Round Up and Recipes

April 8, 2011
Are these chickens not hilarious? They have nothing to do with today’s post, but they cracked me up. And you can make them! Here’s the tutorial from a neat new-to-me blog.

It’s been a busy week and I’m glad it’s finally Friday. I’m looking forward to working in the garden and hopefully getting into my studio for a few hours.

In case you had a really busy week and missed out on From China Village for the last few days, here’s a round up of this week’s posts:

On Monday night, I wrote about President Obama’s impending visit to Ireland, and my past life in presidential campaigns.

Tuesday, we had some twinkling fairy lights.

Wednesday was pretty doors from around the world.

And Thursday was a pretty pink cake for a 99th birthday.

Speaking of that cake, I thought you might like the recipe. Six years ago for Christmas, my mom gave her three children their own copy of a cookbook she assembled with loads of recipes from our China Village house. I use it so often and it’s an awesome homesickness antidote. After six years of use, it’s all gummed up with batter smudges and cocoa stains. It has been well loved.

So this is the Boyle family Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe. It’s what I always request when I’m home for my birthday. Lots of chocolate, moist, with a little tang.

Boyle Chocolate Birthday Cake

9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 and 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter (in Ireland I use 1/4 of a big thing of butter plus another centimeter thick sliver. Not too scientific but it’ll work!)
2 and 1/4 cups brown sugar (light brown muscovado)
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (I use creme fraiche or plain yogurt or even a combo)
1 cup boiling water

Grease and flour two cake tins. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Beat butter and sugar together until creamed. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Beat in vanilla and cocoa powder. Stir in dry ingredients (I mixed them in a big measuring cup, you could do the same on a weighing scale), alternating with sour cream. Mix until smooth. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be quite thin. Pour into cake tins and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

And I always use my mom’s frosting recipe.

1/2 cup butter
3-4 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

With a mixer, beat the butter until it’s soft. I usually put the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it a little. Add in a cup of confectioner’s sugar and beat together. Add in the vanilla extract and beat. Add in the rest of the sugar, alternating between the two and beating after each addition. Once you’ve added everything and beaten it all together, if it’s too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. If it’s too buttery, add a bit more of both! It’s not an exact science, so you can make it what you prefer.

Enjoy your weekend, see you next week!


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