Since my husband and I would certainly balloon to 300 lbs. if we actually ate all of the desserts I'll need to test in order to get through my mother's collection, I am constantly looking for occasions where I can bring the tested delicacies and have someone else gain weight from them. Risky, I know, since the end result of a first attempt could turn out disastrous. But I'll usually give it a go...particularly when I have 2 dozen Susie Cakes cupcakes ordered as back up just in case I have another XXX Sugar incident.
A co-worker's baby shower is the perfect opportunity to test a cake that was one of my all-time favorites growing up: Sarah Oldfield's Hoosier Cake. Sarah Oldfield was a women who attended Westchester Church of Christ with my family when I was a child. Many a Hoosier Cake was consumed at many a church potluck! Not sure why it's called Hoosier Cake...must have originated in Indiana, right? Regardless, it's pretty delicious, yet not extremely rich; you can see from the photo below that the batter is really light—my mother always used Hershey's Cocoa. I guess if you used a darker cocoa, the end result would be richer, more decadent. But then it wouldn't be my mother's Hoosier Cake!
Cooks.com has a recipe for Hoosier Cake that is essentially the same as my mother's but doesn't come on one of her, um, sometimes-not-so-easy-to-decifer recipe cards:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
4 Tbsp. Hershey's cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk (again with the buttermilk!)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; set aside. Melt butter. Add cocoa and water. Bring to boil and pour over dry ingredients. Mix and add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Pour into greased jelly roll pan (this is roughly 2" deep and 9x13"; I borrowed the very one my mom uses...my kitchen will implode if I purchase one more cooking tool). Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter with cocoa and buttermilk. Bring to boil (I would say simmer; the boiling seemed to make the icing thicker) and add powdered sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Pour over cake while icing is warm.
My mom would suggest that you poke holes in the cake before you pour the icing over it so that the gooey goodness of the chocolate permeates the cake thoroughly. And she also recommends that you refrigerate to set the icing before cutting into roughly 2 inch squares.
I have to say this wasn't a great attempt...the icing was not as shiny and oozing as I remember it. Poking holes wouldn't have mattered since the icing turned out to be pretty thick. Next time I'll probably modify it with a darker chocolate and I'll cook the icing slower so it doesn't separate, which is why it had a denser consistency. Still yummy and nicely paired with the tried and true Dutch Cake...I had a quite a bit left over so I was able to share the calories with friends and neighbors!