My favorite chocolate cake

This is the perfect chocolate cake. It’s moist and dense and not too rich or too sweet. There are no gimmicks involved. It’s just chocolate cake. It’s called Chocolate Dump-it Cake, a name which refers to how non-fussy the recipe is. There is no beating, creaming, or folding involved. Everything is just quickly whisked together and dumped in the pan. The batter is so thin you’ll think you’ve done something wrong. But really, it’s supposed to be that way. Descriptive as the name may be, it really doesn’t do the cake justice. In my mom’s 1960 Good Housekeeping Cookbook, there’s an aptly named recipe which has been made for many a holiday breakfast. So in the spirit of Special Day Waffles, I’m renaming this cake Special Day Chocolate Cake.

Adapted from Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser, by way of NPR

For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon semi-coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

Before you do anything else, take the sour cream out of the fridge. It will take a lot longer than you think for it to come up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put the sugar, butter and chocolate in a saucepan along with a cup of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool a little bit while you do everything else. In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Combine the milk and vinegar and set that aside too. Now grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.

Stir the milk mixture into the chocolate mixture. Then whisk in the eggs. Whisk in the dry ingredients about a quarter at a time, just until everything is combined. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Now make the frosting. I hope you took the sour cream out of the fridge when I told you to. Heat the chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. Now this is the trickiest part of the whole recipe. The sour cream and the chocolate have to be at the same temperature when you mix them together. If the chocolate is too hot it will do bad things to the sour cream and the frosting will be grainy. If the sour cream is too cold it will harden the chocolate into little lumps. Once the chocolate and the sour cream are at room temperature start stirring the sour cream into the chocolate a little at a time until its nice and smooth. Now spread it on the cake.

I think this cake is at it’s best after a day or so in the fridge.


9 thoughts on “My favorite chocolate cake

  1. Sam

    Is this the cake that you made for your mom’s birthday party a few years ago? If it is, it is a very delicious cake- the sour cream frosting was great, because it was not sickly sweet or as rich as others and had that nice sour cream tang!

    yup, that’s the one! -kate

  2. felixpapadakis

    This looks Faaaabulous! Nothing is worse than dry chocolate cake, and this one appears sooo moist! Can’t wait to try it.

  3. Pingback: Cheating on my Chocolate Cake « Croque-Camille

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