have all been perfect. Today when I started assembling the ingredients, I realized that I was out of my gluten-free flour blend. So I stopped what I was doing and whipped together a bucket of the blend. In and of itself not a memorable action.
But subconsciously my focus was on the GF blend and I started assembling the dry ingredients with the flour blend, adding the remaining ingredients. When I mixed up the batter it seemed thicker than normal and a bit less of it, but it’s been awhile since I’ve made the cake and this is gluten-free so things always look different. Luckily I wiped the spatula with my finger to get the final bits of batter back in the bowl … I had forgotten to add the sugar!!
So I went back to my recipe to double check the ingredient list and the sugar wasn’t there … again I had started reading the list at the flour and completely missed seeing the sugar a second time. So I took a deep breath, stepped away for a couple of seconds and then went back to the recipe and I finally saw the sugar. Man, that was close!
See, even someone who has been baking forever can make a mistake – we are all far from perfect! The point is that even if you’ve forgotten an ingredient, you can still add it and save your recipe. I added the sugar last and the cake is beautiful.
This is wonderful cake, perfect for any occasion. Because it is baked and cooled in a 9×13-inch pan, it is simple to take with you to someone else’s home, a potluck dinner, church supper, or summertime picnic. I love to serve it with a spoonful of raspberry sauce – often the one from Fran’s Chocolates. If I have time I will put some frozen raspberries in a blender with a little sugar and maybe a touch of booze (if it’s been a rough week).
But if time is short, Fran’s is my go-to. It is sold in most major grocery chains, you’ll find it by the ice cream sauces and cones. It is a great back up to have in your pantry. Look for her chocolate fudge and caramel too, yum!
Make sure you check out today’s Prize Package and enter ~ You don’t want to miss it! Details are below the recipe!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Read every recipe through thoroughly. When you see several ingredients that are added at the same time you can pre-assemble them to make it easier and faster to put your recipes together. In this case, all the dry ingredients are added together and then you put the liquids in (all but the boiling water, that goes in last) – so mix them up ahead and make it really easy on yourself!
I use my standard gluten-free flour blend (found here). Remember to use the same gluten-free flour to coat the buttered pan!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup mild flavored vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend, plus more for the pan
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- To Serve:
- Raspberry sauce, such as Fran’s brand
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour (use gluten-free flour if needed) a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.
- Place the water in a microwave-save measuring cup (preferably Pyrex glass) and heat to boiling. Leave it in the microwave oven while you assemble and mix the other ingredients.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout (I prefer Pyrex) add the milk and oil. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Set the cup next to your standing mixer.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix on Low until blended and it is an evenly colored mixture with no pockets of cocoa or flour. Turn off the motor and pour in the milk/oil mixture. Start on Low then increase to Medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer back on the lowest speed and very slowly add the boiling water, about 1 tbsp at a time to avoid splashing, until all the water has been added. The batter will be very thin. Scrape the bowl one more time to be sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan.
- Firmly tap the baking pan on the counter a couple of times to release any hidden air bubbles. Place the cake into the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and set the cake, still in the pan, on a wire cooling rack. If you are using gluten-free flour, the cake will be best if you let it cool completely before cutting. Don’t be surprised when the cake sinks slightly in the center as it cools - from a rounded to top to flat is normal.
- Cut the cake into squares. Spread 1 to 2 tbsp of the raspberry sauce on the plate and set the cake onto the sauce. Pour a little powdered sugar into a fine wire sieve and dust the top of the cake. Tuck a sprig of mint alongside and serve.
Now, for today’s Prize Package …
Today we have a collection of three cookbooks for you. With these books you can delve into the flavor profiles and techniques of classic French, Italian, and Mexican cooking. From the infamous cooking school La Varenne and Anne Willan’s impeccable skills and training, to two gals making the food they love in New York City, to the remote hills of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the recipes and lessons in these books will elevate your cooking to new heights. Today’s prize package has a value of over $85!
Enter the Rafflecopter drawing below. The more Facebook pages you like, tweets you send, and Pinterest pages you follow, the more chances you have to win. Good luck!
Upon enrolling at La Varenne in Paris, all students received a helpful and easy reference tool: La Varenne Basic Recipes. The booklet was based on chef Albert Jorant’s belief that “there are only fifty basic recipes in the culinary repertoire, and all other dishes can be made from them”. La Varenne Basic Recipes was a fifty-five page treasure-trove of essential recipes, cherished by those who passed through La Varenne. With the release of Secrets from the La Varenne Kitchen (March 2015, Spring House Press), Anne Willan’s indispensable booklet is now available for the first time outside the walls of her beloved cooking school. While not a cookbook of finished dishes, it is a wonderful toolbox that teaches the basic skills and techniques for one to then go off and cook anything they’d like. Containing fundamental stock, sauce, and pastry recipes, Secrets from the La Varenne Kitchen will help to any cooking enthusiast, culinary student, or seasoned cook achieve professional success in any kitchen.
Bolstered by stunning full-color photographs, visual vignettes, and unforgettable anecdotes that relate everything from the wisdom of Italian grandmothers and the mishaps of opening night to a starring role on Iron Chef, Sarah and Emma convey both their sparkling personalities and their dedication to balancing innovation and tradition. They also offer a truly unique glimpse into what it’s like for two young women to open and run a lively, welcoming, and wildly successful restaurant in New York City.
Mexican Flavors is your chance to learn about contemporary Mexican cuisine from a master teacher, Hugh Carpenter. Hundreds of North Americans have traveled to San Miguel to cook with Hugh during the six-day seminars that he runs with his wife, Teri Sandison, during the winter months. The recipes are based on Hugh’s cooking school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, a famous artist community located in the high mountain country north of Mexico City.
This contest has ended. Congratulations to Winner Camilla M!
After each drawing, the non-winning entries will be added to the next prize set so that each entry makes you a candidate for all the giveaways! Apologies to my wonderful international friends, but these giveaways are limited to USA and Canadian readers. Each entry period will last 10 days. Winners will be randomly picked and notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to contact me with their shipping information. If I do not hear from them, another winner will be picked and contacted. Prizes will be shipped out about 10 days after we receive your address. All cookbooks provided by The Heritage Cook.
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