Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chocolate Fudge Cake: National Lighthouse Day

Today is National Lighthouse Day. I've always been fascinated by Lighthouses, not just because of how they important they are to ships at sea, but because of the 'odd' (to a kid) living arrangements. Who lived in the Lighthouse? Did they have kids? Did the children go to school? Was the Lighthouse isolated from the community? And, what about the kitchen? Was there gas and electricity? Running water? 

Most of my early lighthouse experiences were down the shore in New Jersey--Cape May and Barnegat, but since childhood I've visited Lighthouses all over the U.S. Living in Northern California, I've visited the Lighthouse on the Rock (Alcatraz), Fort Point, and East Brother Island (lighthouse keeper job comes up often. This lighthouse operates as a B&B), Pigeon Point, Ano Nuevo (near the elephant seal breeding ground), Point Montaro. 

Growing up I loved Lighthouses in Books and Movies. I'm a mystery fan--check out my other blog:, and lighthouses sometimes feature in dramatic endings, although I recently read a crime novel in which the lighthouse and its keepers set the opening scene and tenor of the story. Scandinavian crime novel, as I remember it.

Anyway, in honor of today's holiday--Lighthouse Day--here's a chocolate recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake from Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson's American Lighthouse Cookbook. This cookbook on my shelf, of course, and I highly recommend it. The cookbook is a culinary journey across America, visiting 47 lighthouses, dozes of essays about them and over 300 recipes from eight coastal regions of the U.S.

Chocolate Fudge Cake 
Grosse Point Lighthouse, Illinois

2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces sweet baking chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
9 Tbsp sweet butter, softened, divided
1-1/8 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
21/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar  (this is what really makes this recipe!)
Cocoa Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat  oven to 325ºF. Butter 2 (9-inch round) cake pans with 1 Tbsp butter.
Mix dry ingredients in  bowl.
Melt chocolate in microwave on medium heat or in double boiler.
In electric mixer, cream together 8 Tbsp butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well after each addition. Pour in vinegar and melted chocolate, and mix well.
Slowly add flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared cake pans.
Bake 30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. 
Unmold the cakes.
Place 1 layer so bottom is facing up on platter. Spread 1/4 cup Cocoa Frosting on top of this layer. Place  second layer on top so tbottoms of layers are together, and frost  entire cake with remaining

Cocoa Frosting 

3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened 1 tsp (Madagascar) vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2–4 Tbsp milk

In electric mixer, stir together sugar, butter, vanilla, and cocoa. Add milk, a little at time, until desired consistency for frosting.

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