No deaths result from ‘Death by Chocolate’

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
Ashley Serena Wright’s entry, Chocolate Wasted Cake, won first place in Northern Hospital’s “Death by Chocolate!” bake-off. - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Winner Ashley Serena Wright is pictured with her trophy. - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Hospital staff taste “Death by Chocolate” entries before casting their votes. - Bill Colvard | The News
Chocolate Eclair was Cindy Thacker’s entry. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Better than “Everything” Cake was baked by Maddie Woods. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Crock Pot Reese’s Cup Swirl Cake was entered by Christie Jones. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Had there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize. Had there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Wellesley Fudge Cake was baked by Pam Wood. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Chocolate Graham Cracker Treats were entered by Mechelle Johnson. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Milky Way Cake was baked by Kathryn Epperson. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Sheila Woodruff's chocolate cake is known simply as "The Chocolate Cake." - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Andrea Hickling ‘s Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake is also known as a “Slice of Heaven.” - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital
Ashly Lancaster’s “Earthquake Cake,” baked from a recipe she acquired from retired co-worker Linda Williams, was temporarily renamed “Hurricane Cake” in deference to Hurricane Florence. - - Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

“I’m happy to have chocolate,” said Angela Hunter as she filled her tasting plate at Northern Hospital of Surry’s Chocolate Bake-Off on Sept. 12. “It has taken awhile.”

The hospital has been having bake-offs and cook-offs for several years, each with a theme. Employees prepare dishes according to the theme of each competition and fellow staffers taste and vote on their favorites in a blind tasting in the hospital’s cafeteria. After the votes are tabulated, the winner receives a trophy, perhaps some additional prizes, and definitely bragging rights.

The theme for the recent competition was “Death by Chocolate!” The rules called for contestants to prepare any dessert with any flavor of chocolate (dark, white, milk, etc) as a key ingredient.

“I’ve been pushing for chocolate for quite some time,” said the hospital’s marketing director Ashly Lancaster. “In the past, the theme has been seasonal. We’ve had strawberries in the spring and chili in the fall, but it’s not quite summer and not quite fall right now. “

The winning recipe was Ashley Serena Wright’s entry, Chocolate Wasted Cake. That recipe follows, along with 10 of the other entries, including Earthquake Cake, a popular birthday cake among hospital staff. It was temporarily renamed Hurricane Cake due to the impending threat of Hurricane Florence.

“‘Death by Chocolate!’ has been a big hit,” said Lancaster.

As big a hit as the bake-off was, there were — according to all reports — no actual deaths by chocolate.

See additional photos at MtAiryNews.com.

Chocolate Wasted Cake (1st place)

Ashley Serena Wright

Dry ingredients:

1 -1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup cocoa

Wet Ingredients:

1 -1/2 cup Stout

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. espresso powder

Other:

2 cups butter, at room temp.

1 -1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cups mayo

1. Combine all of your dry ingredients into a medium-size bowl. Then combine your wet ingredients into a separate small bowl.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy. Add in your eggs, mixing it in one at a time. Add the mayo. (You can’t taste the mayo but it make the cake moist). Once all is combined switch off adding the dry and wet ingredients. Make sure to scrape the side of your bowl frequently.

3. Divide batter into greased pans and bake at 350°F. for 35 minutes. Let cool before icing.

Assemble the cake:

Bottom layer of chocolate cake, icing, brownie layer, icing, second layer of chocolate cake and icing the top and sides of cake. You may top the cake with any chocolate goodies that you desire.

*The middle of the cake is a brownie layer. I just made the brownie out of a box but you could make it homemade if you prefer to do so.

Chocolate Icing:

1/3 cup butter (room temp)

2/3 cup cocoa

2 -2/3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove pan from heat and place the cocoa mixture into a medium size bowl. Let it slightly cool.

2. Add the milk and vanilla alternately with the powdered sugar to the bowl and beat with an electric mixer until done.

(You will need to double the recipe to have enough icing for the middle layers as well.)

Better Than “Everything” Cake

Maddie Woods

1 box of German chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

1 -14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 jar of caramel ice cream topping (I used Smuckers caramel syrup)

1 -16 oz. container Cool Whip

1 bag of toffee bits

1. Bake the cake following instructions on the box.

2. Let the cake cool, then poke holes about 1 inch apart using the end of a spoon.

3. Pour the condensed milk over the cake. Pour the caramel topping over the cake and spread evenly.

4. Spread the cool whip over the caramel topping, then sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

5. Refrigerate for about an hour or so, then serve.

Chocolate Éclair

Cindy Thacker

Graham crackers (about 2 sleeves from a box)

3 cups milk

2 small packages French vanilla instant pudding

1 -(8 oz.) carton whipped topping

1-2 cans chocolate frosting

Grease pan or Pyrex dish (6×12) and line with unbroken crackers both on the bottom and sides. Mix pudding, milk, and whipped topping. Pour half of mixture over crackers. Top with additional crackers. Layer with remaining pudding mixture. Cover with additional graham crackers. Spread frosting over top.

Chill 24 hours.

Chocolate Graham Cracker Treats

Mechelle Johnson

1 box of graham crackers, plain

1 cup butter = (2 sticks of butter)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 -12 oz. package of milk chocolate chips

1 -12 oz. package of white chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a 9 x 13-inch rimmed cookie sheet with Reynolds non-stick tin foil with non-stick side up. Press the foil into the bottom of the cookie sheet and let the foil go over the ends about one to two inches on both ends and above the rim on both sides. Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer to cover the entire cookie sheet.

On the stove in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, melt the cup of butter and the cup of brown sugar, stirring constantly until it starts to boil. Once the mixture starts boiling, let the mixture boil for about three minutes stirring constantly. Take the pan off the stove and pour the mixture evenly over the graham crackers. Take a knife and spread the mixture completely over the graham crackers.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Oven times vary but you should see the butter/brown sugar mixture bubbling on top of the graham crackers as it cooks towards the end of the baking time.

Take the pan out of the oven and set on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the milk chocolate chips and the white chocolate chips over the hot graham crackers. Wait three minutes and then use a knife or spreader to spread out the melted chips over the graham crackers. After this step, you can then add the optional chopped pecans.

Cool completely for at least two hours. For faster set up you can let pan cool and then put in the refrigerator. When ready, use the edges of the foil that are sticking out of the ends of the cookie sheet to lift the graham crackers out of the pan. This lets you separate the edges of the foil from the graham crackers so you can start breaking off bite-sized pieces. Put in airtight container. Best if made the day before.

Crock Pot Reese’s Cup Swirl Cake

Christie Jones

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix

1 cup water

3 eggs

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup

Toppings:

3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

2 to 3 tbsp. milk

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp. chocolate-flavored syrup

20 Reese’s peanut butter cups miniatures, unwrapped and cut in half

1. Spray a 5- to 6-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, eggs, 1/2 cup peanut butter and the butter with electric mixer on low 30 speed seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl.

2. Remove 2/3 cup of the batter to medium bowl; stir in 1/2 cup chocolate syrup to make chocolate fudge batter.

3. Spoon 1/2 of the peanut butter batter into the slow cooker, followed by all of the chocolate fudge batter. Top with remaining peanut butter batter. Swirl with a knife in a circular motion.

4. Cover; cook on High heat setting 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Turn off slow cooker; uncover, and remove ceramic base from cooker to cooling rack. Let cool 15 minutes.

5. In medium bowl, beat 3 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons milk with whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar; mix until smooth. If necessary, gradually add additional 1 tablespoon milk until glaze is desired consistency. Spread peanut butter glaze over cake; drizzle with the chocolate syrup. Sprinkle peanut butter cups over top of cake.

Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Denise Felts

12 slices bacon

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 eggs

1 cup cold, strong brewed coffee

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Chop up the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy and drain. Mix together all other ingredients, reserving some bacon for the tops of the cupcakes. Bake at 350°F. for 20 minutes and top with your favorite chocolate buttercream icing and remaining bacon.

Milky Way Cake

Kathryn Epperson

8 Milky way candy bars

2 -½ cups all- purpose flour

2 sticks of margarine

½ tsp. baking soda

2 cups of sugar

1 -¼ cup buttermilk

4 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

Melt Milky Way bars and 1 stick of margarine, set aside. Cream sugar and 1 stick of margarine, add eggs, add alternately flour, baking soda with buttermilk. Add melted candy and margarine mixture. Add pecans. Bake in tube pan at 325°F for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until done.

Icing:

2 -½ cups of sugar

1 cup marshmallow cream

1 cup of evaporated milk

1 stick of margarine

6 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips

Cook sugar and evaporated milk to soft ball stage, add chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, and margarine, stir until all are melted and pour on cake.

Wellesley Fudge Cake

Pam Wood

For cake:

2 -½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp.s baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

¾ cup hot water

½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, (cut into 16 pieces and softened)

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

For Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut in half, softened

1 -½ cups light brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup evaporated milk

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. MAKE BATTER: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch square cake pans. (May cut 2 squares of parchment paper and lay in bottom of pans.) Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl; set aside. In small bowl, whisk hot water with cocoa powder until smooth; set aside. With electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add cocoa mixture and vanilla until incorporated.

2. BAKE CAKES: scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cooled, wrapped cakes can be stored at room temperature for 2 days.)

3. MAKE FROSTING: Heat 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, salt and ½ cup evaporated milk in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around edge of pan, 4 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and turned deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Slice remaining butter into 4 pieces and stir in with remaining evaporated milk until mixture is slightly cool. Add chocolate, add vanilla, and stir until smooth. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

4. ASSEMBLE CAKE: Place 1 cake layer on serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake layer. Generously spread remaining frosting over top and side of cake. Refrigerate cake until frosting is set, about 1 hour. Bring to room temperature to serve.

The Chocolate Cake

Sheila Woodruff

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup oil

1 stick butter

3 tbsp. cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting:

1 stick butter

6 tbsp. milk

3 -3/4 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan, mix Coca-Cola, oil, butter and cocoa and bring to a boil. In another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Pour the boiling cola mixture over the flour mixture and beat well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla and beat well. Pour mixture into a well-greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan and bake at 350°F. for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.

Frosting:

In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and milk. Heat until the butter melts. Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread on the cake while it’s still warm.

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake AKA “Slice of Heaven”

Andrea Hickling

Recipe is transcribed directly from a photo of Hickling’s recipe index card. Her personal shorthand may require some experimentation to conquer.

Mix together the following:

1 Devil’s Food cake mix

1 s. choco instant pudding

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

3/4 cup oil

1 -8f. choco chips

1/2 cup warm water

Bake at 350°F. for 60 minutes.

Hurricane Cake (formerly Earthquake Cake but re-christened due to Hurricane Florence’s impending arrival)

Ashly Lancaster

“I was introduced to Earthquake Cake several years ago when I began working in the Administration office with my friend and co-worker, Linda Williams. Linda, who is now retired from Northern, was famous for making homemade desserts for those in our department for their birthday. For each birthday we would all gather for a little birthday celebration around the conference room table and enjoy whatever tasty treat Linda had made. Everything she ever made was to die for, but my favorite was always the Eathquake Cake and it became my special request each year. After her retirement I sought out the recipe from her so I could make it myself. It is now a team favorite in my department for birthday celebrations. I see now how much enjoyment Linda must have gotten out of baking for us all through the years. The old saying is true that nothing brings people together better than good food and in this case, good chocolate!” —Ashly Lancaster

24 servings

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of one 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Layer coconut and pecans in the bottom of pan. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions and pour over pecans and coconut. Combine cream cheese, butter or margarine, vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Pour over cake mix. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Toothpick will not come out clean.

Ashley Serena Wright’s entry, Chocolate Wasted Cake, won first place in Northern Hospital’s “Death by Chocolate!” bake-off.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0544.jpgAshley Serena Wright’s entry, Chocolate Wasted Cake, won first place in Northern Hospital’s “Death by Chocolate!” bake-off. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Winner Ashley Serena Wright is pictured with her trophy.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0557.jpgWinner Ashley Serena Wright is pictured with her trophy. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Hospital staff taste “Death by Chocolate” entries before casting their votes.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_1776.jpgHospital staff taste “Death by Chocolate” entries before casting their votes. Bill Colvard | The News

Chocolate Eclair was Cindy Thacker’s entry.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0549.jpgChocolate Eclair was Cindy Thacker’s entry. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Better than “Everything” Cake was baked by Maddie Woods.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0553.jpgBetter than “Everything” Cake was baked by Maddie Woods. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Crock Pot Reese’s Cup Swirl Cake was entered by Christie Jones.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0533.jpgCrock Pot Reese’s Cup Swirl Cake was entered by Christie Jones. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Had there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize. Had there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0534.jpgHad there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize. Had there been a category for “Best Secret Ingredient,” Denise Felts’ Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes would surely have taken that prize. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Wellesley Fudge Cake was baked by Pam Wood.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0535.jpgWellesley Fudge Cake was baked by Pam Wood. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Chocolate Graham Cracker Treats were entered by Mechelle Johnson.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0538.jpgChocolate Graham Cracker Treats were entered by Mechelle Johnson. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Milky Way Cake was baked by Kathryn Epperson.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0539.jpgMilky Way Cake was baked by Kathryn Epperson. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Sheila Woodruff’s chocolate cake is known simply as "The Chocolate Cake."
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0540.jpgSheila Woodruff’s chocolate cake is known simply as "The Chocolate Cake."
Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Andrea Hickling ‘s Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake is also known as a “Slice of Heaven.”
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_0543.jpgAndrea Hickling ‘s Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake is also known as a “Slice of Heaven.” Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

Ashly Lancaster’s “Earthquake Cake,” baked from a recipe she acquired from retired co-worker Linda Williams, was temporarily renamed “Hurricane Cake” in deference to Hurricane Florence.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_IMG_1802.jpgAshly Lancaster’s “Earthquake Cake,” baked from a recipe she acquired from retired co-worker Linda Williams, was temporarily renamed “Hurricane Cake” in deference to Hurricane Florence. Submitted photo | Northern Hospital

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.