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Friday, November 18, 2011

Chocolate Frosting and Food Snobs

Chocolate Frosting and Food Snobs

Me? A food snob? Not really…I’ll admit, I do love the heirloom tomatoes and the baby white turnips and everything from the organic farm, but I’m not above using a cake mix in a pinch. But puh-lease do not use frosting from a can?  Ever. It’s just not worth it – the calories, the effort, anything! It tastes artificial, grainy and bad, and furthermore, it’s too soft to decorate with too.

This week I made three desserts for staff birthdays. One was the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn – just devil’s food cake mix, 21 oz. cherry pie filling, 2 eggs and ½ teaspoon of almond extract. Mix as usual and bake. I happen to have a 12 inch round cake pan (because I made my own wedding cake – I know, what was I thinking), so I made it in that instead of a 13 x 9 pan because I thought it would look more festive.

But the frosting, ahh the frosting…it was delicious. It was from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. Rich, chocolatey, and decadent, but definitely not lo-cal and yes, a little time consuming. After all, it’s Martha, what do you expect?

Here follows two good chocolate frosting recipes: the aforementioned one from Martha, and the other from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. The ATK recipe my daughter made for me for my birthday (I'm trying to lose a few pounds, especially before the holidays!), and it was really delicious, and, as she says, “insanely easy” and “more like 3 minutes”.

Five Minute Lowfat Chocolate Frosting, adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder – preferably Dutch processed*
7 Tablespoons 1 percent lowfat milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate (microwave it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, pulse the sugar and cocoa together until mixed. Add everything else. Process until smooth.
(130 calories per 2 Tablespoons.)

* Note: Dutch processed cocoa tastes better and blends better than regular cocoa powder – you can buy Dutch processed Rademaker unsweetened cocoa at Wegman’s, or Droste or Lindt from a gourmet store; failing that, use Hershey’s regular unsweetened cocoa powder.

And now for the full fat version:

Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting, adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

8 oz. (2 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder – Dutch processed (see note above)
¼ teaspoons salt
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (temp is very important here)
¾ stick (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temp
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted in a double boiler, and cooled for 20 minutes
¾ cup sour cream, room temperature

Sift together the dry ingredients – sugar, cocoa and salt.

Beat cream cheese and butter together at medium high speed in a mixer until pale and fluffy. On low speed, add the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Then add the cooled chocolate and the sour cream and beat on high until smooth.   (Enjoy in moderation - ha!)

It’s hard not to like a chocolate cake with a great frosting.  Be sure to err on the side of underbaking with a chocolate cake, though:  3 - 5 minutes less will do.  A chocolate cake should not be dry.

 And just between you and me - don’t tell anyone it’s from a mix!

(All of the above mentioned books are available in our Library.)

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Little White Liar

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Diane! The staff loved all of your cakes! Can't wait until the next quaterly celebration...springtime cakes!