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Thursday, March 13, 2014

the only chocolate cake recipe you'll ever need


I don't know exactly where this cake recipe comes from. We've been making it in my family for years. My recipe card is titled both Black Midnight Cake and 100 Dollar Cake. I vaguely remember it being possibly a Betty Crocker? At any rate, this is the only chocolate cake recipe you will ever need.

It works as a layered cake, even up to seven layers in a heart shape (no jokes!), as cupcakes, as a rolled log, as an alcohol soaked cake, and I've used this in an Italian style thinly layered cake-mousse-torte type thing that I modeled after a dessert we experienced a few years ago at the Olive Garden.

It stays moist for days.

It is dark and richly chocolatey.

It is light enough to contend with summery fluffy dessert things, like fresh berries and cream, and yet maintains it's shape when spread with thick truffle frosting. Just a shot of cointreau poured over the cake and then sprinkled with powdered sugar makes a delightfully light yet rich and satisfying dessert. Go dairy free. Go nuts. Go berries, bananas and whipped cream. Go White Mountain frosted marshmallowy stickiness. Go toffee fudge heartburn overload. I can't vouch for gluten free as that flour is a different animal, but almost anything else you can throw at this cake it will handle with poise and grace.

Really, this is the only chocolate cake recipe you will ever need. The best part? You throw all the ingredients into the mixer bowl at once and batter it up! No multiple bowls and minimal cleanup!


Black Midnight Cake

10 oz (1 1/2 cups) plain flour -- I use whole grain homemilled soft white wheat
11 oz (1 1/2 cups) white sugar -- brown sugar also works
3 oz (1/3 cup) cocoa powder -- or carob
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
10 fluid oz water (1 1/4 cups) tepid, not cold
5 oz (heaped cup) butter -- or coconut oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.

Grease and flour two 9 inch cake tins, or three 8 inch cake tins, or line 24 cupcake holes with papers.

Measure all ingredients into a large mixer bowl.
Blend for half a minute on low, scraping the sides of the bowl and going slowly to prevent flour puffing everywhere.
Beat for several minutes on high, scraping as needed, until batter is smooth and satiny.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, or 15 minutes for cupcakes, or until a thin knife comes out cleanly from the center of the cake.

Tip out and let cool on baking racks.

Prepare frosting of choice. Pictured is a chocolate truffle frosting. Serve for breakfast with grapefruit juice. Serve after dinner with a glass of good port.


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