Recipe of the Week - Chocolate Cake

My beloved daughter has just left for her second year of university. There are two big differences between this year and last for me. The first is that I am no longer a neophyte empty nester. I don't sob in public anymore. I still miss her like mad, but I am cool about it. The second is that she no longer lives in residence and now rents an apartment, where she may cook. So, I have undertaken a little project for her which I did for my son when he moved from home a few years ago. I am compiling and handwriting a book of her favourite recipes for her to use in her new home. My husband is devoted to his computer and thinks I am nuts to spend all that time writing when I could type it and print it out so much faster. Of course, that isn't the point. I want them to have a book that they can take off the shelf in 30 years that contains the recipes they loved as children, written in their mother's hand.The recipe I am going to share with you today is so well used that the cookbook falls open to the page and it is covered with smears of chocolate from many years of little hands helping to bake. This is the traditional birthday cake of choice for our family, although I think my mother's icing recipe is as important to everyone as the cake. As I was writing this it occurred to me that this cake recipe is from the cookbook that my own mother gave me when I left home almost thirty years ago. It seems fitting.

Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup of shortening
3 eggs
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place liners in 2 dozen 3 inch muffin cups or if making cake, grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
2. Into large bowl measure all ingredients except icing.
3. With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl. at high speed, beat 5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
4 Spoon into muffin pan cups, filling each until half full or pour into cake pans. Bake 20 minutes for cupcakes or 30-35 minutes for cake or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and dry.
5. Cool on wire racks for ten minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on racks. Ice once they are completely cooled.

Maple Fudge Icing

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 - 2 cups icing sugar

1. Melt butter. Add brown sugar. Boil over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
2 Add milk. Immediately remove from heat while stirring . Cool thoroughly.
3. Sift icing sugar and add gradually brown sugar mixture, beating after each addition.
4. If the icing is too thick, add a bit of milk. If it is too thin, add a bit more sifted icing sugar

Cake recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook
Icing recipe from Joyce Rossiter