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Welcome to Panza Baby, where you can find delicious recipes and my musings on the world through the lens of food.

Updated MLK Day Celebration Cake

Updated MLK Day Celebration Cake


You know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well in my experience it also takes a village to eat a cake and raise a dog. Whenever I make a cake I go on a few delivery runs. First a big chunk of cake to my neighbors/friends John and Rebecca who live right across from me, we often wave at each other through our windows. Then to Anna and Oliver who live about a three minute walk away. And if I make it downtown, I will deliver a slice to my friend Laura. Of course I save myself a few slices too.

It’s no coincidence that these are also the people that have helped me invaluably over the years with raising my dog Panza in addition to a whole other handful of people like my mom, my sisters, Tiffany, and my dog sitter friend Sheena. Being a single dog mom to Panza is a difficult task. When you adopt a dog you voluntarily take on certain responsibilities like feeding and walking the dog and taking it to the vet. Taking care of Panza the dog comes with a whole other set of responsibilities. She’s a big dog and she scares people. Mostly because she will bark incessantly at almost anyone who comes near me or her. And it’s not a cute bark, it’s a full on scary bark. She doesn’t like to be near children (she barks and growls at them), which is a challenge because I live in family housing where children are often running around. If I want to invite a friend over to my apartment that Panza has never met before, I have to meet them outside with Panza in the parking lot and assess the situation from there. With my amazing dog sitter Sheena, we had to meet her outside 5 or 6 times before even going in the apartment. And once in the apartment Panza didn’t stop barking at her until about the third visit. So it’s a serious commitment to try and get Panza comfortable enough with someone to even have them over for dinner. The people Panza is now comfortable with in my apartment had to go through this challenge, they put up with a lot. I lean so hard on support from these people on a daily basis, often to listen and sympathize with me. I know I’m a strong person but I actually couldn’t have done it without them.

I delivered this cake to my village and it was a hit. This is an updated version of the MLK day celebration cake from last year. The frosting is the same but the cake is a recipe using only coca powder and no actual chocolate. I underbaked it a tad and it was perfect, a little bit sticky and very moist. But overall very easy to make. If you bake this cake in 8 inch pans instead of 9 inch, the baking time will be a bit longer as the cakes will be thicker.


Chocolate Cake - recipe adapted from here

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil (I used a mix of olive and canola)

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder (dutch process)

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, and sugar. Whisk a minute until smooth and combined.

In another bowl combine cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Use a fork or whisk to combine everything together.

Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk till just combined. Add boiling water and whisk till incorporated.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 40 minutes. Test the cake around 35 minutes with a toothpick inserted in the center.

Frost with this Penuche Frosting from Food52

The frosting hardens quickly so you want to work quickly when frosting. The best approach I’ve found, is to have your first layer ready, pour on a generous amount of the warm frosting, top with the second cake layer and then pour the rest of the frosting on top of the cake. I tried to frost the sides. It didn’t work, which is why you see almonds patted around the sides of the cake (haha). This would alternately work very well in a 9x13 pan that you just pour the entire batch of frosting over the top of the cake.

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