Have you ever had one of these?
That is an Ethel M lemon cream chocolate. It consists of a wonderfully sweet-tart lemon cream filling enrobed in dark chocolate. It is divine. You might think that putting two bitter things together would be a bad idea, but that, my friends, is what sugar is for. I really wanted one of those lemon creams the other night, but you see, Ethel M is sold in Nevada and buying it online wouldn't really work for that instant gratification thing. So I decided to create a cake based on an Ethel M lemon cream. So, read on to learn how to create a dark chocolate cake with creamy lemon icing.
For the cake:
You'll need these things-
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1.5 tsp each, baking powder and baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (I used half n half since I don't drink milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp each, vanilla and orange or lemon extract (you just want a hint of citrus in the cake to compliment the icing)
1/2 cup boiling water
1. Heat oven to 350. Combine all the dry ingredients
2. Add the wet ingredients, except for the boiling water, and beat until combined. Stir in the boiling water.
3. Now pour the batter into your pan-I just used a rectangular cake pan, but you could use round pans to make a layer cake too. At this point, I decided the cake would be much better if I sprinkled some chocolate chips through out the batter. In retrospect, I wouldn't advise you do this, for reasons that will become clear in a moment.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes and remove to cool. This is why I decided in retrospect the chips were a bad idea.
Do you see what happened? The chips all migrated to the middle. Now let's think about this scientifically-why did they do that? I KNOW I sprinkled them randomly over the pan. Well, it makes sense, actually. First of all, we know that the last part of a cake to get cooked is the middle. It cooks from the edges inward-that's why you have to be careful about the edges getting too brown first. We also know that this batter is very, very thin because we want a super moist and delicious cake. So what clearly happened in the baking process is the cake started cooking and thickening at the edges and the chips were pushed inward because the uncooked batter was so thin, it couldn't resist their movement.
Alright, lesson over. This chip gathering doesn't matter, because we're going to cover their misbehavior with creamy lemon icing.
To make the icing, follow the buttercream recipe I outlined in Oatmeal Cream Pies, but instead of using milk to think the icing, use the juice of one lemon. Also, zest about half the lemon and add that in. The icing should be fairly light in texture with all that juice, and the zest will produce a wonderful teeth curdling effect.
As flavors go, this is one of the best cakes I've ever made…or tasted, for that matter. Aesthetically…not so much. But hey, that's my failing, not the cake's. Next time I will make it a layer cake and use the freakin' pastry bag to pipe the icing…I swear.