Sunday, 20 November 2016

11:51 – We had a blizzard last night, except for the snow part. The low was about 23F (-5C), with winds gusting to 60 MPH (100 KPH). That made the wind chill not far above absolute zero.

We’d run out of homemade bread, so we decided to bake a couple of large loaves yesterday. Since we were messing up the kitchen and heating the oven anyway, we decided also to make a chocolate cake. As usual, my go-to source for any recipe involving flour and baking is King Arthur Flour. We decided on this recipe. Originally, I planned to make the optional icing as well, but Barbara suggested we try it without the icing first. I’m glad she mentioned that, because as it turned out the cake was fine without frosting.

Here are the ingredients we used, all from long-term storage:

□ Flour, 1.5 cups (6.25 oz., 177 grams)
□ Sugar, 1 cup (7 oz., 198 g)
□ Cocoa powder, 0.25 cup (0.75 oz., 21 g)
□ Salt, 0.5 tsp
□ Baking soda, 1 tsp
□ Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
□ Vinegar, 1 Tbsp (0.5 oz., 14 g)
□ Vegetable oil, 0.33 cup (2.625 oz., 74 g)
□ Water, 1 cup (8 oz., 227 g)

Making it up takes only a few minutes. Here’s what we did:

0. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square baking pan that’s at least 2″ deep.

1. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Combine the vanilla extract, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly. Immediately pour the batter into the greased 8″ baking pan and place the pan in the 350F preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

The original recipe used all-purpose flour. We used bread flour, which is the only kind we store. I was initially surprised by how little cocoa was called for. When we mixed the dry powders, the result was a light tan color rather than the dark brown of a typical chocolate cake. But when it came out of the oven, it had turned dark brown as expected, and had plenty of chocolate flavor.

I’d also wondered about using bread flour, which is much higher in protein (gluten) than all-purpose, let alone low-protein pastry flour. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the cake had turned out brick-like, but it was just as good as the one Barbara had bought at the supermarket a couple of days ago.

We had four 24-ounce (680 g) cannisters of cocoa powder in LTS. Looking at them, I figured we might get a half dozen chocolate cakes out of each. As it turns out, each cannister is enough for 32 of these pan cakes, so we have enough for 128 of them. Well, 127 now.

26 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 20 November 2016"

  1. nick flandrey says:

    Wife is getting the menu and shopping list together for Tgiving.

    Sent me out to see if we had butter. I opened the freezer and thought “Hmm, guess I haven’t been buying enough butter lately.” In fact we have 24 pounds of salted and 4 pounds of unsalted.

    Sent me to see if we had chicken broth… more than 2 gallons.


    (and another 8 pounds of butter in the house, which, to be fair, we go thru at about 2 pounds a week)

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, we’re down to 20 pounds of butter in the big freezer. Next Costco run, I’ll pick up another 40 pounds.

  3. Ray Thompson says:

    We might go through a pound of butter a month. That is a heavy use month for us. I have never been a fan of butter. We even made our own butter on the farm and I still did not like it.

  4. nick flandrey says:

    Butter makes everything better.


  5. Miles_Teg says:

    I use margarine wherever possible. Take it from the fridge and it spreads easily. Butter needs to warm up for a while.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    You don’t need to refrigerate either.

  7. MrAtoz says:

    I use a “butter bell”. The butter cup is inverted and the bottom portion has water to seal it in. It does just fine for several weeks and is always spreadable.

  8. nick flandrey says:

    We just leave ours on the counter in a covered butter dish. It never lasts long enough to go rancid.

    I’ve got a couple of cans of butter but haven’t tried them. I suppose I should, but they are expensive.


  9. Dave Hardy says:

    Rain has changed to snow here;  we’re about to get 4-6 inches, maybe, over the next 24 hours, with northern NY getting three times that.  Very first frost and/or snow this year. 

    I like lightly salted buttah. Wife likes fancy organic buttah. Unsalted buttah for desserts, of course. And raisin toast.

    Wife drinks coffee and tea; I don’t drink either. She’s particular about both, and drinks the coffee black.

  10. nick flandrey says:

    Yea! I just checked my ‘window boxes’ and I’ve got sprouting… Beats radish and turnip so far, and maybe some spring onions. Seems fast but I guess it’s been most of a week.

    Got a campfire going to burn some sticks that came down in the high wind we’ve had for the last couple of days. Went thru laying a fire with the kids again. Baking in some ‘hobo pie’ makers that appear to be cast iron.

    going thru crap in the garage too. Need to find more storage, so some stuff that made the cut last time, won’t.

  11. SteveF says:

    I put up a bunch of hanging shelves in our garage. A bit under 4′ square. They’re mounted to the joists and are rated to hold a couple hundred pounds.

  12. nick flandrey says:

    Got the side raised bed turned over and fortified with political rhetoric and potting soil.

    Burned some brush cuttings a bit at a time in the fire pit. Take that city EPA.

    Found some stuff I forgot about for Craigslist.

    Feels like just puttering around, but work is getting done.


  13. Jenny says:

    Puking 4 year old. Tired, started about 3 am. Last puke was 6 hours ago. She kept down the white of a poached egg so calling that improvement. No fever looks like run of the mill stomach bug. Tired.

    Prepping fail – no ginger ale or 7 up in pantry.

    Glad we can just run to the store…

  14. Miles_Teg says:

    I and everyone else in my family always store butter and margarine in the fridge. Always have, always will. When I dine at restaurants the butter is often served cold and hard. Drives me nuts.

    I could never, under any circumstances, drink black coffee. Black tea is drinkable but both are better with milk.

  15. nick flandrey says:

    My 5yo pukes in the car. We had a solid pint come up during our trip this weekend. Other than car sick, neither kid is much of a puker. Dear old dad has them both beat….

    I always have ginger ale but that’s cuz it’s my Moxie. Drink some every night. (occasionally mix it up with a creme soda, or my current flavor, Apple Slice.) Our grocery has limited time flavors in their house brand soda. Watermelon is ok, pumpkin spice has some appeal, maple creme is interesting, but my fav is Apple Slice.

    These are ‘the good old days’ so live it up a bit.


  16. DadCooks says:

    @Jenny, the joys of parenthood. Even though mine are in their 30s they still come to mom when they are sick. Hope your daughter is feeling better soon.

    @Miles, I’m with you on not drinking black coffee. On the submarine we had lots of CoffeeMate and an ice cream machine (hooked into the vital buss 😉 ) so us rough tough submariners were sissified with “cream” in our coffee. Of course the really old salts had to have it black and bitter, they would add a spoon of that mil-spec instant coffee to our brewed Kona to “thicken” it up.

    We use a lot of butter so there is a covered butter dish out all the time. Our Costco has Kerrygold Butter from Ireland. It is from cows that are grazed on that lush Irish turf. Best butter I can remember. Costco just had a sale on it last week, loaded the freezer.

    Drizzling rain all day today so I changed all the wiper blades on all the cars (I do it every 6-months) so with them all being recently serviced all our vehicles are ready for winter. Oh, and I did a test run of the snowblower. It has a plug-in electric start and fired up as soon as I touched the start button.

  17. Dave Hardy says:

    Still snowing here, potential winta wundah-land.

    Zero prepping got done here today. Other than me thinking about it.

    Start whine: Awaiting a call from the VA tomorrow as to what time they can take me for another shot on Tuesday; typical m.o. is to call here real early and then ask if I can make it for O-Dark-Thirty down there, when it’s a two-hour drive from here, which means both of us end up losing sleep which we find, for some odd reason, increasingly valuable as we get older. Without enough sleep, systems start to run down, and become vulnerable to all kinds of chit. i.e., in other words, to make a 7:00 AM slot, we’d have to get up at 04:00 here and leave at 05:00. We’ve done it before for airline flights and other stuff but losing half a night’s sleep sucks rocks. End of whine.

    Start of minor political rant: Looks like Cheeto-Head-Elect is already vetting and lining up a bunch of has-been asshole neocons for Cabinet positions, so there goes my hope for avoiding another goddamned war. Neocons like nothing better than sending Other Peoples’ Kids to more useless overseas adventures for the Empire. End of minor political rant.

  18. lynn says:

    These are ‘the good old days’ so live it up a bit.

    Yes, they are. Soy Nog is out again for us with milk allergies.

    And the best coffee is black. Unless it is Saturday and I can throw in some International Delight White Chocolate Mocca. Yes, I am a pansy but just on Saturdays, that stuff is too rich for everyday.

  19. ech says:

    Unsalted butter here. Best for cooking.

  20. H. Combs says:

    I was raised on a small family dairy farm. Helped dad milk and separate and I remember churning butter in one of those old glass jar churns with the big crank and the wooden paddles when I was small. I have always been a butter connoisseur. Living in England I tried a variety of specially butters, finally settling on Kerry Gold Irish butter as the best value butter. The in New Zealand I worked in IT for Fonterra, the huge New Zealand dairy Co Op that distributes about 30% of the world’s dairy products. I learned that most dairy products are shipped as milk solids then reconstituted and processed in the target country.
    I keep about 24 pounds of butter in the freezers at any time, more over the holidays. I HATE margarine and recently read it is not healthy.
    I buy my butter at the Indian food stores in Oklahoma and get a healthy discount. We usually bring back 10 to 12 pounds each trip.

  21. nick flandrey says:

    Our standard is the blue costco butter, lightly salted. I grew up on Land O Lakes butter.

    I’ll have to give the Kerrygold a try. I see it in the case, and wondered why anyone would pay more for it.

    Margarine has a particular flavor and some things don’t taste right unless you use it. I’m thinking especially of Cuban sandwiches and cuban bread toasted with hamon and huevos for breakfast.

    I ate tubs of Shed’s Spread (not even margarine, cheaper) instead of butter when I was a poor student. Eating real butter is one of the things I promised myself during that time. Never being cold in my own home was another.


  22. nick flandrey says:

    As far as prepping goes, I figure I’ll eat the frozen, and the canned, and substitute peanut oil in recipes whenever possible.


    (oh, and I like my coffee sweet with loads of heavy whipping cream. I want it so thick that butter solids form and sometimes I get pools of butter on the top of my coffee. The cream our costco sells will turn to butter in the bottle during transport if they don’t get the fill right. Nice plug of unsalted butter in the neck, right into my coffee cup….)

  23. DadCooks says:

    WRT Kerrygold butter: yes it is expensive and to appreciate its flavor I recommend you only use it as a spread and on vegetables and potatoes (baked or mashed). For baking or using in a pan for frying we us Costco’s Organic Butter.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD, I take it then that you’re not a fan of Condoleezza Rice… 🙂

  25. Dave says:

    OFD, I take it then that you’re not a fan of Condoleezza Rice…

    I don’t know about the other Dave, but I think she’s a talented piano player.

  26. Dave Hardy says:

    She’s a great piano player but politically a Bush Crime Family neocon.

Comments are closed.