I know one thing for certain. I will never be half the baker my Sara was. Despite this, perhaps because I was missing her, or perhaps becuase the Greater Boston area was being blanketed in heavy wet snow and moderate winds I was inspired to bake. And after baking, I was inspired to share it with you.
I used the Dunkan Hines Chocolate Fudge cake mix and recipe as a starting point. Here are changes to the ingredients used:
- Instead of 1 1/3 cups of water, use only 1 cup of water
- Add 1/3 Cup of Kahlua
- Add one half to one cup of chopped pecans.
Additionally, I suggest:
- Kitchen scale
- Spray can of canola oil or other vegetable oil
- Flour sifter
- Oven thermometer
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat oven according to the recipe. If you have never guaged your oven thermostat, you should do this at least once by buying an inexpensive oven thermometer. Even a 10 to 20 degree difference in oven temperature can throw off a recipe. The cheapest thermometers are usually better than most oven thermostats.
- Spray the canola oil on the pans. Seriously, I have NEVER had such an easy time buttering pans before this. Worked perfectly, and is a huge time/calorie/mess saver. Don't try to saturate the pan as if you were spray painting. A couple of quick passes per pan and you'll be done.
- If you have a flour sifter, sift 3-4 tablespoons of flour into one of the baking pans. Sifting will prevent waste from little flour lumps.
- Shake the flour around the pan until it's well coated
- Shake off remaining flour into second pan, and coat it the same way. Shake off and discard excess.
- Blend cake mix and wet ingredients (eggs, water, oil, Kahlua) together according to recipe.
- When done mixing, add pecans using low speed, just until the pecans seem well incorporated.
- Pour mix into the pans. Now maybe I totally messed this up but it seems to me that with the Kahlua the cake gets a lot fluffier than without it, so any mismatch in the amount of batter in each pan to be exagerrated. If you can, weigh your pans to be sure you have evenly divided the batter in each before baking. Also, shake them a little to make sure they level off. Otherwise this may happen:
- Bake in center rack, according to recipe, with space all around each pan so the heat can flow eavenly around both pans.
- Remove/cool/frost per recipe.
The cake will be very very soft, so if you cool on a rack you will have to be very careful when removing. Also becuase of the softness it needs to be completely cool before frosting.
The Kahlua is subtle in this amount, but I think it gives it a hidden richness. Perhaps if I did it again I would add more Kahlua and closer to a cup of pecans.
Let me know what you think.