- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year’s Eve used to be a festive night when my husband and I dressed up and went dancing; it is now a night we share with our children and friends in the comfort of home.

So the word “festive” has more to do with the mood and possibly the entree and not necessarily the tuxedo or pearls. We think it is absolutely over the top to splurge on lobster, which we bring home from the market, steam and serve whole with melted butter.

This is a perfect meal for New Year’s or birthdays. Accompaniments we like with lobster or steamed shrimp are reminiscent of the meals I enjoyed many years ago at Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami: hash brown potatoes and slaw.

For dessert, why not a famous recipe that originated with Hershey’s, the chocolate people? I have tweaked the Hershey’s recipe only slightly.

Easy Hershey bar swirl cake

CAKE:

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan

Flour for dusting the pan

1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix with pudding

cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup light corn syrup

cup finely chopped pecans

1 large (7-ounce) Hershey’s milk-chocolate bar

cup chocolate syrup

EASY MILK CHOCOLATE GLAZE:

1 large (7-ounce) Hershey’s milk chocolate bar

2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour and set pan aside.

Place cake mix, 11/3 cups water, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine and scrape down side of bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping side down again, if needed. Batter should look thick and well-combined. Measure out 2 cups batter and place it in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir in corn syrup and pecans. Set bowl aside.

Break chocolate bar into pieces and place those pieces in a small microwave-safe bowl along with chocolate syrup. Microwave chocolate on high power for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. Return bowl to microwave for a few seconds, if needed. Fold melted chocolate into remaining plain batter until well incorporated.

Pour chocolate batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out with rubber spatula. Spoon pecan batter evenly over top. Place pan on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven.

Bake cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and is just starting to pull away from sides of pan, 43 to 47 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Run a long, sharp knife around edge of cake and invert it onto a rack to cool completely, 20 minutes more.

To prepare glaze, break chocolate bar into pieces and place pieces and shortening in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate has melted; return bowl to microwave for a few more seconds, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Spoon glaze over cooled cake, allowing it to drip down sides of cake. Let cake rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slide cake onto a serving platter. Slice and serve.

Makes 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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