Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mum's Luscious Chocolate Frosting: Amazingly easy

My mother, though quite a good cook, lived the philosophy that if it needed more than one bowl or one pot it was too fussy.

A practical woman, she started her career as a social worker, then raised four kids, then worked as an administrative assistant at a university. After retirement she worked as town librarian to the age of 82. Fussy in the kitchen was not her style.

Yet several stunningly good dishes came from her repertoire, a few of them still made by her grandchildren. One of those dishes, that tastes of my childhood, is chocolate frosting that is rich yet practically fat-free. It is presented below.

Recently Christina produced a double chocolate cake for a friend's farewell luncheon. Both the cake and the silken frosting were simple to make from scratch and were from Mum's recipes. The easy but elegant chocolate cake was posted on my blog on 7/13/08, and is quickly retrievable from the blog archives.

The boiled chocolate frosting, velvety and gleaming, tastes remarkably intense. Yet it actually uses less sugar than a typical frosting and contains no butter. We made this one often when we lived overseas in the tropics, where confectioner's sugar was hard to find and butter expensive.

Mum claimed this was originally a cake filling rather than a frosting. But it was her standard chocolate frosting, and the favorite of her kids.

A recipe covers an 8- to 9-inch layer cake.

Mum's Rich Boiled Chocolate Frosting

2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk (she sometimes used canned evaporated milk)
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In heavy sauce pan, combine cornstarch and sugar with a whisk. Mix in milk, chocolate squares and salt.

Heat rapidly, stirring almost constantly with whisk. When chocolate has melted, simmer 10 minutes, stirring very frequently.

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Stir often as frosting cools to just warm. Spread it still warm on cooled cake.

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