a this and that sort of post ~ plus a recipe

by Bella Rum

Awake in the middle of the night. Again! This makes three nights in a row. I have no idea what’s going on. This hasn’t happened for a long time.

I made a cake for my neighbor yesterday. She invited me in to see all of her improvements. It’s so much fun to see what someone else has done with a house that’s similar to your own. I was mostly interested in her new floors. We need to make a few changes in that area.

I’m giving away the remainder of my “big” clothes. I already gave most of them to Good Will, but a couple of days ago I found a few things in my closet that are practically new. I called my friend (the nurse) and I’m taking them over tomorrow. She gave me a list of excellent cardiologists in the area. I just need to check my insurance to find one in my network.

Back to this cake that I made for my neighbor. It’s the Ever-So-Moist Chocolate Cake recipe that I found in Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor. It’s the sequel to Ann Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor. You may be familiar with the Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks. The recipes doctor store-bought cake mixes. You start with a store-bought mix, add a few ingredients like vanilla, sour cream, butter, etc. You end up with something that taste like homemade.

This cake is rich. H likes cakes that don’t have too much icing. Plain pound cake rocks his world. He also enjoys nuts and cinnamon and just a drizzle of glaze on a cake, like sock-it-to-me-cake. This rich chocolaty cake is not the cake for him. This is the cake for me. Chocolate sour cream frosting on chocolate cake. Oh, yeah!

Ever-So-Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Serves: 16
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 28 to 32 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes


Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans
Flour for dusting the pans

1 package (18.25 ounces) devil’s food cake mix with pudding
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (see below)


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

3. Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 28 to 32 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting.

5. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

* The Cake Mix Doctor says: If you are trying to cut calories and fat, substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream in the cake batter. But be forewarned that the sour cream produces a far moister cake than one with yogurt.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Makes 3 cups, enough to frost a 2- or 3-layer cake or 30 cupcakes
Preparation time: 10 minutes


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
(If frosting is too thick, I add a small amount of milk until it is the right consistency)


1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or melt it in a large glass bowl in the microwave oven on high power for 45 seconds.

2. Place the melted butter in a large mixing bowl and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar alternately with the sour cream, blending with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, or until incorporated. Stop the machine and add the vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.

3. Use the frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake or cupcakes of your choice.

Store this cake in a cake saver or under a glass dome, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.