One of the best things about a personal blog is that there's no boss, no deadlines, and if you don't feel like blogging, no problem. Or so I thought until yesterday when I was "berated" by my former boss. "When are you going to post something new! That soda bread [subject of my most recent blog post] is stale!" she complained. And just as we all revert to our childish selves when dealing with our parents (no matter if we're grown-up), I reverted to "dedicated employee" when confronted with a boss-figure. Lyn, this one's for you!
I was inspired to make this cake following a visit last month to Grenada, aka The Spice Island, located in the Caribbean just north of Venezuela. It's a fabulous island with beautiful beaches, but what attracted me most were the cocoa plantations, chocolate and, of course, the spices. They say the aroma of nutmeg is in the air. (See pictures at the end of this post.)
This vintage recipe for Spiced Chocolate Cake is the perfect showcase for the island's bounty. It's very easy to make and actually tastes better the day after it's baked.
Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler, or if you don't have one either, simply fashion one from a saucepan and a bowl. Just make sure the water in the saucepan doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.
Stir (or sift) the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, along with the room-temperature butter.
Follow the instructions and add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix it all together. Don't let the chocolate cool too long as I did (note the bits of chocolate in the batter -- they shouldn't be there, but it didn't spoil the cake).
Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan.
Bake about 40 minutes.
I used a modern-day version of a seven-minute frosting.
Production notes: I followed the recipe exactly, but I let the chocolate cool too long before adding it to the batter, so careful not to do that.
A cocoa pod. The raw fruit tastes like melon!
Cocoa processing at the Belmont Estate. The cocoa fields are just a few yards away, and the chocolate factory is down the road.
Nutmeg for sale on the street in St. George's, the main town. The web-like red coating is mace.
Nutmeg, bay, cocoa nibs and cinnamon, which is harvested from the barks of trees that grow all over the island.
When I asked for coconut water, this is what I got! Not exactly the bottle I expected, but quite refreshing.