April 28, 2010

April Surprise, with Chocolate Cake

This is not an image from my archives; it was shot this morning, April 28th, at 9:58 AM. We have just had a record setting snow fall for this late in the season. I went out to measure the snow at around noon, after digging my high snow boots out of the closet where I thought they were safe till next winter; there was 11 inches!! and it kept snowing. and snowing. It snowed lightly until late afternoon.

By mid afternoon, the warmer temperatures and high winds had removed the snow from tree branches, but earlier the snow coated branch and stem. A pretty sight in January, but in spring, covering the opening buds and new leaves and all the flowers, it is not welcome. Thankfully, now, after 5 PM, the snow is already retreating and 70 degrees is forecast for the weekend.

So, the only remedy for a day like this is chocolate cake. This cake is good: a simple, not too rich, but nicely moist, vinegar-chocolate recipe given to me by a friend years ago. It's perfect for a needed pick-me-up; what is it about chocolate that makes us feel better?

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teas baking soda
1 cup sugar (I use a bit less)
1/2 teas salt
1 teas vanilla
1 Tbs vinegar
3 oz melted good quality dark chocolate (the recipe calls for only 1 oz, but I think more is better)
4 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease 9 inch square pan
  3. Sift together dry ingredients
  4. Add remaining ingredients; mix well and pour into pan
  5. Bake till done, about 1/2 hour


  1. How discouraging to get snowed on again. Mother Nature is giving us a lot of wierd weather....I'm not sure where you live but it looks too cold for me! Chocolate anything makes me feel better so ...eat up....

  2. I think you mentioned snow was coming in your previous post Altoon. This is astonishing - more than I imagined out of the blue like that!. How will your little plantings and the new growth survive?

    The chocolate cake is a very sensible idea... looks delicious! And you know... its funny...I just posted a tribute to 365 days in the blogosphere making a light-hearted reference to the fact that what I had learnt in part this last year on-line was that all around the globe most of us are rather partial to sweet things more than we perhaps wish to be or want others to know.Its a universal thing... and so many bloggers, no matter how generally serious or task oriented, cant help posting on the occasional special treat.

    I enjoyed this past year seeing so much that was thoughtful, aesthetically arresting or intellectually stimulating... but every time I saw a cake turn up I couldn't help but smile and think...this is it... we are humans... and we like our cake!

    Until blogging I never realised others did quite as much because women usually say...'OH I musn't' ...and so many swear they dont really like chocolate! Personally i have found it all a hoot. Where else can you get this divine mix of cultural outpourings and wonderful musings and chocolate cake than the blogosphere.

    Long live the chocolate cake and as Brillat-Savarin says ' the pleasures of the table live longest to console us...'That white that swallowed up the landscape around you definitely needed the contrast of the colour (and taste) of a good chocolate cake Altoon. Shame we couldn't pop in and join you for a half hour chat over tea and cake!
    ps your images just completed that post so well!

  3. Oh yes, Susan, getting snow so late in the season is certainly discouraging. But the plants in the garden will be ok, Sophie. I live in a zone 4 area in northern Vermont and the only things in the garden now are hardy. It even looks like the daffodils have weathered the storm, as have the grape hyancinths. And by Saturday, I'll be planting my onions.

  4. Those images would make very nice holiday/winter cards. No one would ever guess that they were captured in late April! The chocolate cake looks yummy too - definitely comfort food on a snowy day. As for the people Sophie refers to who swear they don't like chocolate - I just don't trust them!
    Joy S.

  5. Yes, Joy, how odd that April would give us the perfect winter images. And tomorrow is going to be 80 degrees! what a wacky, up and down spring.

    I heard the weatherman today explain the reason for snow being called "the poor man's fertilizer"; it's because snow traps nitrogen from the air as it's falling and it becomes available to growing things. That's a real surprise to me.

  6. I'm a bit late on this post, but that chocolate cake looks delicious and I was wondering what kind of vinegar you use? All I have in my pantry is red wine vinegar because it's the only vinegar I normally use. I can't wait to try it!

  7. hi Sarah, I keep all sorts of vinegars in the house, but used white vinegar for this cake. I imagine that red wine vinegar will work just fine.