Same cake, SEVERAL birthdays ago

Birthday preparations are in full swing here.

Not only am I getting the wearable muslin into wearing shape in time for my birthday weekend, but also:

Making a half batch of my / my mom’s / my gramma’s famous Sour Cream Chocolate Cake (a birthday tradition). Some substitutions are necessarily, most notably, I’m having to sub the sour cream for yogurt. You may see why I decided to make a test batch. Good news, it’s delicious. I even tested it on one of my neighbors, who also thinks it’s delicious. It’s delicious. Definitely delicious. And, as an added bonus, it cooks really well in a steam bath. Recipe to follow.

Last year's cake was super tasty, Emily can vouch. It even SMELLS good!

Last year’s cake was super tasty, Emily can vouch. It even SMELLS good!

Planning the cake frosting: there is the standard frosting, but that uses a lot of 4x sugar. Not sure I’m into that. Pretty sure last year’s frosting choice was cream cheese frosting (delicious, easy, creamy, not too sweet). Not sure that I can get cream cheese here (actually I’m sure I could in Cotonou but, cost and lack of refrigeration at site….?) I just tried to make a batch of Vache Qui Rit frosting, but my last TWO wheels of VQR have been terrible quality. Not getting anymore of that until they run out of the current batch at the super market. Open to frosting suggestions. Especially if they include condensed milk.

Planning my Cotonou trip (for the Indian food). I’m going to have to get someone to either cover my Thursday afternoon classes at the other school with one of the sections of CE2 while my counterpart has the other section (ha!), or my Saturday morning music theory class (but, but, I like that class!) I think the best we can do is hope that class will be canceled on Thursday. Cross your fingers.

Sending out Birthday cards to all my May Birthday Kittens! They are now all in the mail. They may be late, but they are in the mail.

(I’ve been sitting here on the internet for like, an hour, trying to dig out an old photo from the back logs of facebook. I’ll put it up if I have time later in the week.)

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake for regular folks:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup sour cream
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
2 eggs
4 oz melted baker’s chocolate
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix on low speed 1 minute. Beat on high 3 minutes. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan. Or two 9” layer pans. Bake at 350 for 40 – 45 minutes. Or, make 3 dozen cupcakes and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.


1/3 cup of butter
3 oz melted baker’s chocolate
3 cups 4x sugar
½ sour cream
2 tsp vanilla


Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Benin Style

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (less if using sweetened yogurt)
½ cup of butter OR about 114 grams
¾ cup plain yogurt (two 125 ml yogurt cups)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
¾ c cocoa powder
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Have fun crushing up your sugar cubes bien. Mix everything together really well with a fork. Bake in a steam bath (not super high) for about 30-40 minutes. Stick a knife in to see if it comes out clean.

IMG_7695Don’t fill your pans too full like I did.


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