Chocolate Cake, Just ‘Cuz

If you are a member of my family (or work in my kid’s school, or have been to my house lately, or live close enough to smell the cooking from my kitchen) then you know I’ve been really into making chocolate cake lately. I think it’s 5 in two weeks – no one is complaining and I’ve perfected an easy, tasty recipe that we really like. It isn’t too sweet or fancy, it needs no frosting or garnish (although it would be great with whipped cream, ice cream, berries,) its ingredients are easy to find and you probably already have them on hand, and you can make it in several variations (listed below) including gluten-free (listed at the end.) So, try your hand at this and you might suddenly find you need to make 5 cakes in two weeks, too.

Simple Chocolate Cake

IMG_1919

  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • (powdered sugar for garnish, if wanted)

Grease (with butter, of course) either a round or square cake pan and preheat oven to 350° F.  In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the butter.  IMG_1904When it is all melted stir well and set off heat to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer (or really strong forearm and a whisk) beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until it’s thickened, about 2 minutes on high.  IMG_1907Beat in the chocolate – it should not be hot to the touch. IMG_1908

When it is all well-incorporated beat in the flour and baking soda.

IMG_1912Beat on high for 2-3 minutes then pour into the greased cake pan.  IMG_1913Bake about 20 minutes then check cake.  A knife or skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean (or maybe a few crumbs clinging to it but not raw batter.)  IMG_1918Allow to cool in the pan until mostly cool then turn pan over to get cake out.  You can serve it bottom up or top up – whichever you like the best.  Sprinkle with some powdered sugar (or not) and eat.

Variations:
Raspberry, apricot, blackberry, plum, orange:  Once the cake batter is in the pan drop ~3Tbs jam or marmalade (you want a thickish jam, not a think jelly) over the top.  Using the tip of a sharp knife or a skewer or toothpick swirl the jam around the top of the cake.  IMG_1916Don’t push it down to the bottom of the pan – that will make the cake stick to the pan.  Bake as above.

Peanut Butter:  As above with the jam instructions but use peanut butter instead.

Peanut Butter and Jelly:  Use peanut butter as above and jam or a very firm jelly.  Don’t use a think, liquidy jelly.

Coconut:  Beat 1/2 cup shredded coconut (either use unsweetened coconut or, if you use sweetened coconut, cut the sugar in the recipe to 3/4 cup) into the batter.  You can substitute coconut extract for vanilla.  Garnish with shredded coconut instead of powdered sugar.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are good)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk (this can be soy, rice, almond, regular dairy, whatever kind you like)

Grease (with butter, of course) either a round or square cake pan and preheat oven to 350° F.  In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the butter.  When it is all melted stir well and set off heat to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, using an electric mixer (or really strong forearm and a whisk) beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until it’s thickened, about 2 minutes on high.  Beat in the chocolate – it should not be hot to the touch.  In a small bowl mix together the almond meal, rice flour, and baking soda.  Add to the chocolate egg mix and beat on low to mix together.  Then add the milk and beat on high for 2-3 minutes then pour into the greased cake pan.  Bake about 20 minutes then check cake.  A knife or skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean (or maybe a few crumbs clinging to it but not raw batter.)  Allow to cool in the pan until mostly cool then turn pan over to get cake out.  You can serve it bottom up or top up – whichever you like the best.  Sprinkle with some powdered sugar (or not) and eat.  You can make all the same variations as the non-gluten free cake, too.

 

 

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