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Best Chocolate Cake Ever

February 1, 2010

I’m making stir fry right now. Pork, carrots, purple cabbage, and onions. I already burned the rice, so at 7pm, I’m starting another batch. Why? Because I just really want rice. Brown rice, that is. No white rice in the house, and it usually stays that way.

It was my birthday last week. I had an awesome day. The Sunday before (that’s two Sundays ago, if you’re keeping track) I made myself a birthday cake. I picked up the book Blue Ribbon Recipes from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for $2 at a antiques shop. I thought it would be filled with old-school blue ribbon recipes from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. Alas, they were brand, spanking new ones, most of which were uninteresting to me.

HOWEVER, I did run across the recipe for “Best of Show” Chocolate Cake. Of course, I modified it to the extreme, but here’s the original recipe:

“Best of Show” Chocolate Cake:

1 3/4 cups flour (I subbed 3/4 whole wheat flour, just for kicks)
2 cups sugar (I subbed 3/4 cup brown sugar because I ran out of white)
3/4 cup (yes cup) imported cocoa (I used dutch process black cocoa)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. Mix well. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. With an electric mixer (or a wire whisk, if you’re feeling strong), beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water by hand. The batter will be thin (ridiculously thin). Pour into a greased bundt pan (fits in a 10 cup just barely) and bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan and continue cooling on the rack. The cake will be very moist.

Diane Morrison from New Jersey, who won a ribbon for this cake, clearly knew what she was talking about. It’s AMAZING. The boy and I pretty much ate the whole cake over the course of three very self-restrained days (seriously, I could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting). The black cocoa makes the dry mix an ugly grey and the batter and cake a rich, deep black. It literally looks like Red River Valley black dirt. And moist? This thing will practically fall apart. I think I underbaked mine a bit and left it to cool too long in the pan, because I had a very hard time getting it out of the bundt pan, despite using a Wilton uber-nonstick pan and oiling it (probably should have buttered it). Also, I added chopped apricots to the mix and didn’t flour them, so they sank to the bottom/stuck to the top (although, I doubt flouring would have made much of a difference since the batter was sooooo thin). Also, this cake is WAY better without stuff in it.

It was the best after a day or two of sitting out uncovered so it dried out a little. Still, ridiculously moist and tender and light, but still somehow dense. Amazing. It’s my new favorite cake. Now I just have to find a good yellow cake recipe for the boy, ’cause that’s his favorite.

In other news, it was sunny today, which was refreshing, but the boy and I have been very tired lately and we’re not really sure why. Makes motivating oneself to do work one doesn’t want to do particularly trying.

Also, the boy’s parents gave me a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card for my birthday. So last night I ordered a bunch of food books online at B&N’s used book section. The shipping was about $12 for three books, but I got a pretty good deal! I ordered Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, which I have only read rave reviews of in the foodie blogosphere; Marion Cunningham’s Lost Recipes: Meals to Share with Family and Friends; and America’s Best Lost Recipes from America’s Test Kitchen. See a theme here? Lol… I know America’s Best Recipes is bound to have lots of great, old-fashioned foods nestled within its pages. Marion Cunningham takes retro classics and figures out how to make them from scratch, not with the convenience foods of the 1950s. I’m very excited to get them. I’ll let you know how they work out!

And now I should probably go and check my rice.

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