You just can’t go wrong with chocolate cake. When I’m asked to bring a dessert to a dinner and I don’t know everyone’s preferences, I usually default to chocolate cake because WHO DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE CAKE???
I have three go-to chocolate cake recipes, each awesome in its own right. One is an amazing chocolate stout cake with chocolate ganache. The other two use a liquid-y batter and are made in a 9×13 pan (though I suppose you could do two or three round pans). The main difference in the two is the chemistry…the first uses vinegar to make it fluffy, while this one uses coffee to give a rich depth to the chocolate (without making it coffee-flavored). Both are practically foolproof.
The secret ingredient in this chocolate cake is using coffee, which brings out layers of flavor in chocolate without actually adding a coffee flavor to the cake. Coffee does that for chocolate in general, so there’s often a tiny bit of coffee hidden in many chocolate goods (like my chocolate ganache frosting).
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix up the dry ingredients in your stand kitchen mixer—flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil, then beat on low or medium for 2 minutes.
The batter will be thinner than regular cake batter, this is totally fine.
Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray, and pour the batter into the pan.
Bake for 35-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake will take quite some time to set up (it was more like 50 minutes for me) because the batter is so thin.
If you’re using your own frosting recipe, remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting. If you’re using my frosting (which I recommend, it’s delicious!), read on…
A couple minutes before the cake is finished, heat butter, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan on medium or medium-high (about 6 on my stove). Once the butter is melted and everything stirred together, let it come to a boil and remain there for two minutes.
After two minutes, remove from heat and pour the chocolate chips in, stirring immediately and constantly until the chocolate is entirely melted and smooth.
Pour on the hot cake right away, and smooth out quickly—the icing sets and crystallizes very quickly! By icing the cake while it’s hot, you seal in all the moisture and get the most awesome, fudgy cake. Most frostings can’t go on a hot cake (they’ll melt and break down) but since this frosting is already hot and liquidy, it’s perfect….yet another way this cake is black magic.
Wait an hour or so to serve, if you can…it gives the icing more time to set up. It’s moist and delicious and easy, and the perfect thing to bring to a dinner when you don’t know everyone’s preferences.
Other go-to desserts you’ll love:
- Pear-Apple Pie with Streusel Topping
- Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Strawberry Shortcake for a Crowd
- Apricot Linzer Torte
Black Magic Cake (Using Coffee)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of buttermilk (or put 1 T. white vinegar in 1 c. regular milk to make sour milk)
- 1 cup of strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mom’s Chocolate Icing
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 5 tablespoons of butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1 cup of chocolate chips (I use semisweet; I’d recommend against milk chocolate, but dark could be interesting)
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large kitchen mixer, gently stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla, then beat on medium speed of mixer (I used low because mine doesn’t have medium) for two minutes. Note, the batter will be much thinner than most cake batters, but this is totally normal because of the coffee. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—about 35-50 minutes (was closer to 50 for me). If you’re using your own frosting recipe, let the cake cool and then frost as desired.
If you’re using my icing recipe (which I recommend, it’s awesome), begin making the icing in the last few minutes of baking time. In a small saucepan on the stove, heat the butter or margarine, sugar, and milk on medium to medium-high (probably around 6 on my stove), stirring to combine everything. Once it’s all melted, let it come to a boil, and boil for about two minutes (stir constantly). Remove from heat, pour the chocolate chips in, and stir immediately until it’s a creamy chocolate mixture. Pour on the hot cake and spread right away, using a rubber spatula to smooth the icing out. Let it cool and set.
Original cake recipe here
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