Apparently, there’s some kind of rule this month that Fridays have to be vile, rainy and cold and windy. Two weeks in a row is probably just a coincidence, but my conspiracy-theorist heart is deeply suspicious.
I am determined not to let Friday beat me, and so I spent the morning tromping around, buying people presents, and came home (soaked and freezing) to take the hottest shower I could stand and make cake. I got this recipe way back in February, in the 14 Valentines celebration, and it seemed appropriate, because if you looked out the window today (or went outside), it was February to the naked eye.
Unfortunately, this chocolate buttermilk cake is not an instant-gratification cake; it doesn’t pay to lick the bowl. I’m not sure why, but the batter is almost bitter — maybe the buttermilk and the cocoa? — and produces a really unpleasant sensation at the back of the throat. It is, however, made up by the finished product, which is tender, moist, and an almost reddish color. (And, like pretty much anything baked, it perfumed the kitchen wonderfully while baking.)
It’s a pretty old-fashioned piece of foodery, I guess —white sugar? Cocoa powder? My inner Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingfisher is appalled — but it tastes really good. Although this recipe, as I got it, makes one hell of a large cake; next time, I am halving it. (I was actually planning to make cupcakes. That…was not exactly possible.)
Chocolate buttermilk cake
Oven: 350 F, 177 C, gas mark 4.
Mix 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 heaping cup of cocoa powder.
Add 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil, but grapeseed, canola, anything like that would be fine), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 eggs. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup boiling water and mix in.
Pour into a greased 9 by 15 cake pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.