Simple chocolate cake
As I’ve mentioned before, several of my closest remaining friends at my company have all converged upon Sydney recently, so obviously this presents many opportunities to bake for them. This cake was a birthday request and although I was prepared to make all manner of complex layered chocolate cakes, the decision was to go with something simple, so I immediately went to Smitten Kitchen to see what I could find. I’ve made a couple flourless chocolate cakes before but there is no other chocolate cake recipe on this blog, so I happily present to you this delightfully simple but utterly delicious one.
It’s baked in a loaf pan and doesn’t even use melted chocolate – just a good amount of unsweetened cocoa. The result is that it’s not a heavy cake at all but still has heaps of chocolate flavour. I like the ratio of more brown to white sugar that brings out the chocolate even more. I’m not massively into cake decoration, so I love the idea of just baking a cake that requires one bowl and one pan. You can make this any day of the week or serve it at a dinner party and get a great reaction – it is just that good!
Simple chocolate cake (adapted from my fave Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened – I just used 100 grams
1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar – I used a bit less than this since 1.5 cups of sugar is definitely a lot
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk (use the old trick of putting several squeezes of lemon juice into a cup of normal milk if you don’t have buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray it with a nonstick spray or butter and flour it.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth and then add the sugars and beat until fluffy, just like you would for a cookie dough. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. I normally wouldn’t add all the wet ingredients at once for a cake (normally I alternate with the flour), but we did here and I must admit it looked really weird. Perhaps because we didn’t use an electric mixer, all the butter was kind of separating from the rest of the batter. If this happens to you though, do not be concerned since the cake turned out completely amazing.
Once all the wet ingredients are combined, add the salt and baking soda, followed by the cocoa powder and half the flour. Fold it all in, and when it’s mostly combined, add the remaining flour. Stir until it is well-blended but do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. In my crazy weird fan forced oven it only took about 40 minutes, so start checking around then! Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, if you’re feeling fancy. Or sprinkle with powdered sugar. OR, serve with caramel sauce, because that is amazing.
Test with a knife to make sure it’s clean and then you’re ready to go!
Smitten Kitchen has never let me down, but wow this cake really exceeded my expectations. It was so incredibly simple to make and the end result was a wonderfully light chocolate cake that still had great flavour and fantastic texture. I loved the idea of making it in a loaf pan, so it’s almost like you could call it bread and serve it for breakfast, like banana bread? Maybe. Regardless, this cake would be excellent at any time of day. You can definitely dress it up for a dinner party and serve it with ice cream or other sauces and fresh fruit, and your guests will never know that the prep time is less than 15 minutes. What a find!