Over dessert last night, we played "name those mystery ingredients."
Mom was there when I made the cake, so she knew. And after a flurry of "you didn't put soy beans in here?" and other similar comments from everyone else around the table, I narrowed it down to a common spice and a common fat that I've never before used in sweet baking.
The spice was one of those things that was impossible to identify, and yet once you knew it was there, was impossible to ignore.
Pepper (the recipe called for white, but all I had was black).
The fat -- olive oil -- was very obvious from the smell of the uncooked batter. But once the cake came out of the oven, I'm not sure I would have identified it had I not known it was there.
The recipe was the cover recipe for The Best American Recipes cookbook I picked up in an after Christmas sale for $1. And believe it or not, other than substituting black pepper for white pepper, I followed the instructions. However next time I think I'll make a simple powdered sugar/milk glaze to drizzle over the hot cake before cooling.
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup water
5 cold large eggs
1 cup cold milk
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Oil and flour a bundt pan
Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa and water. Set aside.
In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl of a mixer, beat remaining 2 cups sugar, oil, vanilla and pepper until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat mixture until thick and pale. Add 1/3 flour mixture, beat, add 1/2 milk, beat and continue until flour and milk is incorporated.
Pour 3 cups of batter into a large bowl and add cocoa mix.
Pour 1/3 of plain batter into prepared pan, top with 1/3 of chocolate batter, and continue pouring layers until batter is all used up. Don't worry about marbling the batters -- it happens "magically" during baking.
Bake until cake is done, about an hour and 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and allow to cool.