Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fastest Fudge Cake

I was having a bit of a cake crisis. I wanted to make a cake. I tried to make several cakes. But the recipes I tried weren't working. First, I tried something called "Wonder Cake" from a cookbook written in 1894. It was pretty horrible.

Then I tried a couple more modern recipes that failed.

It happens sometimes at high altitude - cakes can be pretty finicky up here.

I probably could have fixed those recipes with some troubleshooting, but I wasn't in the mood for that. I just wanted to find a recipe that worked from the beginning. Without testing and tweaking and re-testing.

I decided to turn to a cookbook that had worked for me before - Fine Cooking Cakes and Cupcakes. I make a crumb cake from the book a while back, and it was pretty danged good. So I browsed through the book to find something else.

I was temped by a few different yellow cakes, but went in the opposite direction and chose a chocolate cake instead. The title made me happy: Fastest Fudge Cake. I like fast and I like fudge. And, I had all the ingredients I needed to make the cake.

While several of the other cakes I made had risen and then fallen - either in the oven or while cooling - this one rose politely and didn't collapse. It was perfect.

Fastest Fudge Cake

1 cup 4 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1 ounce (1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons) natural cocoa powder (not Dutch)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. If it's lumpy, sift it. If it's not lumpy, you're good to go.

In a large bowl, stir the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. It will take some stirring, but it will blend. Add the flour all at once and stir until all the flour is moistened. Add the water and stir until it's incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan.

Let the cake cool completely before frosting - I used a poured ganache, but use whatever you like.