Do you need an easy cake to make when you're short on time? Got a last-minute request to feed a crowd? Have a chocolate craving that needs instant gratification? Then make this cake. It has very basic ingredients and should only take you 30 minutes from start to finish. Really. Maybe 35 minutes but that would be if you're moving slowly. You can mix up the batter while your oven is preheating and while the cake is baking, you can make the frosting. Heck, you even have time to wash your mixing bowl and baking utensils and tidy up your kitchen while the cake is in the oven for 20 minutes. And since you spread the frosting on the cake 2 minutes after the cake comes out of the oven, there isn't even any cooling time involved. 30 minutes stand between you and sinking your teeth into a slice of warm chocolate cake with fudgy icing melting over it. It's the perfect cake to make on a weeknight after work which is exactly what I did.
When it cools, the frosting sets and since it's baked in a 9 x 13 pan, it's very easy to cut into squares, package up and take to work (or wherever) to give away, which is also what I did. Easiest way to fit in baking during a busy week and get a chocolate fix. Another winning recipe from Baking Style. I suspect I will be hawking the glories of this book often in the coming days.
2 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder, sifted to get rid of any lumps
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Large pinch of salt
¼ pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped toasted pecans, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9 x 13” baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift the cake flour, sugar, and salt into the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer.
3. Combine the buttermilk and baking soda and set aside.
4. Combine the butter, cocoa powder and water in a heavy medium saucepan over moderate heat and bring to a boil, whisking together as the mixture approaches a boil. Pour the boiling mixture over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat on low speed to combine. Add the buttermilk-baking soda mixture, the eggs and vanilla extract. Blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to keep the batter even-textured. The batter will be thin. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve if necessary to get rid of any lumps.
5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until risen, set and a toothpick in the center withdraws clean.
6. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting: sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt together to a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate together until blended. Blend in the vanilla extract. Pour the chocolate mixture over the confectioners’ sugar, add the milk and beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just combined and smooth, using a handheld electric mixer. Blend in the pecans by hand, if using. Use immediately by spreading over the warm cake, 2 minutes after you take the cake out of the oven.