1 Nov
Posted in: Let's Eat
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Nanny’s Chocolate Cake

I’m tempted to call this Milestone Cake but it really belongs to Nanny MacDonald, my grandmother who made it often for us and it was always a welcome treat. However, I decided to make it today in honour of Baby Sister who’s turning 50 (certainly a Milestone) today, November 1st! Our Nanny was one of those grandmothers with bottomless cookie jars and a chocolate bar drawer (yes, a whole drawer), she was a wonderful cook but didn’t fuss in the kitchen. This is a simple and delicious cake which all kids seem to love – and Baby Sister, who is not simple but brilliant and accomplished, probably doesn’t eat much chocolate cake, being one of those people who runs long distances for fun, so I will just have to eat her piece!

The ingredients are simple and the finished cake is quite small, good for a weekday treat or even a small birthday party. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips as I didn’t have any semi-sweet chocolate squares. The marshmallows are for the icing not the cake, but I liked how they looked snuggled up next to the chocolate chips for the picture. Start by melting the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth and let cool.

Add the sugar and water to the cooled mixture and then the egg and mix well.

I made my own sour milk by adding the juice of half a fresh lemon to a half cup of milk and letting it sit and curdle for 5 minutes or so, probably more lemon juice than needed but the finished product was beautiful so it worked. You only need a 1/4 cup of milk so I threw away the rest.

Nanny’s instructions were to add the sifted mixture alternately with the liquid and vanilla and then “this may be beaten for a few minutes” – seems a fairly flexible approach to me but I used my trusty small whisk and did just that!

My cake baked exactly the time specified and, after cooling, wasn’t the most attractive but I’ve made this before and know that the icing elevates the finished product, at least in the eyes and tummies of chocolate lovers.

Let the cake cool completely and then make the icing. Nanny called this Rocky Mountain Frosting, probably because of the hills and valleys created by the marshmallows, not as impressive as The Rocky Mountains, but when you’re eight it was pretty impressive. It’s a good idea to pre-measure and sift your icing sugar before you begin as once the marshmallows are melted into the chocolate, the icing becomes very firm very quickly. Start by melting the chocolate, butter and water over very low heat, stirring constantly.

Once these are melted together, add half of the marshmallows and stir until melted. My marshmallows had been in the pantry for several months and can best be described as “firm”, but after 5 – 7 minutes over very low heat while being stirred, they melted and were fine.

Add the icing sugar off the heat, whisk together and add vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add the remaining marshmallows, stir gently and frost the cake right away as this icing firms up very quickly, probably due to the melted marshmallows. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do – Happy Birthday Jeanne!