A little over a year ago, Hubby and I were sitting at a cozy table in Hoghaus Brewery with the Flyer’s very own Todd and Dustin. The Flyer was just over a year old, and was at the end of a transition period from a snarky, sarcastic, pseudonym-heavy blog (does anyone remember the horoscopes?! Hilarious!), to a dependable news source with heavy local traffic. I’d had enough liquid courage to pitch my idea of a local food column to the guys: “It’d basically be me cooking something, talking about it, taking pictures and sharing a recipe with readers. No big deal. You guys don’t have to… Really, it’s just an idea.” Todd gave me a serious-yet-enthusiastic two-word answer: “Yes. YES.” A week later, on the eve of Ice Storm 2009, Flyer Foodie was born.
I’d had a short-lived food blog in the past (the ol’ thing still exists out there in Innerlexland, but substandard pictures and general embarrassment keep me from sharing. Sorry, y’all.) Over time, however, work and life in general ran its course and I couldn’t find the time for it anymore; I got a promotion at work and went back to school simultaneously, so the last thing I needed was to fill up my schedule even more.
Two years later, and with another degree under my belt, I found myself with more free time and a desire to get back into writing about food. So through my IPA-fueled pitch began a journey that has taken me to remote pumpkin patches, allowed me to eat some of the finest produce in the area, and eat my weight in frozen treats for the sake of science, just to name a few. Foodie allows me an outlet to express my inner cuisinier, to talk about all the culinary possibilities my beloved hometown offers, and to share my experiences with y’all, dear readers. Thank you for reading, and thank you for the encouragement. You really keep me going.
And what milestone commemoration goes without cake? For Foodie’s birthday, I made one of my all-time favorites, Mexican chocolate fudge cake. Dense, chocolaty and with just a hint of spice, this cake goes way, WAY over the top with a buttery chocolate glaze, complete with toasted pecans and a little bit of warmth from some cayenne pepper. Its looks may be deceiving: brown cake with brown icing – big whoop, right? Au contraire! This ain’t Duncan Heinz, this is the real deal, so bake at your own risk. If you fall into a chocolate cake coma, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy!
Mexican Chocolate Fudge Cake
(makes 2 loaves, 1 two-layer cake or 12 giant cupcakes)
2 sticks of butter
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3/4 c. water
2 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
2 Tbs. vanilla
2 c. flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 stick of butter
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbs. whole milk
3/4 c. cocoa powder
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 Tbs. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour the baking pan(s). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Add the water and whisk until smooth – be careful not to boil the mixture.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla all at once; whisk until smooth. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and add to the mixture. Whisk the batter until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated – don’t’ worry about any small lumps. Fill each pan evenly and place in the oven. Bake loaves for approximately 45 minutes, round cake pans for approximately 35 minutes, and large cupcakes about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes.
For the glaze: melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the milk, cocoa and powdered sugar and whisk until glossy. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, salt and pecans. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the pan(s) and invert. Cover with glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
* If the above slide show doesn’t load, visit the entire set at Flickr.
Laura Hobbs is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, visit her author page.