The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Sunday, February 25, 2007

All is Well With the Ho

No, no--not ME. The giant H0-Ho (with due thanks and credit given to Kit for referring to it as "the ho" and thus giving me a giggle for the day). The ho ended up being quite well received, due in no small part, I expect, to the fact that booze and chocolate and whipped cream really can't be all bad, even if they do bring up memories of those summers I spent running around with a permanent kool-aid mustache and frozen twinkies that my friend and I sneaked out of her dad's freezer (the one he kept in his woodshop in the back yard...the mysteries about what men do in such places just get more and more puzzling, don't they?). There's about this much left:

I know, she looks a bit bedraggled gentle. She had a hard night, what with everyone wanting a piece of her. Someone did ask for the recipe and the short answer is this: the ho is just chocolate cake, poked and sprinkled with booze of choice, and then torn up and layered in a bowl with fudge sauce, whipped cream, and chopped up Heath bars. It can be as hard or as easy as you like--the cake can be homemade or from a mix, the fudge sauce can be homemade or from a jar, and the whipped cream can be fresh whipped or frozen whipped topping. The booze can be whatever turns your own personal handle, although the Bailey's was pretty darned tasty. Kalhua sounds like it might work as well. I did the homemade route, and it went fine. I use a cake recipe that is more or less Knitingale-proof, in that it doesn't require me to "alternately stir in the wet and dry ingredients, ending with the dry" which is good because, as with knitting patterns, I am somewhat famous for noticing the "ending with the dry" part a bit too late....such as, after I put the thing in the oven. For this one, you just take a bowl and dump in:

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour (sift it if it brings joy to your soul--I never bother)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons EACH baking powder and baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Stir 'em around a bit if you've a mind to; don't sweat it if you don't. Seriously, short of spitting in it, you can't ruin this cake (and, if you're a 4 year old, even spitting in it might not take the edge off it). Now dump in on top of the dry stuff:

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons real vanilla

Dig around in the cupboard until you find the mixer. Plug it in, realize the beaters aren't on it. Hunt for two beaters that actually match one another AND the mixer. Attach beaters to mixer, place in bowl, turn it on. Turn it off; wipe cake batter off cupboards, counter, and front of shirt. Set bowl in sink and turn mixer back on. Make note to use larger mixing bowl next time. Mix for about 2 minutes at medium speed. Remove mixer. Stir one cup of boiling water into the batter and pour it into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. If you're like me, the thought of trying to get cake out of a pan in one piece likely makes the backs of your knees sweat. Don't worry--you're going to tear this cake to pieces. You could grease the pan with superglue and not ruin this dish (I mean, other than the whole poisoning thing....that throws a bit of a damper on most dinner parties.). Bake the whole thing at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes. Take it out and immediately poke holes all over it with a fork. Take one half cup of the booze of your choice and sprinkle it over the cake. I didn't want to pour it, because cakes and I have a love-hate sort of relationship and I just knew that pouring liquid of any kind over the top was asking for an alcholic lake surrounded by chocolate crumbs. Instead, I dipped my (clean) fingers into a little dish of the booze and sprinkled carefully. Once appropriately sprinkled and spiked (the cake, not you), put in the fridge for at least three hours.

At this point, you can buy one of those terribly fancy footed trifle bowls that give the illusion that you know your tush from a hole in the ground about fancy meal service. I opted for truth in advertising (plus I was too cheap to buy a trifle dish) and used a clear glass mixing bowl. When the cake has chilled appropriately (you'll know if you look in the fridge and the cake is kicked back with its feet up and a beer in one hand, saying "dude..." and looking relaxed), take it out and divide it into three sections. Tear one of them into chunks and line the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle fudge sauce on top of that (jarred or homemade--let me know if you want that recipe as well). Crush up a Heath bar and sprinkle on the fudge. Whip up some fresh cream with vanilla and powdered sugar (and a bit of unflavored gelatin that's been dissolved in hot water if you really want the cream to stay firm. Viagra might also do it...). You can use frozen whipped topping if you prefer--I'm just a huge whore for real whipped cream. Or a huge ho. Whichever. Spread a layer of this on next. Repeat these layers twice more, only with the last one, put the cream on before the crushed candy so you have a nice topping. Chill a bit more and then shovel it out with a spoon and dig in. Do not--I repeat DO NOT contemplate the fat grams or calories. You will not be pleased.

Flush with the success of getting two people who like me to eat smashed, spiked cake and whipped cream (hey, I take my successes where I can get them), I decided to show off my stellar social skills today by checking out a local knitting group. It is probably important to point out here that the term "stellar social skills" translates here as "sit wide-eyed in a corner looking vaguely like a deer in headlights who happens to be heavily sedated" or "babble endlessly about nothing whatsoever and, once aware of my own babbling, responding by babbling more". Today I opted for the "endless babbling" method. They turned out to be very gracious women, and one of them is even a nurse and fellow cat lover who managed to avoid staring at me blankly while wondering if I ever have a thought I don't speak (she may have been wondering that...but if so, she hid it well). She has a blog, too.

While I was out, Mr. K got this picture of Gracie for you:

I'm only slightly more outgoing than this when not in my "babble plenty" mode. I'm probably not quite as cute.


  • At 8:38 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    The Ho looked splendid. I'm glad she brought so much joy and booze to your guests.

    I'd probably love to join your knitting group, the ones out here are lame and meet right while I'm in church. What's up with THAT?

  • At 11:20 PM, Blogger knottykitty said…

    Lovely to meet you today, Ms. K! And let me tell everyone else that Ms. K grossly underestimates her social skills---she neither babbles NOR stares blankly, and is, in fact, a lot of fun, and knits a fabulous sock to boot! In fact, I do believe she patiently listened to ME babble rather endlessly---LOL! All great traits in a future nurse! Looking forward to the next knitting group meet-up...see ya then! :)
    Oh, and hey....where was that chocolate thing today? ;)

  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Oh my that is such a cute picture ..Gracie you know you are gorgeous don't you ? Isn't "Ho" a strange errr thing. We had no idea what it meant when we watched the first series of "The Shield"'s a garden instrument to us ! We caught on fast ..I guess it is typical of the misogynist ,vile language of gangs and rappers . That cake looks fabulous.

  • At 4:42 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Mmmmmmmmm, tasty looking Ho! I have that same chocolate cake recipe! and yes, it is failproof!
    I am so glad you had such a great time, at the dinner AND at the knitting!

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger beckie said…

    Mmm...chocalety chocalate cake! Yum yum!

  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Yummmmmmmm! My four-year-old came to look at the picture and announced that it was a "beautiful birthday cake."

    Maybe Kitty Daddy needs a Ho for his birthday in March...

  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Kali said…

    Fabulous recipe! Your prose made it candy for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Not being a chocoholic myself (my perversions run more to the salt and carbohydrate side), it may not have the same thrill...but it sure gives my buttered popcorn and greasy butter-fried potatoes a run for their money!


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