I am and have been an avid hater of food colorings... I feel that they do not belong in our diet in any way shape or form (maybe on Easter Eggs, but that is about it) I t drives me crazy when my kids or my students have blue tongues, green teeth or purple lips. Yuck...gross! Why? Why? BUT.... and a big but here... part of our eating experience is enhanced by color. Visually, when we slice open a watermelon.... we gasp and are in awe at the amazing design and color of it's glorious red insides. The blinding white flesh of a radish next to it's red skin can be so appealing. We are attracted to color. We eat with our eyes. So why blame my children when they automatically ask for Superman Ice Cream at the local ice cream shoppe. Of course they want the neon blue, red and yellow ice cream.... it has the most appeal. (by the way... I am the mom that always says, NO... you need to choose another flavor that is less fake and more real). But... I am also the mom that once in a great while, splurges and decorates wildly with artificial coloring. Why? Because...the kid in me surfaces (sometimes) and I can enjoy things without feeling guilty!
Yesterday was my last day of teaching summer school. My wonderful group of ELL's (english language learners) and I read a book called, The Chocolate Touch, by Patrick Skene Catling. The story was a take off of the King Midas myth. However, John, the main character in the book, turned everything he touched into chocolate,(even his mot her )! Oooohhh how I would love that ability for a day! The kids loved the book and it made us think about all the sweets we like to eat. I ended up promising the kiddos that I would make them a chocolate cake and bring it in to celebrate the end of our book. I had to go wild... I had to do food coloring, I had to top the cake with brightly colored M&M's. It just seemed so celebratory and festive to top off a chocolaty cake with more chocolate and bright colors.
I made my favorite chocolate cake, topped it with more than a pound of chocolate cream cheese frosting and topped it again with an entire bag of chocolate M&M's. The pan weighed a lot! The kiddos were thrilled about the cake and we relished in eating this doubly chocolate cake, all secretly hoping we would end up with the Chocolate Touch!
The Chocolate Touch Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrohna preferred)
1 and 3/4 cup flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot (not boiling) water
In large mixing bowl whisk together your dry ingredients except your cocoa powder. Sift your cocoa powder into the other ingredients and whisk again. Attach mixing bowl to mixer with paddle attachment. Add butter and eggs and mix slowly until moistened. Add buttermilk and mix for a minute. Add hot water and mix again for about 1.5 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans. I was making a sheet cake here so I just put all the batter into my 9"x13". Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Test for doneness.
The Chocolate Touch Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages of room temperature cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter in mixer for a while - at least 3 minutes. You want them very blended, add cocoa powder and begin adding powdered sugar in 1/3 cup intervals. Taste along the way, stop when you think you have achieved perfect chocolate cheese cake flavored frosting. It will taste like that. Add the sugar to your liking. I tend to add no more than 2 cups just because I prefer my frosting less sweet. Spread on cooled cake. Top cake with M & M's just before you are serving the cake.
This is a No Adults Allowed Cake! Serve slices of cake to happy children!