Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Chocolate Pudding Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

A special kind of love is friendship. I firmly believe that one is never poor as long as they have friends. I have been blessed with many different friends throughout the years. Some acquaintances I’ve had lasted only for a period of time while we pastored a local church fading away once we had moved out of the area. Other school friends are kept in contact with once a year through Christmas news letters. True friendship I’ve discovered is one where neither time nor distance mars the relationship.

I had such a link with another girl whose name was the same as mine. It was an instant connection the first time we met. Even though the other Dorcas was a couple of years younger than I we shared many similarities. I was Dorcas Annette, she was Dorcas Ann. We both had preacher fathers who had handicaps- my father had severe hemophilia while her’s had been crippled from polio when a child. Both of us married preachers were musical, loved planting flower gardens, and cooking. People mistook us for sisters when we were together as we were the same size, had dark brown eyes, and hair that tends to curl. One of the main features of our friendship was laughter. Letters to each other were always filled with smiley faces. Both of us loved being a mother and helping our husbands in the ministry. Life took a drastic detour when Dorcas discovered a lump on her breast when her youngest daughter was only a year old. Chemotherapy followed a radical mastectomy. Dorcas lost her beautiful long brown hair but not her spirit. Her main focus became staying alive until her children were grown. In phone calls to each other our laughter hid tears as we joked about her new look with her wig and people’s crazy personal questions. We rejoiced together when Dorcas’ cancer went into remission, which lasted all too short a span of time. When cancer spread to her bones, Dorcas’ husband resigned their church and moved the family back to her parents. Dorcas no longer fussed over indignities suffered at the hands of medical technology in her fight for cancer. Each year became another milestone in her goal to raise her children. Almost two years have passed now since Dorcas lost her battle to cancer. Her children were all teenagers. Even though Dorcas is gone the memory of all the laughter we shared is like the aroma of a freshly baked cake. Her friendship is something I will always savor. Whenever I make a Chocolate Pudding Cake I fondly remember Dorcas. This is a recipe she shared with me after one of our visits together.

There are two types of cocoa powders. The Dutched or Dutch-style coca is when the beans are treated with an alkaline solution to make them darker in color and milder in flavor. Non-alkalized cocoa such as Hershey’s is the natural cocoa that tends to be lighter in color but less mellow in flavor. Cocoa trees originated in the foothills of the Andes in South America and spread south of the Equator. Cocoa comes from the dried, partially fermented seeds of the cacao tree. Cocoa pods are harvested and piled in bins for several days to ferment, which is important for the quality of flavor. Then the beans are spread out to dry over a large surface and constantly raked. Next the beans are trodden on by human feet where red clay water is sprinkled over the beans to obtain a finer color, polish, and protection against molds during shipment to factories. Cocoa powder is then made from roasting and grinding the cocoa seeds. It takes three to six hundred cocoa beans to make two pounds of chocolate. Chocolate has been linked to better cardiovascular health, reducing blood pressure, and expand learning and memory. What do you know? Becoming a chocaholic like some of us may actually be healthy!

My Chocolate Pudding Cake is made from scratch that Dorcas and I tweaked to add more pudding to the end result. Served up-side-down the Chocolate Pudding Cake melts in your mouth. Hidden nuts in the cake give a culinary surprise twist. The Chocolate Pudding Cake can be served hot from the oven or let cool to room temperature. Preparation time is only ten minutes and this recipe serves sixteen.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Mix together in a medium bowl:
2 c self-rising flour
1½ c sugar
3 tb cocoa powder
¼ c cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla
1½ c milk
Stir well and add:
1 c chopped nuts (your choice)
Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a small bowl mix together:
2 c sugar
½ c cocoa
Sprinkle over the batter.
Then pour 3 cups of cold water on top. Bake at 350ยบ for one hour until the cake is done. Garnish with cool whip and a strawberry on top!

Weekly tip: Adding a pinch of salt to chocolate dishes will enhance the flavor!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more information check out: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

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