Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Chocolate Birthday Cake

Do you find it cool that today is a "free" day? It's elusive this concept that a year is really not 365 days, but 365 and a little bit. That little bit extra shows up in our lives every fourth year in the form of a whole 'nother day. Deep.

I don't think I did anything today to really take advantage of my free day. I did contemplate what it would be like if my birthday fell on February 29th. It would have made me reaalllly popular in elementary school I'm sure, since its a pretty cool thing that your birthday isn't part of the calendar year three times out of every four years. 

However, the logistics of the birthday really kind of blows my mind. I mean how do these poor/extremely cool people celebrate? Do you just have one major-major party once every four years? Or do you more have a quarter party where you take the last few hours from the 28th and the first few from March 1st and just celebrate in the confined hours that take place around your birthday for the years that don't have a February 29th in their repertoire.

It is one of those philosophical hmm's that really just begs the question, if we get a birthday every year, why do we complain about getting older?! Imagine if the calendar skipped your birthday 75% of the time? I would so not be okay with that.
Well in honour of the day that only happens once in a blue moon (a blue moon comes around once every four years right?), let's make a fantastic chocolate birthday cake. 

And I will let you in on a little secret (because baker's are such gossips and can't hold anything inside): I started baking this cake and realized I had zero milk. Of course the recipe calls for milk! So I got creative and used yogurt. I'm not going to lie, although I didn't taste the cake made the other way, but the yogurt made it better. Period.

I also didn't ice the cake, but left the suggestion in there in case you wanted to get fancy.


The Best Chocolate Cake (adapted from Eating Well)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup, heaping, fat free yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot black coffee  
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp low fat milk

1. Preheat over to 350 F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add yogurt, lemon juice, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined (the batter will be quite thick at this point). Add the hot coffee and whisk to combine. Beat with electric mixer until well combined and the batter is bubbly.
3. Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 1o minutes prior to removing it from the pan. After 10 minutes remove from the pan to let it cool completely.
4. If you are going to make the icing, now is the time. Combine the ingredients, adding enough of the milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake. Serve with strawberries or whipped cream. 

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