I was fortunate enough to have met many of my great-aunties, great-uncles, and three great-grandparents, some of whom lived well into my teen and young adult years. I think aunties and uncles have to be about the most fun relatives one can have- besides cousins of course- but if they are great-aunties and uncles, even better. One year my grandparents jumped in my great-uncle Cal’s RV along with a few other great-aunties and uncles and drove across country from Texas to New Jersey where my family- Ma, Dad, my brother Rob and I had lived. We called this little group of elders the Bengay Bunch or the Geritol Gang.
They were such a fun group, always joking and teasing. One particular morning on this visit, we stood at the back door of our beach house admiring all of the seagulls when my great-auntie Opal said, “My that gull has a big beak,” to which great-auntie Jean said, “that’s not a gull, that’s Kern.” My great-uncle Kern did have quite the schnoz. Sadly all my Greats are gone now but have left me with fond memories along with The Klaus Family Cookbook put together by my great-auntie Opal who was a very creative and artistic lady.
Last week we went to our friends’ home for dinner and I needed a quick dessert. I was feeling lazy, hot, tired, and did not need a big mess either. I found great-auntie Opal’s cake from the Klaus Cookbook to be perfect. It even asked if I was lazy. Yes, always.
In a 9×13 inch baking dish, whisk together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 rounded T. cocoa
1 cup sugar- I used brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
Make three wells in the dry ingredients. In one well add 1 T. vinegar, I used balsamic. To the second well add 5 T. melted shortening, I used butter. To the third well add 1 T. Vanilla. The recipe calls for 1 tsp vanilla but I like lots of vanilla.
Pour 1 C. of cold water, I used milk, over the entire dish and stir until well mixed. Bake in same dish in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe states 30 minutes but mine was done in under 20. Cool cake a bit and glaze with:
Chocolate Espresso Glaze– my addition
3 T. melted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. powdered instant espresso
Stir chips and espresso powder into the melted butter until smooth. Pour over cake and spread evenly. Serves about 10.
Note- The cake itself is not overly sweet and has that wonderful homemade from scratch flavor. The glaze then makes it perfectly sweet and scrumptious.