Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween Gets Black Joe Cake

Old Black Joe is a parlor song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published by Firth, Pond & Co. of New York in 1853. I posted the song below sung by the Paul Robeson in mighty voice. I think the name of this cake is a pun.

Joe is American slang for coffee. I do not find this cake recipe in modern cookbooks; I find it in old regional cookbooks from the 30s and 40s. I think the omission is deliberate. You cannot sell cake mixes if making a scratch cake is this easy. This cake is not too sweet. I like a slice for breakfast right out of the fridge. Trust me, you will too. Black cake for a black and scary night. Boo!


 Black Joe Cake

Mix together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add, then mix with a spoon:
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Add, then mix again with a spoon: one cup black coffee. 

Pour into two greased 9 inch layer cake pans or 10x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty minutes for large pan, 15 to 20 minutes for 9 inch layer cake pans. Be sure to test for doneness and do not overbake. If a knife blade comes out clean: it is Done! This batter is too loose for a tube pan.

Serve Black Joe Cake with sweet vanilla flavored whipped cream. If you want to get really fancy, make the layers and fill the space between the layers with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries.

Frost Black Joe Cake with Chocolate Frosting Helen Evans Brown:

Helen Evans Brown was a food writer in the 1950s. If you can find one of her coookbooks, buy it immediately and never let it go. This icing sets up fine when cool, never hardens and remains glossy. It is a wonder frosting. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of vanilla or dark rum.

Melt one 15 ounce package of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chips in a bowl over warm water. Blend the melted chocolate with one cup of sour cream.

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