There’s something to be said for a cake that you can whip up at 9 o’clock on a Friday night, after a serious doozy of a week, when you need some baking therapy that requires little to no brain power. By the time this past weekend hit, I think anything requiring technique or poise in the kitchen would have had induced some kind of cerebral short circuiting – I imagine there would have been sparks, probably some twitching and likely even drool.
Okay fine, so there might have been drool anyway.
Actually, when the cake emerged, there was probably drooling and clapping. I tell you that because I trust you won’t judge me.
This cocoa-based cake is deeply chocolaty and incredibly moist. It surprises me every single time with how good it is for something so easy. It is a great emergency cake to have in your repertoire for forgotten birthdays, last-minute visitors, or urgent Friday night chocolate cravings. I love to smother it in gooey marshmallow frosting (the seven-minute kind made with just whipped egg whites, sugar, and vanilla). Mmm… Drooling again. Note to self: try to control that. This time I smothered it instead with a super easy cocoa buttercream frosting. Not the fancypants Italian buttercream, the shortcut American-style buttercream that is basically just butter, icing sugar, and cocoa powder. Again, brain short-out aversion strategy.
I have used this recipe to make sheet cakes, layer cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes… really, you can’t go wrong. Everything gets tossed in the standing mixer (no creaming of butter and sugar, or alternating between dry and liquid as in typical cake recipes), poured into cake pans, and popped in the oven, easy as 1-2-3.
***Note: I have been asked dozens of times if you can taste the coffee, and the answer is no; it does not taste at all like coffee. You won’t know it’s there, it just deepens the flavour of the chocolate and the heat helps smooth out the batter and get rid of lumps. But feel free to use just plain boiling water in its place.
P.S. If you like this, you’ll love my super moist banana bread recipe…
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans (or line with parchment paper circles) and set aside.
- In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very runny.
- Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on middle rack of oven for about 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached.
- Allow to cool 15 minutes in pans, then run a butter knife around the edges of each cake. Place a wire cooling rack over top of each pan. Wearing oven mitts, use both hands to hold the racks in place while flipping the cakes over onto the racks. Set the racks down and gently thump on the bottom of the pans until the cakes release. Cool completely before handling or frosting.
- *UPDATE: I have had many many commenters requesting the frosting recipe – I did not record the measurements. It was simply softened butter beaten with unsweetened cocoa powder, icing sugar, a pinch of salt, vanilla extract and a splash of cream, adjusting the ingredients until I got the right consistency and sweetness. Happy Baking!