I’ve made a couple of different chocolate cakes before, but this one has just become my go-to recipe. Why? Coz for very little effort (no electric mixer in sight) I got a moist, tender, super chocolatey, not to mention… gluten-free cake, just perfect for any occasion. I paired it with a gorgeous cream cheese/butter blended icing which matched it beautifully and everyone agreed it was a keeper.
And, how did I find out about this exceptionally easy, yet delicious cake? A work colleague of mine – a baker extraordinaire – makes it regularly and I keep asking for the recipe, then promptly losing it. This last week she made it again, and again she gave me the instructions (yes, she’s very long-suffering!). So, when my parents celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary this weekend, I thought it was the perfect time to give it a go.
My friend couldn’t recall where she sourced the recipe, so I did some research and discovered it was virtually identical to this recipe from Robyn at Add a Pinch.com, so I think I’m right in assuming that’s where it’s come from. So a shout-out to Robyn for this exceptional recipe, which she calls ‘The Best Chocolate Cake Ever’ and quite rightly so! While the recipe is for two cakes, I went with just one large one on this occasion due to time constrictions, but I’ll definitely be trying the double-decker next time around.
The next step was to pair the cake with an icing that would do it justice. So, I searched online and found this fabulous Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting recipe from Natasha at Natasha’s Kitchen.com. Together, the cake and icing were a match made in heaven – the overall combination being not too sweet, but rich, dark and chocolatey, with that slight tangy edge thanks to the cream cheese. By the way, while you don’t need an electric mixer for the cake, you really do need one for this icing, unless you have the arms of a Sumo-wrestler.
So… to recap… if you love the idea of a no-fuss, no-beat chocolate cake, yet one that delivers a perfectly moist and flavoursome result, not to mention one that can successfully be adapted to gluten-free, then this recipe is most definitely the one you’re looking for.
PS: Apologies for no picture of the whole cake – it was dark by the time I iced the cake and, having no artificial lighting system, I had to forego the usual photography session. Oh well, one left-over slice the next day is better than nothing!
EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE
For the cake: (Makes two 8 inch cakes, or one large 9 inch cake)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used a gluten-free flour blend)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coffee powder (or espresso powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing: (Makes 3 cups icing; enough to generously ice a double layer cake or 24 cupcakes)
- (225g) 8 oz package cream cheese, room temp
- 8 Tbsp (115g) (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
- 3 cups icing sugar (powdered or confectioner’s sugar)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Prepare two 8-inch cake pans or one 9-inch pan by spraying with baking spray or greasing and lining with baking paper.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and espresso powder into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and sugar and whisk to combine (or use the paddle attachment of your electric mixer).
- In a separate bowl combine milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add to flour mixture and whisk (or beat in the electric mixer on medium speed) until well combined. Carefully add the boiling water and stir (or beat on a low speed) until combined. Once combined, whisk vigorously (or beat on high speed) to add air to the batter for about 1 minute.
- Distribute the cake batter evenly between the two (or one, if using) prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes (for two cakes) or 50-60 minutes (for one cake), until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. If your cake has domed (as mine did), you might like to trim the excess once it’s cooled.
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer with a large bowl), beat together 8 oz creamcheese with 8 Tbsp butter on medium/high speed until creamy (3 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Sift in 3 cups powdered sugar with 1/2 cup cocoa powder to ensure there are no lumps then add 1/4 tsp salt. Mix on low speed until well combined, scrape down the bowl well then increase to medium/high speed and beat until smooth and whipped (1 min).
- Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat on medium/high until smooth (1 min). If you intend to pipe the icing, do it after making rather than refrigerating as it will set too firmly.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting