Cooking up a storm is a good thing – but I really don't like seeing stacks of dishes lined up for washing afterwards!
Sometimes as we are unpacking the dishwasher, my Peter asks me why he wasn't invited to the dinner party I had held the evening before. It's a standing joke in our household of two and one that is particularly relevant whenever I've embarked on one of my cooking frenzies. For that's when the dishwasher is pushed to the max, sometimes twice in one day. Thank goodness for the likes of Miele, Bosch, Dishlex and Fisher & Paykel, methinks.
Writing this snippet brought back memories of my days, and nights, at the cooking school. It was a fun decade and, possibly, the highlight of my foodie career, but lordy it was hard work! After the presentation by the celebrity chef, we would serve food and drink to our guests. On many occasions, such as the time I welcomed Rick Stein to Canberra, it was 'standing room only' in the stepped auditorium. That meant a LOT of plates, cutlery and glassware, not to mention the pots and pans. The clean up at the end of every event was mammoth, and that's no understatement. On some mornings after the fact, I could barely walk from my bed to the bathroom, my feet and back were aching so much. And I'm certain my colleagues and our staff felt the same way. To be honest, though, we had so much fun we rarely complained about the workload.
French chef, Gabriel Gaté, who was also one of my regular presenters at the school, made me laugh with embarrassment when he painted a comical picture of cooks who clean up as they go. In his skit, he mimicked a fussy and fastidious chef who ended up spit-polishing every nook and cranny in the kitchen meanwhile the food on the cooktop was burning. Ü
Yes, I too love cooking but hate the mess. And, I clean as I go. Eek!
To get to the point of my story, this one-bowl chocolate cake is a winner because you only need the one bowl. Fist pump time. It's been on my repertoire for more than thirty years and never fails to please. It's perfect for children's birthday parties and can be decorated with sprinkles such as nonpareils, cachous or 100s and 1000s. I think the recipe originated from either Family Circle or the AWW. One for thing certain, it's a keeper.
ONE-BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
1 free-range egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
11/2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup milk
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
Combine the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extra in a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Now, add the egg and beat until it is well incorporated. Sift in the cocoa powder, baking powder and flour, then add the milk, and beat for two or three minutes until the batter is smooth.
Using a spatula or serving spoon, transfer the batter to the prepared tin and smooth the top over, neatly. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer tests clean. Turn out onto a sheet of baking paper placed over a wire rack (to ensure there are no marks and the cake doesn't stick), and allow to cool the cake before icing. Serves 8-10.
Meanwhile, wash the bowl and then use it to prepare the chocolate butter cream icing.
CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM ICING
65g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
3-4 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the ingredients in the bowl. Stir well. Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the top of the cake when it has cooled. Decorate further if desired. Store the iced cake in an airtight container, should it last that long.
Image and words copyright Liz Posmyk.
Now tell me dear readers, do you love making a mess when you cook? Or do you clean up as you go, like me? Come on, spill the beans. (^_-)
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.