Today is National Chocolate Cake Day (and my nephew's fifth birthday), so I felt like celebrating. Not content to go with the standard chocolate box cake or even the secret family recipe (that isn't so secret or that phenomenal), I went on the hunt for ways to spruce up a box mix. I narrowed it down to two recipes, one of which is tried and true and other which is an experiment. I presented both options to my husband. "Honey, do you want better-than-sex or ho-ho?" You should have seen the expression on his face. What options! He went with the ho-ho (not sure how to take that!). So, I present to you the Ever So Decadent and Absolutely Sinful Ho-Ho Cake.
Ever So Decadent and Absolutely Sinful Ho-Ho Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix
5 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 tsp hot water
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 3/4 cups confectioner sugar
Dash of salt
1. Prepare cake mix according to box instruction. Pour into greased jelly roll pan and spread to the edges. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until firmly set. Cool completely.
2. Combine flour and milk in saucepan. Cook or medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add 3 tsp vanilla, almond extract and dash of salt. Cool completely.
3. Cream 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup softened margarine, shortening and butter extract. Add cooled milk mixture and beat until fully incorporated.
4. Slice cake into four equal parts. Frost bottom section of cake with cream mixture. Layer the second layer and frost. Repeat with the third layer. Top with the final layer of cake and refrigerate.
5. In a small bowl, beat egg. Stir in vanilla, melted chocolate, hot water, confectioner sugar, 1/2 cup melted margarine and dash of salt until blended. Pour over cake and refrigerate.
Lessons learned: This cake is phenomenally good and yet so bad for you. I had originally hoped to roll the cake, but I baked it for 15 minutes, which wasn't quite long enough for it to hold its form, so I layered it instead. I think I liked the result better anyhow.
On the website where I found the original recipe, everyone complained about how bland the creamed mixture was. I solved that problem with some vanilla, almond extract, butter flavoring and a dash of salt (which I've included in this version of the recipe). I didn't do exact measurements on those, so just play with it until you like the taste. I was amazed at how the milk mixture made the frosting so creamy. I had expected a slight grit from the sugar, but it wasn't there.
For the chocolate frosting, if you're skittish about using a raw egg, go with Egg Beaters. I did. The original recipe didn't call for salt, but I recently read that when cooking with chocolate, a dash of salt will help mellow the bitterness and bring out the true flavor of the chocolate.
I didn't bother refrigerating the cake because I didn't want to wait until midnight to eat it. We will definitely be making this cake again.