The food: Everyday chocolate cake
Last weekend, in conjunction with the Jane’s Walk program , I led a Heritage Toronto walking tour called Hidden Treasures in North Rosedale. This was the 4th time I gave the tour, which I researched and developed in 2003, the year my novel The Glenwood Treasure, a mystery set in the Toronto neighbourhoods of Rosedale and Moore Park, was published.
One of the tour stops is Rosedale Park, site of the first Grey Cup Game in 1909. 12,000 people attended the semi-final game at the park between Toronto Varsity and Ottawa back in ’09! These days, Rosedale Park is more quiet, attracting a few hundred people for kids’ soccer games on spring and fall weekends, but once a year, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, it hosts an annual fair that attracts thousands.
Mayfair, a community fundraising event for the local Mooredale House community organization, features carnival rides, games, food concessions, a flea market, and – wait for it – a home baking booth.
I hit up the booth every year, mainly in search of a certain delicious, airy, golden yellow banana cake that I once bought slices of there (baker unknown) ten or so years ago, and have never seen again since. (I haven’t been able to find a recipe that yields the cake of my memory either.)
This year I bought some chocolate chip cookies and pecan brownies and took them over to my mother’s house for Mother’s Day lunch.
For my own Mother’s Day celebration, though, I made my favorite everyday chocolate cake, using a recipe I cut out of a Canadian magazine 15 or 20 years ago (I’d credit the source if I knew it, but I’m working from an ancient clipping here). It’s an easy recipe, lowish in fat, and it’s made in a saucepan – no need to get out the electric mixer. It has a great dark chocolate colour, the light, airy texture I like, and it’s great with berries. When I top it with a simple icing made of icing sugar, milk and a little vanilla, it reminds me of the cakes my grandmother used to make for everyday consumption when I was a kid. But that’s another story.
Everyday Chocolate Cake
¼ c. cocoa
½ c. water
½ c. milk
¼ c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
In heavy saucepan, combine cocoa, milk and water; whisk until smooth. Bring just to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat egg lightly; whisk into chocolate mixture. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into chocolate mixture, whisking just until smooth. Pour into greased 8-inch square cake pan. (I used an 8” round pan because that’s all I had!) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes until tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan. Frost top when cool with icing made by beating together 1 ½ c. icing sugar, with 3-4 T. milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
Here it is again: