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Birthday Cake without a mixer

My son's birthday is approaching, and I am without a mixer of any kind but I do have a wisk. Yesterday I managed to find cake pans, so that is a start. He would like a traditional chocolate cake with vanilla icing. I have baking powder, but I have been unable to find baking soda, so the recipe needs to have only baking powder. Does anyone have a recipe for a traditional chocolate cake that can be made by hand and doesn't require a ton of creaming of butter and sugar? Maybe a chocolate cake made with vegetable oil? The icing shouldn't be a problem since I have found confectioners sugar here in Cairo, and my husband brought vanilla when he came to visit. Thanks.

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  1. I don't have a mixer or baking soda either so am always on the lookout for recipes that can be made without either.

    This is for small cakes but I think it could be made as a large cake: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/06/cho...

    Alternatively you could adapt another yogurt cake to add chocolate: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
    Both make very moist cakes.

    1. For creaming butter and sugar, I use a fork. Just mush it down and it will all cream together nicely. Yes it takes a while and my arm feels like it will fall off after, but it works. :)

      1. I have an old tool from my nana (think it may be from her nana). It's a creaming spoon-- like a metal slotted spoon but the edges of the slots are a little sharp, if that makes sense. I often use it when creaming butter and sugar when I don't feel like dealing with the mixer. So I wonder if a slotted spoon would work more quickly than a fork?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Procrastibaker

          This little gadget sounds wonderful! You wouldn't happen to have a photo of it by any chance would you? I tried a google search but it came up with nothing resembling it.

          1. re: rockability

            a machine shop should be able to tooth the edge of a regular stainlees steel slotted spoon for you, especially if you promise to bring them in a cake after using it.

        2. weird that you can't find baking soda? it's useful for so many other things than baking, and dates back to ancient civilzations. baking powder is a more recent development.

          the crazy cake recipe i use, which is cocoa and oil based, uses baking soda, sorry.

          however, you can make a genoise cake, which will require a bit of egg whisking, but no creaming and no soda or powder.

          how will you make icing without a mixer? just wondering?

          7 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I'm just planning on making a confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla, & cream frosting. I just spoke to someone today who claims she can get me baking soda -- available, aparently, at a specialized spice store. It's weird the things I can't find -- like hot pepper flakes, and/or Aleppo pepper. I haven't seen corn syrup (how to make my Thanksgiving pecan pie?), or molasses -- no spice cookies, I guess... I also suppose that I can make my own buttermilk? I found an oil-based chocolate cake recipe that requires both baking soda and buttermilk. I have seen cocoa, which is good...

            1. re: roxlet

              if you can get baking soda, i have made this chocolate cake a million times. it's delicious and foolproof.

              http://mysisterskitchen.wordpress.com...

              i sub yogurt for buttermilk all the time with no discernible difference. i would think corn syrup might be a novelty though, yes, lol. with the plethora of dried spices in the area's cuisines, i bet there is a way to make honey spice cookies, rather than pulling out your hair looking for molasses.

              if you're just whipping cream for topping the cake, i'd use regular sugar. it dissolves in the cream and you don't get that grainy texture.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                When you sub the yogurt, do you use any milk to loosen it up?

                1. re: roxlet

                  nope. i use plain, either greek style, like fage, or "european style' from trader joe's. neither have pectin so they are not as stiff as american yogurts.

              2. re: roxlet

                for pecan pie, look for lyle's golden syrup. Ask one of the british expat's in cairo if there is anywhere that specifically stocks british products and they might have lyle's there.
                works as well as corn syrup.

                1. re: missmasala

                  Thanks for that suggestion, missmasala. Today I scored Lyle's as well as baking soda! Yippee!

                2. re: roxlet

                  also, if you can get baking soda, this is a great party cake. it literally takes 20 minutes to whip up from start to finish (no mixer or butter required) and it tastes great. i leave out the nuts for kids and have frosted with white frosting before.

                  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

              3. From the Joy of Cooking:
                To cream butter, "work 70 degree shortening lightly with fingertips -- or use the back of a wooden spoon."
                Also indicates that 200 strokes by hand beating is the equivalent of 2 minutes with an electronic mixer at medium speed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: masha

                  One of the problems with creaming butter here is that it is so darned hot! I made a pie crust and I had to constantly sling the dough back into the freezer.