Sunday Fun Day!

KLou, Laura and I were recently sitting in my backyard celebrating nothing except three wonderful friends getting together for a homemade happy hour.  We chatted, laughed, and discovered that “Young MC” is the best Pandora radio station ever! (Seriously, ever!)

We decided that the three of us, plus significant others needed to hang out, ASAP.  So we elected KLou to host with Laura and me supporting where needed.

KLou had handmade beef (from an organic/grass fed/etc. cow that she an Mike purchased) and salmon sliders ready to grill in addition to grilled veggies and enticing appetizers.  This is all in accompaniment to her “KLou Deliciousness” (a lovely cocktail drink made to make her guests feel welcome).

My contributions were a “lettuce tray” which I never ended up creating.  I bought a head of butter lettuce and a head of red ‘something or other’ type of lettuce which covered all lettuce/burger tastes.

I also brought a southern cake, baked for a southern lady (KLou), in a southern home (both Kristi and Mike are from the South), while rocking out to a southern country singer.

KLou is one of the ultimate southern hostesses so I chose to bake a southern chocolate cake and danced around to an awesome southern singer/song writer, Chris Stapleton, as the cake came together.  I’m not gonna lie… I was dancing around the kitchen like I was on stage with Chris himself, singing my heart out!

The cake turned out great!  Except for the fact that I lost 1/3 of the cake layers because of sticky cake pans.  Paul enthusiastically helped me flour the well-greased cake pans, and he did a great job doing so.  However I didn’t grease one of the pans well enough, and we tragically lost a layer of cake.  Damn greasing and flouring cake pans!  I hate doing this imperative step, and of course did so carelessly even with Paul’s help.

Lucky enough, 2/3 of the layers turned out beautifully.  So rather than a three layer cake, we ended up with two layers.  This is a crazy  rich cake with the amount of chocolate and whipped cream.  In truth, I think two layers is better than three.  Regardless, this cake will be a hit so enjoy!

Helen Hudson Whiting’s Celestial Chocolate Cake (care of Southern Cakes)

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CAKE INGREDIENTS:  2 cups boiling water, 1 cup cocoa, 2 3/4 all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup (two sticks butter), 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 eggs

CAKE DIRECTIONS:  Pour the boiling water over the cocoa and stir well with a fork until smooth, and set aside to cool.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir with a fork to mix well.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined.  Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one until the mixture is smooth and light.  Add the flour mixture in 4 batches, beating after each addition only until the flour disappears.  Add the cocoa mixture in 3 batches, beating just enough after each addition to combine everything into a smooth, luscious batter, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

FILLING INGREDIENTS:  1 cup very cold heavy cream or whipping cream, 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FILLING DIRECTIONS:  In a medium bowl, combine the whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla, and beat until this and luscious.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to complete the cake.

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:  One 16 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 3/4 cups), 1/2 heavy cream or whipping cream, 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks, 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:  In a medium sauce-pan, combine the chocolate chips, cream, and butter.  Cook gently over medium heat, stirring often  to help the butter and chocolate melt, and to avoid letting the mixture come to a boil.  When the chocolate and butter have melted, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and let cool to room temperature.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat well with a mixture at medium speed until thick enough to spread, stopping often to scrape down the bowl.

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