Dessert Recipe – Let Them Eat Chocolate Cake

By:  Tracy Falbe

Baking a really good chocolate cake from scratch is not difficult. Anyone with rudimentary skills in the kitchen can manage it. Cake mixes are good, but with a little extra effort, you can make a cake the old fashioned way and really have a special dessert. About the only difference from using a mix is that you have to spend a couple minutes assembling the ingredients and then you are just blending it in a big bowl with an electric mixer.

In this chocolate cake recipe, you can use either cocoa powder or melt squares of unsweetened chocolate. This versatility adds to the convenience of the dessert recipe because you can use either form of baking chocolate, depending on what happens to be in the cupboard. Although you can also use either all-purpose flour or cake flour, a cake made with cake flour will have a finer and softer texture. Don’t worry if you only have all-purpose flour. Your cake will still turn out fine.

When you go shopping for the ingredients, keep in mind that a good chocolate cake, or any chocolate dessert, starts with selecting a good chocolate. Going upscale, especially with something from Europe, is definitely worth the extra couple bucks. Common products from Hershey’s or Nestle are just adequate, not great.

Chocolate cake recipe ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled OR 2/3 cup cocoa powder

Select the type of cake pan that you wish to use for baking. You can choose from two or three round 8 or 9 inch pans, bundt cake pan, or 13 x 9 inch rectangular pan. With shortening or butter grease your pan and then dust with flour. This ensures that the cake will not stick and comes out of the pans easily.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. If using chocolate squares, melt them on very low heat or use a double boiler and then let the chocolate cool. If using the cocoa powder you can mix it in immediately with the other dry ingredients.

Assemble the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the buttermilk, water, vanilla, oil, and eggs (and melted chocolate if that is what you are using). With an electric mixer, beat on high for 3 minutes until the batter has a smooth consistency with no lumps. If you don’t have an electric mixer, use a large spoon or whisk and stir hard until batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into pans and bake according to these guidelines:

Round cake pans: 35 minutes
Bundt pan: 55 minutes
Rectangular pan: 45 minutes

Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. If cake is still gooey bake another five or ten minutes, but you do not want the cake to get too dry. When baking is done, cool the cake in its pan or pans. When pans are cool to the touch, you can invert the pans and remove the cakes. Use a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake if necessary.

Once the cake is completely cool, select the type of frosting you want to use. It is important to make sure that the cake is not the least bit warm before frosting because this will heat the frosting and make it sloppy.

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