Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Favorite Chocolate Cake

Everyone needs a good, solid, foolproof, go-to chocolate cake. This is mine. It is impossibly moist, good at room temperature or in the fridge, and stands up to many types of icing. Plus: one bowl, no mixer. TADOW!

The full recipe, from the charming Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, can be found at the equally charming blog Smitten Kitchen. It should be used indiscriminately for as many occasions as you find for a full-sized cake. [This is the famous 27th Birthday Cake, for those of you who partook.]

But maybe you don't need the temptation of a triple-layer cake on your kitchen counter. Maybe you just want a slice or two. Shouldn't you be able to have that?

I say yes.

So when I am in need of a classic chocolate-layer-cake-with-chocolate-icing fix, this is what I do. You can either bake it in two 5-inch cake pans and make layers that way (what I did), or do a single layer in a 8- or 9-inch cake pan and just chop it in half and layer those (what I have done before). That way, at least, you only end up with half a cake.

My Favorite Chocolate Cake
makes 1 5-in cake or 1/2 full-size cake; takes about an hour

1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup water
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 beaten egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Line your cake pan(s) with parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle an add oil and sour cream. Mix to combine--it will be very thick. Gradually add the water, then the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk to incorporate. Lastly, whisk in the egg.
  2. Divide between two prepared pans or scrape into one. Bake 25-30 minutes, until sides pull away from edges and cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger (in the middle). Cool on a rack and then transfer to the fridge. Because this cake is so deliciously moist, it is easier to work with when cold.
Go-To Chocolate Icing
will ice small cake; low fat to boot!

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
pinch salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (skim is fine)
  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave or small saucepan over low heat. In a large bowl whisk together salt, cocoa, and powdered sugar. Pour warm chocolate mixture into sugar mixture and mix with a spatula to moisten.
  2. Now, get out your beaters and mix on low speed to continue moistening. Add milk in several additions, beating well after every one. Feel free to tweak a little as needed: more p.sugar if your icing doesn't feel like it will hold its shape; more milk if its too thick.

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