Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fun with Friends - Devilishly Moist Chocolate Cake

I love to bake and I love to be working with people, but usually those two don't mix.  I tend to be very precise in my measurements and finicky in technique, something many others aren't.  It annoys me when people make simple mistakes, such as packing flour into a measuring cup, or stirring cake batter too much.  I prefer a robust recipe that can take error when I bake with others.  On the other hand, sometimes it can be fun to try a new recipe with a friend.  On this occasion, I was lucky enough to be hanging out with a friend I haven't seen in a while.  Passionate about helping those less fortunate, her major is 3rd World Studies.  Because she will be taking a year to help with a school in Africa and then studying abroad there, I was lucky to be able to see her before she left.  I was doubly fortunate in finding out that she is great at helping.  I measured and she whisked until the cake came together, and the baking went off without a hitch.

This cake rather resembles dense, rich pudding rather than a light and fluffy cake.  I needed a very sharp knife to slice through the layers of cake, and our family's usual chef's knife basically reduced the cake to a nice, chewy pudding.  I liked it, although I can see how on some occasions it can be too rich.  It stores well at room temperature (wrapped in foil, per instructions from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle), but becomes even denser and richer refrigerated.  It reminds me of a chewy brownie, actually, somewhat similar to the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake recipe but denser.  Although my friend had to leave before we made the frosting, I took upon this endeavor and later delivered the cake to her house.  The next post will cover the recipe for the buttercream.

Devilishly Moist Chocolate Cake from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
Makes 1 9" round cake

1 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cups sugar
cup oil (safflower or other neutral vegetable oil, I used the inexpensive bulk olive oil)
2 large eggs
cup whole milk (yup, still no whole milk, so I used 1%)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1 large mixing bowl
1 balloon whisk
2-cup liquid measure
1 cup dry measure
⅓ cup dry measure
¼ cup dry measure
1 teaspoon measure
½ teaspoon measure
¼ teaspoon measure
1 9" round springform pan (or 9" round cake pan, 3" high sides)
Foil to wrap around the springform pan if using (batter is very liquidy)
Butter and flour for rendering the pan nonstick


1. Preheat the oven and tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil to prevent leakage.  Butter the inside of the pan, then dust with flour.

2. In the large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Add the oil and whisk until very crumbly.

3. Beat the eggs in the measuring cup and pour into the chocolate cake mixture.  Pour in the milk and vanilla, then whisk until it becomes batter.  Add the hot water and whisk together.  The batter will be very wet, about the consistency of thin, creamy soup.

My lovely friend, about to pour the batter :)

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.  Our cake came out perfectly after about 55 minutes.  Enjoy!  

I made another one for my family, since my brother kept looking enviously at the one in the fridge...

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