Yesterday’s constant rainfall was fitting as the first funerals for the victims of last week’s shooting were held. I was sitting in my dining room watching the downpour, overwhelmed by the incomprehensible mourning that so many are going through right now. It seemed like heaven was crying too.
I thought about the families and the colleagues and the friends struggling to get through this tragedy in one piece. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows it isn’t possible to “reason” your way through something like this — so what can you do? I’m reminded of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Elizabethtown. Drew is flying home for his father’s funeral and Claire stops him on the plane after witnessing his grief to share these simple words: “We are intrepid. We carry on.” Carrying on isn’t something we can figure out or understand, it’s just something we do.
When a person is in deep mourning, you can love them, you can be a shoulder to cry on, you can tell them everything is going to be okay, but sometimes it’s the smallest things that mean the most.
When you know a grieving family, one of the most basic things you can offer is food. Times like this are dark and difficult, but we are built to endure. Something as simple as delivering a chocolate cake to a neighbor in need can act as a reminder that we are in this together and good things are yet to come.
Mini Chocolate Cakes + Cardamom Buttercream
- Mini Chocolate Cakes -
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus a little extra for the ramekins
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1.5 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
You will also need twelve 10 oz. ramekins. If you don’t have that many, make as many mini cakes as you can and use the rest of the batter for cupcakes. The mini “cake plates” are actually tin coasters I got from FindersKeepers Market. Coasters are the perfect size for these cakes.
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Butter and flour the ramekins.
3. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with an electric hand mixer.
4. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low speed.
5. Add the coffee to the batter, still mixing on low and scraping down the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
6. Ladle the batter into your individual ramekins, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top of each.
7. Bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out almost clean (with some moist crumbs), and cool in the ramekins for 30 minutes. Once cool enough, turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully slice off the rounded tops so you have flat, even surfaces on both sides.
- Cardamom Buttercream -
2 sticks salted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
2 tsp. ground cardamom
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup whole milk
1. Cream the butter until fluffy and pale.
2. Add the vanilla and cardamom and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer.
3. Alternate adding 1 cup of sugar at a time and a splash of milk, beating in between until smooth.
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