chocolate frosting

My Bat Mitzvah Chocolate Cake

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Today is the anniversary of my Bat Mitzvah. It took place a LONG time ago! In the 1950s to tell you the truth.

Back in the day Bat Mitzvahs were not such a thing. In fact, I was the first girl from our newly established synagogue to reach this momentous occasion.

I have to confess, our rabbi mentioned the notion when we first joined the synagogue and I told my parents I wanted to learn some Hebrew and prayers and do whatever I had to, not so much because I had any particular religious feelings, nor was it because I wanted a big party -- the big themed events we see today didn't exist back then -- but because my two older brothers had Bar Mitzvahs and I couldn't understand why a girl wouldn't be treated equally.

My mother always said that when I was born I came out a feminist.

Still am. (So was she.)

Girls are equal to boys, women to men. Let's not even contest that one.

Still, my brothers did have a Saturday Shabbat service Bar Mitzvah and I was only allowed to have one on Friday night. I was content with that, it was a start.

We had a small party at home. I was allowed to invite one friend, and of course my family was there -- aunts, uncles, cousins, including my cousin Leslie, who, to this day, is like a sister.

I remember my dress: white with red and black lines. 

I don't remember what my Mother made for food.

But I do remember dessert. Because I made it: a dark chocolate cake with fudge frosting.

I didn't keep the recipe. I don't actually know whose recipe I used. I just remember what it looked like and that it tasted fabulous and that I made the cake for my own Bat Mitzvah.

So today I celebrate with Chocolate Cake. This one is a riff on the famous Hershey Black Cake with a few changes to make it dairy-free, less sweet and more to my tastes (you can change the frosting to dairy using 12 tablespoons of butter in place of the coconut milk and coconut oil). 

This is a good cake for a festive occasion, even one's own Bat Mitzvah.

Black Chocolate Cake

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • water
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup strong, cooled coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3 9-inch cake pans. Pour the lemon juice into a liquid (pitcher) measuring cup and add enough water to measure one cup. Set aside. Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix at low speed to combine the ingredients. Add the eggs, the lemon-water, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat the ingredients at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, or until well combined and smooth. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the layers onto a cake rack to cool completely. Frost and serve.

Makes 8-10 servings

Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of salt

Place the chocolate chips, coconut milk and coconut oil in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth and uniform. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Let cool, whisking the ingredients occasionally. Refrigerate until firm enough to be spreadable.

 

Chocolate Cake

Wasn’t it just New Year’s Eve? Wasn’t it just the new millennium? The new century? 
 Is everyone’s life going as fast as mine is? 
 It’s already March. We’ve come through a long, cold, snowy winter where I live, a rainy, blustery, drenching winter elsewhere. I don’t even know if we’re through with all that stuff. But the word March sounds hopeful. At least to me. It’s the beginning of a month that ends with spring, crocuses, warmer temperatures, sunshine. 
 March 1st is also the start of National Ghost Writer’s Week, paying homage to those who write, often magnificently, for people who can’t, but they don’t get the writing credit. The people who can’t write get all the credit. 
 I actually know someone who’s a ghost writer. So, in his honor I give you a recipe for Chocolate Cake, one of his favorites. 
 Btw, if you haven’t seen the movie Ghost Writer, do so. It’s terrific and so is Ewan McGregor, the ghost writer in it. 
 Chocolate Cake 
 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate 
 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
 1 teaspoon salt 
 1-1/2 cups sugar 
 3/4 cup butter 
 1-1/2 cups milk 
 3 large eggs 
 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3 9-inch cake pans. Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix gently to combine them. Add the sugar, butter and half the milk and beat the ingredients at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, or until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs and beat them in. Add the remaining milk, chocolate and vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the layers onto a cake rack to cool completely.  
 Chocolate Frosting 
 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate 
 1 cup unsalted butter 
 2 cups confectioner’s sugar 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
 Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool. Place the butter and confectioner’s sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes or until well blended. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and the vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Enough for one 9-inch chocolate cake

Wasn’t it just New Year’s Eve? Wasn’t it just the new millennium? The new century?

Is everyone’s life going as fast as mine is?

It’s already March. We’ve come through a long, cold, snowy winter where I live, a rainy, blustery, drenching winter elsewhere. I don’t even know if we’re through with all that stuff. But the word March sounds hopeful. At least to me. It’s the beginning of a month that ends with spring, crocuses, warmer temperatures, sunshine.

March 1st is also the start of National Ghost Writer’s Week, paying homage to those who write, often magnificently, for people who can’t, but they don’t get the writing credit. The people who can’t write get all the credit.

I actually know someone who’s a ghost writer. So, in his honor I give you a recipe for Chocolate Cake, one of his favorites.

Btw, if you haven’t seen the movie Ghost Writer, do so. It’s terrific and so is Ewan McGregor, the ghost writer in it.

Chocolate Cake

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter

1-1/2 cups milk

3 large eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3 9-inch cake pans. Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix gently to combine them. Add the sugar, butter and half the milk and beat the ingredients at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, or until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs and beat them in. Add the remaining milk, chocolate and vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the layers onto a cake rack to cool completely. 

Chocolate Frosting

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool. Place the butter and confectioner’s sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes or until well blended. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and the vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Enough for one 9-inch chocolate cake