Black Midnight Cake

(This cookie recipe appears in my cookbook. 1956 Betty Crocker Cookbook. It's the chocolate birthday cake that I made for my children when they were at home. It's an excellent chocolate cake and when topped with a tasty chocolate icing, it just can't be beat.

The recipe says to grease and flour 2 9 inch pans or a 13 x 9 inch oblong pan. I like to use cut out wax paper for the round cake pans. Cut the paper the size of the bottom of the pans, put a spot of shortening in the center of the pan, then place the wax paper in the pan. That does much better, in my opinion, than does greasing and flouring since the rounds have to be taken out of the pans to be iced. To cut wax paper, place the pan on the layers of wax paper, and with any kitchen tool mark closely around the bottom of the pan. Cut out the wax paper with kitchen or paper sissors. Just remember to remove the wax paper after baking. I usually leave the oblong cake in the pan, ice in the pan, and cut and serve from the pan. The paper would not be desirable in this case. To grease and flour the pan, take your fingers, dip into shortening and spread on the bottom and sides of the cake pan. Then put about 2 tablespoons of flour into the pan. Move the pan around enough to spread the flour all over the shortening. Turn the pan upside down over the trash to remove any remaining flour. All the shortening should be coated with flour.

Set the temperature in your oven to 350 degrees. (moderately hot oven.)

Cream the following ingredients together by beating for 5 minutes on high speed in a mixer or mix thoroughly by hand:

Sift together in a separate bowl and set aside:

Mix together and set aside:

Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed shortening, sugar and egg mixture. Mix well with the mixer or by hand. Then add 1/3 of the water and vanilla mixture. Mix well. Repeat using the second 1/3 of dry then the second w/3 of liquid. Do the same to the last 1/3 of dry and and then the last 1/3 of liquid until all ingredience are incorporated into the cake batter. It is important to mix well after each addition of the dry ingredients and after each addition of the liquid. This gives a very smooth cake batter. Mixing time for each addition should be about 1/2 to 1 minute.

Pour into the prepared pans. Bake until cake test done. (Approximately 30 minutes for the 9 inch round pans or 40 to 45 minutes for the oblong pan.) Cool. This will probably take 30 minutes. If you have done the round cakes and plan on doing a 2 layered cake, you can do the following. Insert a table knife, cutting knife or other straight edge between the cake and the side of the pan. Make sure it goes to the bottom of the pan. Move the knife around the entire circle (or square) of the pan. For the greased floured pans, you can then let them set upside down over a plate. The cake should fall away from the bottom of the pan onto the plate. If you have put wax paper on the bottom of the pan, turn the cake pan upside down either on your hand on on a plate, take off the paper, and then flip the cake right side up onto a cake plate. Put icing on the cake as desired. There are several tests to see if a cake is done. If a cake is done, you can take your finger and press lightly in the center of the cake and it will spring back without leaving an indentation. Take a cake out of the oven and listen to it. It sings slightly when it is baking. When it is done, it makes no sound. Cakes also pull away from the sides of the pan slightly when they are done. A toothpick put in the center of a cake will come out clean when the cake is done.

Chocolate Icing. - - - I usually just do powdered sugar, coco, butter and a tiny bit of milk. Sift together 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar with 1/3 cup packed coco. Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons butter. Pour butter over sugar/coco mixture. Use an electric mixer and add milk by the tablespoon to get the icing consistency you want. It's all a guess. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. It it's too thick add another tablespoon of milk. Sometimes I put in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

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Myra L Fitch
If you have questions or comments, e-mail me at fitch@texas.net