Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cake

Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cake

Community training dinner 5/21/12 – Served as a sheet cake, in squares with strawberries and yogurt.

Adapted from Baking Bites’ Chocolate Loaf Layer Cake

This recipe is near impossible to screw up. There is only one notable way to mess it up, and that is by underbaking. So bake it until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, and then bake it 2-3 minutes longer (unless you’re baking it as mini-cupcakes – then it’s just one minute longer).

Basic recipe:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting if using
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (cider, white, red wine, whatever – it all works, or use lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9×5” loaf pan with parchment paper, or butter the pan well and dust with cocoa.

Melt together butter and chocolate, either in the microwave, in a double boiler, or in a saucepan over a low flame (carefully, but it doesn’t really matter if it seizes). Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

To the cooled chocolate and butter, add cooled coffee, vanilla, and vinegar. Add liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, 3 minutes after a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan about 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Variations:

  • Bake in different pans – cupcake, mini cupcake, 2 8-inch rounds, one 7×11-inch pan, or anything else you want. All of these will bake much more quickly than the loaf, so keep an eye on the pans.
  • Multiply or divide the recipe to make as much or as little cake as you’d like (here is an excellent resource for pan size conversions).
  • Instead of brewed coffee, add a teaspoon of instant espresso or 2 teaspoons instant coffee to the dry ingredients, and substitute water with the wet ingredients. You could also just use water instead of coffee and it will still be tasty.
  • Substitute oil for the butter for a dairy-free cake.
  • Instead of vanilla, use another flavoring (such as mint extract, orange extract, etc). Flavoring can also be omitted if you don’t have anything around.
  • Add ½ teaspoon powdered hot red pepper (cayenne works well) for a spicy kick with your chocolate.
  • Stuck with only baking powder, no baking soda? Use 1 tablespoon baking powder in place of the soda and reduce vinegar to 1 teaspoon.

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