easy chocolate cake

I’ve blogged about chocolate cake before (a loooong time ago), but the recipe requires a good amount of cake-making technique, mainly due to the creaming of the butter & sugar.  I’ve witnessed plenty of people do this improperly (usually they don’t let it go long enough), so I decided to re-vamp the old recipe.

This recipe will make one 9-inch round or 12 cupcakes. Doubled, it will make two 9-inch rounds, three 8-inch rounds, or a 9 x 13-inch sheet cake (or 24 cupcakes, duh!).

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda (not powder!)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (4.6 ounces)
  • 1 TB espresso powder (optional, but good)
  • 1/2 cup sifted dutch-process cocoa powder (sift then measure — 1 ounce by weight)
  • 6 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (6 ounces)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare the pan you will use to bake with (muffin liners for the cupcake pan or butter/flour for the others).
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Blend the remaining ingredients in a blender until thoroughly emulsified — about 30 seconds (or whisk by hand for a while).
  5. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and fold gently until just combined.
  6. Distribute the batter among your prepared pans. Bake according to the following (give or take a couple of minutes due to differences among ovens):
    • cupcakes – 23 minutes
    • 8-inch pans – 30 minutes
    • 9-inch pans – 33 minutes
    • 9 x 13-inch sheet pan – 35 minutes
  7. Begin checking about 3 minutes before the time is up. Remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not over-bake, as this will destroy the taste and texture of the final product. Frost with a home-made buttercream or simply dust with powdered sugar.

Don’t be afraid to pump up the flavor with different extracts (almond or peppermint are nice) or even citrus fruit zest (orange and grapefruit pairing particularly well with chocolate). Chocolate chips or nuts seem to work better with cupcakes; they tend to fall to the bottom of the larger cakes.

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