Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday and What There Was to Fry, and Bake

Sometimes I get such a craving for something (food wise. Makeup lust being something else all together) that I can't get it out of my head.  That thing is the Blackout Cake.  I recall eating this in my childhood and just how chocolately and rich it was.  It is a layered chocolate cake, with a chocolate pudding-y filling, a rich chocolate frosting topped by a crumb layer.  Apparently, this is a classic Brooklyn cake, made famous by Ebinger's which eventually went bust in 1972.  I only had the Entenmann's version but my memories of it was still sweet.  Recently, I was seeing it pop up in various places: a New York Magazine article, and most recently an NPR story.

That was it, it was time to tackle this cake.

Unfortunately, I am a pretty bad baker.  I am not a very precise person and the chemistry experiment that is the act of baking is really not where my skills are.  However, having moved a few years ago where I had the luxury of a larger kitchen (and room to make a mess), I started to take on baking.

 And not all turned out well or edible.  There was that time, my then kindergarten daughter had a friend over for a play date.  I thought it would be a nice activity to bake with them as an activity.  Baking with children seems like a great idea, but it's really not.  Keeping them entertained while keeping track of the recipe proved slightly beyond my skills.  Now I have many conversations with my daughter that start like this: "mommy, remember that one time you made a cake and you forgot the sugar?"

But cravings seem to obliterate any sense of reason which require making the cake, which includes 4 (YES FOUR) different types of chocolates, boiling water, whipped egg whites, assembling, crumbling, and making a pudding filling.

Everything went wrong.  All wrong.  The cake went into a 375 degree F oven, which I took care to cook for a shorter time because my oven tends to run very hot.  No matter, the cake was over cooked at the edges and turned into hard disks.  The pudding filling, which is thickened using cornstarch turned out super runny.  And then looking at the frosting, which was a giant pile of chocolate (hand chopped), melted over a double boiler, filled me with rage by the time assembled the cake.  I had chocolate cake crumbs everywhere.  Oozy pudding filling dribbled from the cake, and onto the counter.  Husband told me to calm the heck down and not to throw the cake away.

About 24 hours later:
I couldn't bear to do the crumb layer and the frosting (too much crying).  It was the richest, light, most delicious chocolate cake I've had.  It rivaled my childhood memory.  It wasn't pretty, but it was tasty.  Reader, it was divinity in chocolate form!  There, approximately four hours of my life was torturous but worth the effort.  Not sure I would make this again though.  If I did, I would lower my wonky oven temperature and watch the cake a bit more closely.  I would add more cornstarch to the filling to thicken some more.

With chocolate cake, of course there is fried chicken.  Buttermilk fried chicken.  I don't use any particular recipe, as I tend to throw in whatever seasoning I like at the time I'm making it.  Key of course is a great cooking vessel and I love any excuse to break out my large cast iron pan.
Oil with a high smoke point heated to about 350 degrees

 Chicken is soaked in buttermilk for many hours (overnight is great), with bay leaves, hefty amount of salt, black pepper, fresh chopped oregano (which I have because that's the only survior in my herb garden), lots of sweet paprika, and a big handful of a Emeril's seasoning mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders, and oregano.
Raw chicken looks gross
A seasoned flour mix is prepared in a giant Trader Joe's paper bag.  You can add whatever you like and even just salt and pepper is fine.  I added that, plus more paprika and more onion and garlic powders.

Trust me, the epic Tums in the background will come in handy later on.
 Here's my seasoned flour for dredging the chicken.  You throw a few chicken pieces at a time in there and give them a good shake.  Let out all your aggression from making that Blackout cake with the shaking. 

Here are all the chicken pieces ready to go.  I've used thighs with skin and bone in.  You can use breast meat but why?  Why when dark meat is so delicious and fatty?

Meanwhile, heat your oven to a low temperature (about 200 degrees F) to keep the pieces warm while you are cooking in batches.
Gently lower your chicken into the hot oil.  Please be careful, this is not a cooking method for the careless!  Watch the temperature, and make sure you remain around 350 or a bit higher.  Lower temperature will allow a lot of oil to seep into the fried food. 
After 10-12 minutes on each side, flip over gently with tongs to cook the other side for another 10 or so minutes.
It's important to check the internal temperature.  I use an instant read thermometer.  I aim for 160.  Thigh meat is very forgiving and less likely to overcook.  You can also check for doneness by poking through to the bone with a knife and seeing the color of the liquid coming out of the little hole.  It should run clear.

Cooked pieces are drained on a cooling rack placed above a baking tray.  Put the tray into your warm oven while you cook the rest of the pieces.
Shoo husband and children out of the kitchen (dangerous hot OIL!) because all they want to do it eat your cake and pick at the delicious crunchy chicken which fills the air with CHICKEN SMELLS!

My excuse for eating Blackout Cake & buttermilk fried chicken for Sunday dinner was, I was cooped inside the house all weekend.  I even shared cake and chicken with our friends.

What's your Sunday evening dinner favorites?

Blackout cake recipe here.

41 comments :

  1. Holy deliciousness!!!!! When are you making this again bc I'm coming over!!!! Ok, if you love chic cake I've got 2 amazing recipes for you...keep an eye on your email!!

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    1. When do you fly to NY? I shall put it on the menu for you. :)

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  2. I am the opposite - I can bake and make bread but ugh, cannot cook for the life of me. Active sport! NO.

    Fried chicken please? :D

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    1. Larie, you have the disciplined scientist background! I have no such thing! :) I agree on the NO ACTIVE SPORT proclamation, though. Chicken for you anytime.

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  3. When can I come over for that chicken?! Ugh, I'm so hungry right now. We've had marinated steak with sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts yesterday and I still have a bit left over - I think I'm going to eat it now, actually.

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    1. You can come over anytime for chicken and various sausages! :) I love a good marinade! My recent favorite marinade is sofrito, neutral oil, lots of salt/pepper plus a flank steak. Yum! And a nice big salad with lime dressing....
      I can tell, this is my lunch time because I am musing on food more than usual.

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  4. Both the cake and the chicken look delicious, really! (Please adopt me.) Big props to Mr. Belleh for seeing its true potential and saving the cake! :)

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    1. "Mr Belleh!!! I've adopted a Shryh!" "Mr Belleh! Shryh is hungry and needs some cake n' chikin!"

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    2. *meep* *meep* *chirp* *chirp*

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    3. This Shryh is so much work. *shoves more chikin in mouth*

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  5. OMG... Love this. Love the cake, love the chicken, love that you love all the fat. "Fat down in chicken and cake!!" : )

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    1. Seems more fun talking about chicken fat rather than grease on my oil-slick t zone!
      xoxox
      :)

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  6. Your blog makes me so happy; I can't help but smile every time I read it. Knowing there's someone who thinks like me and loves the same stuff makes me realize I'm not alone in this crazy world, lolol. And let's not forget the Suqqu lust!! Oh yeah, I have come home : )

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    1. I've come to realize the world is full of those like me. *chicken suqqu sisters* :D
      I'll keep a plate warm for you.

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  7. Droool drooool... forget Ezel's I'm going to Belly's! I think you've inspired me to take out my cast iron skillet. Yep, I need TUMS just looking at that lovely lovely golden brown chicken.

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    1. Surprisingly no heartburn or anything that evening. You know what put me right over the edge? Eating it for a second night. That made me feel gross. But still worth it. :) Claire, you & the rest of the lorps need to come over for some. And some more cake.

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  8. Curse you woman for posting all those delicious foods! You should know that I don't have access to a proper over or decent size chicken to recreate all that deliciousness >;) I'm salivating now and my stomach is growling, how about swapping some Japanese beauty products for a fedex bag of Chicken :P

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    1. Oh Liz! Dang Japan and its delicate little chickens. We have chickens the size of brontosauruses. I'd like to fry one of those giant turkey legs they have at Disney. I wonder... the rest of the bird must be like 100lbs or something to have legs that large. :) Yum.

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  9. This is the most delicious blog post in the history of internet. Typing is the only reason I am not licking my ipad. Now comment is done, all bets are off.

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    1. It's too late, LVS. I've already licked all the fried chicken in anticipation of your drool assault. Mine. mineminemineminemine. Allll mine.

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  10. Belly, you're making me want fried food which I cannot eat that often! Lol

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    1. Anne, I would like to pretend I eat stuff like this rarely. :) heh heh.

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  11. Chocolate and fried chicken!?!? Now thats the proper way to live! Haven't baked since I made around 4 dozen cupcakes to use up ingredients taking up space in my sad little pantry, and had to wolf down more than a dozen myself. I may have developed a slight cupcake-phobia since..

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    1. Can you please tell me how this is a plausible story???!!! Noodlies. why in the world does one need to clean up the pantry for some space. What are you doing, making room for dead bodies or something? ;)
      Cupcakes are for small children. Large 9" cakes are for people with a dream, dream of large chocolate cakes. Did you really eat a dozen ccs in one sitting?!! *bows down* Hmm, you maybe a force to be reckoned with.

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  12. Looks SO GOOD!!!! (even the cake :P) actually i have a cast iron but i never think to deep fry it in. im too afraid of all that oil bubbling away.
    Jenn
    A Beautiful Zen

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    1. Cake was a lot more tastier than it's looks would indicate! Deep frying is a little scary, but the results are so golden brown and delicious. :)))

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  13. I think I've died and gone to Heaven with your Sunday menu. I can smell that chicken, and taste that cake. Wonderfully descriptive language you have! That cake, in deliciousness, sounds like my favorite called "Saturday Cake." I don't make it too often 'cause I'm just plain lazy in the kitchen.

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    1. Is it Saturday Cake because you need a big stretch of free time to make it? Blackout cake is not a leisurly undertaking! *wipes sweat from brows*
      I have to make my own fried chicken because husband refuses to go out and buy Popeyes for me!

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  14. You did it Belly!! You actually blogged about baking & frying, and sent me into hysterics and i'm droooooling away here! I've always been meaning to bake, the idea of it sounds simple enough, but the last time i made a cake, it turned out hollow at the top and sunk! ROFLL!!! Great fun! Can't wait for a jambalaya recipe from you next!

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    1. I need to blog about what I'm thinking about. Seems like a 50 50 split between makeup and fried foods. The other 50% on chocolate. :)
      What in the world happend to your cake! If anything it domes and rises in the center more! :) You're a baking magician! Defying the law of physics? Chemistry? I dunno what science that is, my science knowledge rather poor.

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    2. I wished I knew, Belly.... I always believed in my inner chef goddess... but apparently gravity prevails! But tiramisu, THAT I can make, and a mean one at that (just bring on the kahlua and cocoa powder!). I am seriously craving for some Popeyes' fried chicken now!!!

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  15. This chocolate cake looks like great challenge to attempt, recipe please :) I'm terrified of deep frying, I had an accident a few years ago, the scar is still around and that was just from a frying pan with some oil.

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    1. The cake recipe is a link on the bottom of the page! :) It took some hours, and probably more than my baking skillset, but it was really really rich and delicious. Everything is measured in cups/spoons, which is annoying for bakers in other parts of the world. So much butter and chocolate in that thing, it is off the charts rich.

      I don't blame you on the deep frying fear! It IS pretty dangerous and accidents can happen. I get fear seizures if my kids get within 20 feet of the hot pan.

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  16. Replies
    1. :) chicken! I do love some fried chicken.

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  17. Giiiirrrrllll! Did you see my Instagram from last week? I do believe I tweeted it to you, fried chicken I prepared, because of you I did!!! Buttermilk baby! Yeahhh! Now that chocolate cake looks aaaamaaazing!!! Took bad I didn't know what time supper was at coz I woulda come knocking! :D

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    1. :) why not invite me over to gnaw on your luscious dumsticks? that's not weird innuendo... I think.

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