Who do you think would win in a mud-wrestling match: Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker? Well, truth is Martha would win, because Betty isn’t even a real person. BUT, the woman actually behind Betty Crocker, Marjorie Husted, was quite a powerhouse. I think out of sheer reverence Martha would just let Marjorie kick her ass. Born in 1892 in Minneapolis, Marjorie Husted was responsible for the conception of a brand that was familiar to 91% of American housewives by 1948. She also considered housekeeping a craft, stating in 1948 that “Good housekeeping is an art and it’s about time it is treated as such”.
I turned to Betty for a dessert recipe as part of my contribution to a delicious turkey day feast hosted by good friends last week (thanks Tara & Chuck!). But due to the feminist roots that still hold strong in our country, I ordered my husband to make it. Kidding! He actually wanted to make it (the man likes to bake). I kept my eye on the process though, so I could bring you some tips and tricks on the making the cake. I’m sending you over to the Betty Crocker website for the recipe (here’s the link), but here are a few observations about the entire proceeding that will hopefully negate any surprises if you want to tackle this cake yourself.
The pan – The recipe calls for the pan to be greased and floured, but since a lot of the cake itself is exposed (it’s not completely covered in icing), skip the flour, and just grease the pan down really well. The easiest route is to liberally spray a non-stick bundt pan down with non-stick spray, like Pam. I chose to liberally grease the pan up with coconut oil, which has the consistency of shortening at room temperature. It worked really well!
The chocolate – The chocolate “truffle” in the middle of the cake consists of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and condensed milk. The recipe has you melt it first, then make the batter for the cake. Once part of the batter is in the bundt pan, you very carefully spoon the chocolate into a dent you make in the center of the batter(the batter is thick enough to do this). My hubby had to heat the chocolate up a little bit again to make it workable. The issue was, our chocolate sunk to the bottom of the bundt pan, so our truffle was right at the top of the finished cake. In the photo on the Betty Crocker website, the truffle sits in the middle.
The recipe calls for you to put 2/3 of the batter into the pan, carefully spoon the chocolate ring in (you don’t want any chocolate actually touching the pan or it will burn), then cover with the leftover 1/3 batter. Come to find out, my husband thought 2/3 was a bit too much, and cut back on it a little. His theory is that next time it should be half the batter on the bottom, half the batter on top. I’m going to disagree. I think that chocolate ring is heavy, and that sucker sinks. The majority of your batter should be in the pan before you put the chocolate ring in. I’ll keep you posted if the disagreement over this point leads to a trial separation of my marriage.
Browning Butter – I’d never browned butter by itself in a saucepan before. Words of wisdom; the foam that forms on top of the melted butter while it’s browning prevents you from actually seeing that it’s turning brown. Make sure to pull that foam back with a spoon on a regular basis to check the color of the liquid underneath. You should start to see a bit of caramel color seeping up through the foam as the liquid browns beneath. The process of browning the butter should take about 3 minutes.
Full disclosure, this wasn’t my favorite cake ever, but I’m more of a pie and brownie girl myself. It was definitely tasty though, and if you’re a pound cake fan I’d recommend it. If you decide to make this cake, please stop back by and tell us what you thought!