Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cake! Cake! Cake! Chocolate Cake!

Okay, it's just cake, but it was my husband's birthday, and he's still scarred by memories of cakes past.

When he was a kid, his mom would ask him what kind of cake he wanted, and the answer was always the same: chocolate. And every year, the cake would show up at dinner and it would be a yellow cake with chocolate frosting or chocolate cake with white frosting or chocolate cake with chocolate frosting ... and then there would be a load of bananas in the filling.

He claims that never once did he get a plain chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

So now I make him chocolate cakes with chocolate frosting. No nuts, no decorations, no sprinkles. Just chocolate on chocolate. But I don't have a favorite recipe. I've probably made a different cake every year. This time, I decided to go with a simple and very old fashioned cake from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook.

This cake type of cake has been known by a lot of names - when I was a kid, it was "wacky cake." The cookbook called it "Cake-Pan Cake" since it's mixed and baked in the pan. The book mentioned that the cake doesn't like to come out of the pan easily, so I used some parchment to ease that issue. I also used baking spray. Otherwise I followed the recipe.

I used a square cake pan, and found that it wasn't as cooperative about mixing as I'd remembered. I'm thinking that this recipe could be mixed in a bowl and poured into a cake pan. It's only one more bowl to wash, and mixing would be a heck of a lot easier.

One reason I chose this recipe was that it made a single layer - much better than a huge cake for just the two of us. What amazed me was that this cake rose properly and didn't do anything weird in the oven with absolutely no adjustments for altitude. That's pretty unusual.

But I digress. Here's the recipe:

Cake Pan Cake
Adapted from "The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook"

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8- or 9-inch round or square cake pan.

Put all the dry ingredients into the cake pan and mix well to combine them all. Make 3 wells in the flour and put vanilla in one well, vinegar into the second well, and vegetable into the third well. Pour the water over all of it and stir until it's all well blended.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake springs back in the center when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let it cool about 5 minutes before removing from the pan, then let it cool completely on a rack before frosting. Or, if you're in a hurry it can be served warm with a bit of ice cream.


Sara said...

I've never heard of a cake prepared this way - very interesting! Of course now you've got to say what chocolate frosting you used. :)

Jenny N said...

mmm...that pic looks delicious! Bookmarking this one!

Donna Currie said...

Frosting was a chocolate ganache that I whipped until it was fluffy. So basically equal parts of cream and chocolate - heat the cream, take it off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Let it cool a bit, and then whip it until it's fluffy. You can also just pour the ganache on warm for a less-fluffy texture.

Cook said...

If the gentleman likes Chocolate on Chocolate, he is about as normal as our male species comes. And one Lucky Guy, to boot

dena said...

I've made this wonderful cake many times over the years when serving to people with all sorts of allergies or dietary and religious restrictions. It's also a great throw-together-at-the-last minute cake for unexpected company ... just dust with powdered sugar instead of frosting.

Anonymous said...

This is almost identical to the recipe for Cockeyed Cake from Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Cook Book" -- great when you have no eggs, but crave cake!

lalaine said...

I've baked this cake many times...the ingredients are all the same but I don't make the three wells at all...I just stir all the ingredients together in the baking pan and bake it for 30 minutes...comes out perfect, love this cake.

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