My main service as a cross-cultural worker in Turkey is probably cooking. I cook for my family. I cook for other workers. I cook for our church meetings. I cook for Turkish visitors. Fortunately for me, I enjoy cooking.
Hospitality is important here. This is a chocolate cake recipe that has saved my life countless times in twelve years here. When Turkish women friends come over for tea, it’s customary to serve at least one tatlı (sweet) and one tuzlu (salty). Turks often serve more, but this homeschooling mom sticks to the bare minimum. I know this recipe by heart and can whip it up and throw it in the oven after school for afternoon guests.
The best part is that Turks seem to like it. It’s not always easy to find recipes that “translate” since tastes here are different. When my kids were younger, Black Magic Cake was our default cake for birthday parties, and several Turkish neighbors asked if I’d bake this cake for their kids’ birthdays too.
|Black Magic Cake for a girl's 11th birthday.|
|Couldn't find birthday candles anywhere that year!|
Black Magic Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Then add and mix:
1 cup black coffee (or one cup of water and 1 heaping tsp. instant coffee)
1 cup milk
½ cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla (or two packets vanilla granules)
Pour into a greased and floured 11 x 15” cake pan. Bake at 350-375 *F for 30 minutes. This cake turns out perfect every time.
American Style Butter cream Icing
Beat the following until smooth:
1 lb. powdered sugar (450 g)
½ cup butter
5-6 TBSP milk
1 tsp. vanilla
To frost the top of a sheet cake, I cut this recipe in half. Turks don’t like our sweet American icings, so a thin layer is best.
Alternate icing if you live in Turkey:
1 packet of Krem Şanti
1 packet Dr. Oetker Krem Ole instant pudding
1 ½ - 2 cups cold milk.
Beat until it reaches the desired consistency. Use 1 ½ cups milk and gradually add more if the icing is too thick.
Do you have a favorite, “go-to” cake that turns out perfect every time? What is your experience baking for local people where you live? Do they have different tastes?