14 Fun Days of February Day 14: Chocolate “Animal” Cake

Here it is, the last fun day of February.  Well, maybe not the last fun day altogether, but my last day of February Fun post!  I know there have been a LOT of sweets, but there will be back to normal recipes and tips coming up in the next few weeks!  I have a great article on hummus, a question on the difference between Gorgonzola, Blue cheese, and Feta, and so much other stuff!  But today is for my sweeties!

I thought about doing a big fancy dessert for today, a festive heart cake, or decidant brownie, but all of that changed this afternoon.  Keegan and I had to head to the baking supply store(Grandma’s Cupboard-they have tons of stuff, are reasonably priced), and he was looking at the cake molds.  Well, somehow it got into his head to want a “Giraffe Cake”  My first thought was ??????? Something he saw set him off and he was CONVINCED we had to head straight to the bakery for a giraffe cake.  after much deliberation, he decided just a giraffe cake was to limiting, so he settled on an animal cake, any animal as long as hippos and giraffes were involved.  I had to make him believe that animal figurines were just as good as animal drawings, but once we got that settled, we were cool! (for those of you that know me, you know I am a HORRIBLE artist!)

I knew I had all the ingredients at home for a recipe I have just recently come across, and fell in love with.  It is a chocolate cake, reminicent of Wacky Cake I had as a child.  It doesn’t use any eggs, or oil, just two secret ingredients that lead to a moist, tender cake.  These magic ingredients are grape jelly, and mayonnaise.  The grape jelly is a nice addition, not necessarily tasting like grapes, but enhancing the chocolate flavor.  The mayonnaise makes the cake tender and moist due to the fats in it.

I have loved Penuche Frosting for years, since I took a class with Bev Shaffer at Mustard Seed Market about 8 years ago.  It is a simple, quick frosting, with a flavor like brown sugar.  I use it with chocolate cakes but it is also good with white cake.  You can also make double the frosting, and pour it into a 8×8-inch pan, let it cool and cut it like fudge.  Pour it over ice cream warm for a decedant dessert!

I promise to post pictures tomorrow of the Animal Cake!  I am a laid back mommy when it comes to food, but cake has to wait until after dinner!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting


1 cup white sugar

2 cups flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup water

2 TBSP grape jelly

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup butter, melted

1/3 cup half and half

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla

1 ¾ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, stir together white sugar, flour, cocoa and baking soda. Make a well in the center and pour in the water, grape jelly, mayonnaise and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix until just blended. Spoon the batter into prepared cups, dividing evenly. Bake in preheated oven until tops spring back with lightly pressed, 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange on serving platter. Make the frosting while the cupcakes cool. Combine the butter, half and half, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set the pan over a bowl of ice water and whisk or beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Frost cupcakes when they are completely cool. Makes 15 cupcakes.(This recipe makes 15 cupcakes, or 2 8-inch round cakes.  For round cakes, bake 15 minutes, test, then bake 5-10 minutes more if needed.  The frosting recipe as it is here will only cover the top and between the layers, not the sides of a layer cake.  Double it for that.)


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