Monday, July 6, 2009

Banished From the Garden (and well worth it) Chocolate Cake



While I have been known to stay in the garden long enough to merit a search party, when I do make my way back to the house it's often to stir up delicious trouble in the kitchen. Friends, for your next garden party, you are welcome to use my personal recipe for Banished From the Garden (And Well Worth It) Chocolate Cake. While it's tempting to say that this was a recipe carried close to the bosom of generations of pleasure-seeking, garden-loving matrons, I think the first ingredient would give me away...



Banished From the Garden (But Well Worth It) Chocolate Cake

1 box Chocolate Cake mix (your favorite, any sort)
Brandy
Vegetable oil and eggs

Mix will call for approx 1-1/3 cups of water -- Substitute entirely with brandy and stir together with remaining ingredients as directed on box.
Bake in greased standard loaf pan (approx 9"x5"x3") until knife inserted through top comes out clean -- this will be much longer than you think it should be; (approx. 60 minutes), leaving plenty of time to gather a table arrangement, put away your gardening shoes, re-pin your hair, and mix up the toppings below.

Simple But Essential Brandy Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tblspn butter
1/2 Tblspn vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy

In a saucepan, combine sugar with 1/4 cup water. Stir constantly over med-high heat, gradually bringing to a boil. Keep boiling until sugar is dissolved (up to 5 mins). Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and brandy. Done!
Note: I sometimes double or triple the recipe and keep it in a glass container in the refrigerator. Easy enough to warm up in the microwave when needed & lasts forever.

'Well, I'll Be Whipped' Cream Filling
1 container non-dairy whipped topping
+/- 4 Tblspns (to taste) Amaretto
1 Tspn Angostura bitters
Whip together until well blended

Slice cool cake horizontally into 4 layers (top will be oddly shaped crusty cap).
Brush brandy sauce liberally onto both sides of each layer.
Place bottom layer on serving plate, spread 1" of whipped topping over it, top with next layer and repeat until finished. Tumble seasonal berries on top and around base of cake, drizzle with brandy sauce for effect, and serve in the garden.

I love the simplicity of this cake; and, using whatever berries or fruits are in season, whether they are from the farmer's market or my own garden, makes it a special treat for your guests every time. Enjoy!

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