Occasionally I have taken a hiatus from posting to this blog but not without good reason.

The past two years have been a roller coaster.  Full of joys and sorrows.

We have warmly welcomed two new members to our family.

Chips and Salsa

But we have lost far more than our share.

My inspirational sister-in-law, Bunny  (1981-2010) and I shared a love for baking.  Her “sweets” recipes are some of the best.

My dear mother-in-law, Kathy (1947-2011) was a gracious hostess and talented cook.  Many of my favorite recipes are handed down from her.

Most recently, we lost the cyclist’s courageous brother Matt (1970-2012)*.  He helped me to cultivate an appreciation for homegrown produce (especially tomatoes) and he introduced me to the world of delicious, spicy food…including the combination of chocolate and chile.

 This is a variation on a favorite chocolate cake from Peacocks on my Porch. If you omit the cinnamon and cayenne, you have a moist, delicious, everyday chocolate cake. One you can take to parties, picnics and potlucks. The addition of the spices gives it just a little oomph. A little warming on the back of your tongue.

Try it.

You’ll like it. I know Matt would.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you know I never plan ahead…1 T of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup…add milk to the 1 cup mark.  let sit 5 minutes to curdle)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup hot hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 13″x9″ baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, soda, cinnamon and cayenne (start with 1/4 tsp cayenne…you can adjust when the batter is all combined). Add in oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Stir gently. Add hot water. Pour into pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-6 T milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar gradually, add vanilla and cinnamon. Add milk and beat until you attain your desired consistency (I generally start with 4 T [1/4 cup] then add 1 T at a time).  Frost cooled cake. (This frosting is also delicious on graham crackers.)

If desired, grate a little chocolate over the top.

Store remaining cake covered in the refrigerator.  You’ll be amazed how good it is the second day.

 

 

*After being diagnosed with a rare but aggresive sarcoma, Matt had his leg amputated and within 10 months was competing in the USA paracycling Nationals. Matt placed well enough to earn a spot to race at Paracycling Worlds in Denmark in 2011. He was training this year in hopes of making the Paralympics this summer in England.


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