I was reading More Home Cooking by the late, great Laurie Colwin the other day and ran across a recipe for chocolate cake that looked as simple as any one I've seen. Who can resist having at least one super fast chocolate cake recipe in their repertoire? Pas moi.
I made it this afternoon. The mixing and clean-up took no more than 20 minutes, then it baked for 30 and that was it. It is rich and moist and crumby, a very good basic cake that you could whip up at a moment's notice. I had some leftover sauce from a recent bittersweet chocolate bread pudding and I've been wondering what to do with it - I'm genetically programmed never to throw any food away - so once the cake had cooled I cut it in half horizontally, threw a big glob of the chocolate sauce on the bottom layer, smoothed it around and then put the layers back together. The chocolate sauce has a lot of cinnamon and cayenne in it so there's the smallest hint of a bite to the cake now. A scoop of ice cream would be perfect...hmmm, perhaps the leftover Cherry Garcia whose sweet siren song is calling to me from the freezer?
Karen Edward's Version of Buttermilk Cocoa Cake
Yield: 12 slices
Got to give credit where credit is due. Laurie Colwin notes that this recipe originally came from Marion Cunningham's Fanny Farmer Cookbook. I presume that the Karen Edwards she names in the recipe title is a friend of hers. If you stock your cupboard with a few basic ingredients you'll never be at a loss when a sweet craving hits.
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and set rack in middle position. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.
3. Add buttermilk, oil or butter and vanilla to dry ingredients. Stir till mixed.
4. Turn batter into cake pan and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before turning out of pan.
OPTIONAL chocolate sauce, courtesy of Gourmet magazine
NOTE: Pregnant women, children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system or who should not eat raw eggs should not eat this sauce.
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I use Scharffen Berger)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Cook butter, cream, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne and a pinch of salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring nearly constantly, till chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, 1-2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in egg until combined.
3. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate till needed up to 3 days.
4. Cut cake in half horizontally. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce, or more to taste, on bottom cake layer and fit top layer back on top.