Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salad Chocolate Cake- Hurrah for the End of November!

I should note that this cake is good. It isn't great- and I have had great vegan cakes- but it's good. Also, its real name is Six Minute Chocolate Cake, it really takes only six minutes to make, and it uses one whisk, one measuring cup, one spoon, and one pan. I wanted it to be the perfect last minute pantry cake, but it does require an eternity of cooling time. (Here "an eternity" is probably like 30 minutes.) Don't be desperate when making it. Leave the cake in the pan until it is cool. Don't start making a cake at 8 when you want to be asleep by 9. My advice to you.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Go do something else for five minutes so that the oven finishes preheating before the cake goes in. Stir together 1 and 1/2 cups white flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 cup sugar in a 9 inch round baking pan. (You may reduce the sugar as a matter of course in other recipes, but don't do it here. The cake will suffer. Standard Bundt pans seem to work fine with this recipe and if you have a 8 inch square baking pan, you are a kitchen hoarder and you can also use that.)

Fill a large measuring cup with 1 cup water (or cold coffee), 1/3 cup oil (the cake above used olive oil, and while I love olive oil more than kittens, I think another oil would be a better choice. Olive oil cakes are delightful, but what makes them delightful is the combination of egg and olives. Certain combinations are intrinsically good- that's why we eat mayonnaise.), and two teaspoons vanilla extract. (A advises adding a teaspoon of grated ginger here, or half a teaspoon of powdered ginger. She says "Adding ginger to baked goods makes them taste interesting. It disguises the fact that they aren't very good.")

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously until combined. Add two tablespoons cider vinegar (There's the salad reference. Olive oil and vinegar. Gosh, how clever.) The vinegar reacting with the baking soda will leave fizzing tracks during the final lazy mixing.

Pop the cake into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until stabbing it with toothpicks results in clean toothpicks. The end result is a plain and practical cake that is also pretty good.

The ganache in the photo is 4 oz. very dark chocolate melted- in the microwave! in 30 second spurts! stir frequently to prevent burning! mixed with 1/4 cup coconut milk. It makes a dense fudgey topping that I imagine would combine very nicely with a ginger chocolate cake.

I have also discovered that pretty much any cake, no matter how utilitarian or Sandra Lee inspired, can be dramatically improved by a.) stabbing it all over with a long skewer (while it is still in the pan) and b.) sprinkling cooking sherry onto it. Sadly, my kitchen is clean out of cheap cooking sherry. One could use rum, or that suspect bottle of liqueur that lurks in the back of every pantry. (Not ours, because former roommates drank it. But it's totally worth living without these kitchen essentials if you can watch a grown man drink a pint of peppermint schnapps and chase it with half a bottle of Kahlua.) I'd be tempted to make a quick glaze with the chosen liqueur, a dash of powdered sugar, and some lemon juice for when the cake is ultimately removed from the pan. Heck, you could make such a glaze without the EtOH if you didn't want people to become slightly tipsy over cake.

Or Criso based buttercream. Gross.


  1. Congratulations on month survival! I will be cherry picking recipes when I return to the land of able-to-cook

  2. Ginger also adds an interesting dimension to chocolate chip cookies.