Over a Cup of Coffee: Easy as chocolate cake

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When we were working cattle this past weekend, I noticed the rhubarb is ready. It seems like it's ready (and even trying to go to seed) way too early. So, I'm trying out some new rhubarb recipes that I'll feature in next week's column.

In the meantime, this column features a chocolate cake recipe from my files.

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Whenever I think of chocolate cake, my thoughts go to my sister-in-law. Florence Van Tassel is known for her luscious chocolate cake. Visitors enjoy it with their coffee, and when the family has a cow-working day, helpers are known to slip away to the house for a cup of morning coffee -- and a slice of the cake. My chocolate cake is not so popular.

"Chocolate Sheet Cake," this week's recipe, is an easy-to-make, moist cake. I've been making it for a while, and don't remember where I first got the recipe. Most of my family members cover their pieces of cake with table cream.

A note: Although the recipe calls for a jelly-roll pan, I use a 13-by-9 inch pan and bake the cake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time (see directions below).

The cake's ingredients include: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup butter or margarine, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 cup water, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Grease the cake pan (10-by-15-by-1 inch jelly roll pan or a 13-by-9 inch pan). Preheat oven to 375 degrees for the sheet cake or about 350 degrees for the other size pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a saucepan, combine butter or margarine, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.

Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients. Then add the buttermilk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Pour into the pan and bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until the 9-by-13 inch cake tests done (at 350 degrees).

The ingredients for the frosting are: 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 5 tablespoons buttermilk and about 3 cups powdered sugar.

Heat the butter or margarine, cocoa and buttermilk together. Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar.

You'll need to use a mixer for this step, or the powdered sugar will not mix in completely.

Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of the cake.

This week, I found my sister's recipe for "Guacamole Dip."

Charlotte Allum lives in Fort Collins.

The ingredients are: 2 avocados (very ripe), tomato, onion, chili powder, salt, pepper, 1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise and sour cream (optional).

Mash the avocados. Add finely chopped onion and tomato, chili powder and salt and pepper (to taste). Mix in the mayonnaise. Add sour cream, if desired. Seal the top with mayonnaise to preserve the green color. Chill.

Hunt up your rhubarb recipes (and others, too).

Send them to me at Box 415, Craig, CO 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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