Thursday, October 23, 2014


The trees are all in their glory right now on our street. I should say the maple and ash trees.  The sweet gum and oaks on neighboring streets are procrastinating, but it won't be long. The temperatures are great with highs in the 70s and maybe even 80s before the week is over.

Tuesday when I went to Hillcrest Thrift Shop I was almost late. My husband and I decided to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperature by walking around the block to also enjoy the color and stopped to talk to two different neighbors we hadn't met. Fortunately I had baked my cake before I even ate breakfast that morning. 

The last few days I have been making some breads from the Secrets of Fat-Free Baking cookbook, but decided to go back to Lia Wilson's Quick Fixes & Mixes cookbook to find a dessert to make Tuesday morning. I actually had three different recipes I wanted to make and had a hard time making up my mind.  I finally decided to go with the chocolate one.  Don't worry I will be making and sharing the other two real soon.

As I said, I got to the thrift shop about 10 minutes before my shift started.  Mark was getting up to leave the room, but sat back down when he saw me come in.  Kim, who works the first shift at the register, had brought an Apple Butter Crunch Cake to share and they had eaten almost half of it. (I took a picture of my "helping" and will be sharing it tomorrow. It was really good, too.) They all found room to enjoy my cake also and had nothing but praises for it. (Yes, there were  a couple of pieces left at the end of my shift that I brought home so my husband could try it.  He really liked it!)


2 - 1/2   cups mini marshmallows
1             cup packed brown sugar
1/2         cup cocoa powder
2            cups hot water
1             devil's food cake mix 
1 - 1/3    cups buttermilk (I used 1 %)
3            eggs
1/3         cup oil
2            teaspoons cinnamon
1             teaspoon vanilla
1             (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2         cup pecans, chopped and toasted (I didn't toast mine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan.

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly in the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, cocoa, and hot water. 
Pour over the marshmallows.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, buttermilk, eggs, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla on low speed.  Slowly add the melted chocolate during this. (The chocolate hardens quickly when it hits the cooler mixture.  It combines with the mixture better, if you slowly add it to the mixture.)

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Carefully spoon the batter over the marshmallow mixture.  (This is a little tricky.  DO NOT just dump the batter in the pan. I added the batter with my rubber spatula so I could "drag" it over the mixture as it dropped. You don't want the marshmallow mixture to come up over the cake batter. It will make a pudding-like frosting on the cake when you flip it out of the pan.)

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top half of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack. (I rested mine 25 minutes.)

Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan and then turn the cake out of the pan onto your serving tray.

Use a spatula to smooth frosting if necessary. I had just a couple of places where the frosting stayed in the pan, but it removed easily and I just filled it in the empty places on the cake. (I think my frosting is so dark because I had to use a little special dark cocoa to make a full 1/2 cup cocoa required for the recipe.)

Sprinkle pecans evenly over the top. (The pecans hide the uneven look it had when I took it out of the pan - above picture.)

I thought I would share some pictures of the color we are enjoying.

The view up the street. (My phone didn't do justice with the red tree in the center. It just takes your breathe away when you see it.)

Two of the trees in our front yard from across the street. The large maple is always later than the other ones in the neighborhood to turn.

The view of the ash tree from the other side coming out our front door. The purple was so pretty over the weekend. Ash trees are so beautiful in the fall. The inside leaves turn yellow while the outside leaves turn purple.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our fall color here in Kansas City.

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