Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Crazy" Chocolate-Coconut Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting - May 13, 2012

To complete Nick's and my celebratory week, I made this layer cake on Sunday afternoon.  I used a recipe for Crazy Cake, which my mom used to make when I was little, and I loved.  I believe it's called "Crazy" because you mix up the ingredients right in the baking pan and then just pop the whole thing in the oven.  Since I didn't follow this methodology, choosing instead to make a layer cake, I'm not sure if the name still applies.  Regardless, I remember it being the best chocolate cake, really dense and moist.

The difference in flavor and texture may be due to the lack of eggs and butter, since crazy cakes use vegetable oil and a combination of baking soda and white vinegar for levening.  I've read that the recipe's origens are from a time when eggs and butter were either hard to get, or rationed (the depression? WWII?).  I can't confirm or deny this, since I was introduced to it as an '80's baking fad. 

Let's get down to it, shall we?  Here's the recipe I followed, replacing the vegetable oil with coconut oil (which is where the 'coconut' in the title comes from).  I mixed up the ingredients in a big bowl, rather than the 9x13 pan that is traditional.  The batter, which remained disturbingly lumpy despite a brief spin in the stand mixer, baked in two 8x1 1/2 circular pans.  Since I didn't know how this would affect the baking time, after the initial 15 minutes I kept checking every 5 minutes or so.  It took at least 40 minutes, which is the high end of the range given in the recipe for the 9x13 pan.  I let the cakes cool in their pans for about 10 minutes and then took them out to cool completely on racks.  Once cooled, I sliced them in half along their cross-section to make four layers.  The cake crumb turned out despite my lumpy batter, and stood up well to my decidedly inexperienced cake disection (this is my first cake with more than two layers).

Buttercream frosting is the way to go if you ask me, although it's probably not what they used during the depression or WWII.  It must be an '80's addition.  This recipe made just enough for three layers plus the top and sides of the cake.

Despite all my modifications this is still just how I remember it.  Best. Cake. Ever.
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