Quick & Easy Cocoa Cake
OK. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t like to post two sweet recipes in a row. Mainly because, while chocolate and sugar taste good, it isn’t what feeds us and our families. Easy, healthy (uh…usually…) and balanced foods are what we all need the majority of the time. If any of you stopping by this site are inspired to try something new or perhaps cook more from your pantry, fridge, and farmer’s market, and less from a box or take-out menu, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.
All right? You got that? You smell what I’m cookin’? You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? Now on to the cake!
So last week, I was searching for something new. A new dessert recipe, to be specific. I needed a dessert that I could transfer to a to-go container, didn’t need to be refrigerated, and was easy enough to just pick up and eat. I didn’t feel like making something I already was familiar with so I did what I usually do when I don’t really have any idea what I am looking for, but would know it when I see it. I opened the left side of my pantry, sat on the floor, and started pulling cookbooks. And I have a cookbook or two…Please excuse the fact that there are still exposed boards and missing trim in the picture. Our house isn’t finished yet. Instead of working on the house this summer, we have been at the pool, riding motorcycles (my husband, I just go along for the ride), gardening, blogging, picnicking, praying for rain, and generally trying to avoid the heat. But I digress…
I was looking for a recipe. I pulled out Gale Gand’s Short & Sweet figuring a cookbook written by a pastry chef wouldn’t let me down. If you have never heard of her Gale Gand is the head pastry chef and partner of TRU, a restaurant in Chicago. I discovered her in college, about the same time I was introduced to cable-gotta love dorm living! She had a show on the Food Network that was kinda interesting. Short & Sweet is a neat cookbook because it is divided into sections based on the time it takes you to make the recipe. 15 minute recipes, 30 minute recipes and so on. I can’t say that I use the cookbook a lot, but every year when I go through my whole kitchen and purge that which I do not need, it makes the cut and stays in the cabinet. And I am soooooooo glad! This is BY FAR my new favorite cake recipe. I actually ended up making this cake several times in a week and it turned out exactly the same every time. I could not stop eating it. It is moist, with a fine crumb, but not crumbly. The flavor is not complicated or busy, just straight up chocolate. It is very simple to mix up; no melting or tempering of chocolate to add to the batter. Just cocoa to keep it light and airy. This cake is very reminiscent of a boxed mix, but with easy ingredients that you can pronounce! Now that I have mastered it in a bundt pan, per original recipe instructions, I am going to try adapt it to bake in two 8 inch rounds. I really like layer cakes so I’ll keep you posted on further experimentation.
In the meantime, baking it in a bundt pan is faster and easier. This cake is easy enough to bake for dessert on Sunday night, and then munch on for most of the week. It lasts in an airtight container on the counter for at least four or five days so plan on packing a slice into those kids school lunches that will be upon us soon! Yikes!Cocoa Cake
Recipe from Gale Gand. I didn’t change a thing! This cake tastes even better the day after it is made!
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter
1 3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c cocoa powder
2 1/4 c cake flour, sifted
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix till combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients. Fill a large measuring cup with 1 1/4 c of very cold water. Slowly add a third of the dry ingredients to the mixer, mixing just until barely combined. Then a third of the water and so on and so forth, mixing after each addition. Mix the last few turns by hand if you need to. Pour into a sprayed and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until springy and dry in the center. Cool completely in the pan before turning out onto a serving plate. If desired, dust with powdered sugar just before serving.