Island Cooking: More Misadventures in Baking

Once again I had the urge to try my hand at baking, a skill – as most of you know – that eludes me. A coworker was having a birthday so I decided to make a homemade chocolaty chocolate cake from scratch.


I got out all the ingredients; I was a little short on the chocolate chips, but I figured a box of chocolate pudding might help. I even measured all ingredients to the best of my ability. I just don’t measure them exactly like I am supposed to. I can’t seem to break the habit of trying to throw that extra dash of flour, salt, butter or whatever into the bowl. It usually works out when I’m just cooking – not so much when baking.

After deciding it was going to be a bundt cake and spending 20 minutes looking for the pan (but not finding it, only one that was too small), I decided to use an angel food cake pan. Note to self: Buy a bigger bundt pan – angel food cake pans just don’t work for this cake.

I mixed up everything and had to get a spatula to put it in the pan, no pouring here. The cake was supposed to cook for 45 to 55 minutes and I turned on the timer. When it was time to check the cake, I did the usual checking with the toothpick and it was perfect in some areas but undercooked in others, a fact I attributed to all the chocolate chips, pudding and extras I put in. So I took it out of the oven.

This is the point where everyone starts emerging from their bedrooms (because of the delicious chocolate cake smell) under the pretense of collecting the laundry that I have been yelling about for at least a week. Even I used that one when I was a kid and smelled cake.

So after threatening that if anyone touched this cake there would be serious problems, I left it to cool. When I returned after watching a riveting hour of my favorite show, “Deadliest Catch,” I found to my horror that the cake had deflated to half its original size.

But let me tell you, there was no way I was going to start over. So I sucked it up and hoped it would work out. I took the poor cake to work the next day and presented it to the birthday girl. And bless her heart, she said it was the thought that counts. And then we got to try it.

Who knew when you add a box of pudding to a cake and undercook it, that it makes a soft pudding that isn’t mixed well? One coworker couldn’t get past the hard/soft texture. Another loved the bitter taste, which resulted because I forgot to add sugar. And yet another coworker loved it because he loves chocolate.

Another lucky coworker got lucky and had to leave the office early, so he didn’t get any; and yet another can’t eat sweets.

I am determined that I will successfully bake a cake one day. Maybe next time I’ll try a pineapple upside down cake, I’ll let you know!


This week’s cocktail continues with the chocolate theme. For a relaxing chocolate fix, try this. You’ll love it!


Relaxing Chocolate Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz. cognac
  • 1 oz. Amaretto
  • Dash of chocolate syrup

Fill a pint glass with ice. Add all ingredients. Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass.


And continuing with the chocolate them, here’s a quick and easy recipe for brownies when you need a speedy sweet fix.


Easy Chocolate Brownies

  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Nuts (optional)

Mix melted chocolate and butter together. Add eggs, flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour in 8×8-inch pan which has been greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


Chocolate Drop Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 squares chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Sift flour, soda, salt and baking powder together. Melt chocolate. Cream butter; add sugar, unbeaten egg and vanilla. Add melted chocolate. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Drop by teaspoons, about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

These are really good with your favorite frosting too!


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