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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chocolate Cake with Ethel Dodge's Rum Custard Filling

So it's been a while.  My lovely wife Pam and I took a nice week long trip to northern part of Michigan.  Spent 2 nights in Petoskey and 2 nights in Traverse City.  Picked cherries, saw the sites, and bought quite a bit of great Michigan made products.

Anyhow, back to the recipes...Ethel Dodge, whom I can only assume was a friend of Helen Reilly, had a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake.  Here is the clipping of the recipe:

This recipe is actually written on both sides of the paper.  You can see from the ripping portion where one side lines up with the other.  You can also see the pen leaking through the paper.  While it's a little hard to read, the recipe itself is fairly straight forward.  It's just lacking in a bit of instructions.  So, using the creaming method to mix the cake dough yields a batter that looks like this:

Looks like cake batter to me.  The amount fills two 8 inch round cake pans about half full.  Maybe slightly less than half full, but it is certainly more batter than will fit in a single pan.

When baked, the cakes look like this:

Again, not a bad looking cake.  It's not really thick, but when you add the custard filling (more details on that in a second) having a thinner cake is probably better anyway.

That leads me to the custard filling.  Ethel Dodge didn't seem to give a whole lot of details on how to make it, but there is enough there.  I found the key to making it well is to make sure you use a double boiler and also mix continuously.  If you have a nice whisk that helps quite a bit.  It will take a while (at least it took me long enough for my hand to get tired) before the filling is nice and thick.

Once I had the filling made, the next step was figuring out how to put it on the cake.  Since it specifically says "filling" I didn't want to use it as a coating like frosting, but if there is no frosting, then what do you put on the outside?  I wasn't really sure so I compromised.  I cut each cake in half (making 4 layers), and filled each one, finally covered the top with the remaining filling.  The result was this cake:

Pretty nice.  The custard filling is pretty rich and creamy (I can only assume that's from the eggs whipped with the sugar).  The rum added a nice flavor and it wasn't really a strong alcohol flavor either which I assume was from the fact that you cooked it over the double boiler.

Anyhow, here is the final details of the recipe as I made it.  Thanks to Ethel Dodge, where ever you may be, for a wonderfully tasty custard filling.

Chocolate Cake with Ethel Dodge's Rum Custard Filling:


Chocolate Cake:
1/2 c. Shortening
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. Buttermilk
2 c. Flour
2 squares Unsweetened Chocolate
1 tbsp.  Vinegar
1 tsp. Baking Soda

Rum Custard Filling:
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Flour
1/4 tsp.  Salt
2   Eggs
1 3/4 c. Milk
1 jigger Rum


For the cake:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) For the cake, cream together shortening and sugar.
3) Add eggs one at a time and cream until well blended.
4) Add salt and vanilla and stir until combined.
5) Add flour and stir until combined.
6) Melt the unsweetened chocolate squares in the microwave. Pay close attention so it doesn't burn.
7) Add melted chocolate and stir until combined.
8) Mix vinegar and baking soda together (it will start frothing), add to batter, and stir until combined.
9) Pour into two greased 8” round baking pans and bake for 40 minutes.
10) Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
1) Mix the sugar, flour, salt together in a medium sauce pot or double boiler.
2) Add eggs and heat slowly until well blended.
3) Heat milk in the microwave and slowly add to the egg mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened.
4) Remove from heat and add rum, stirring until cooled.

To fill, cut each 8” round cake into two layers.  Spread 1/4 of the filling on top of each layer.

Makes approximately 24 servings

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