Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best cake. Ever. Really.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
from the Ugly Binder, from the internet

2 cups sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup hot, strong coffee
Vanilla (wasn’t in the original recipe but I always add some)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans or a 11x7-inch pan.
Blend flour and salt together and set aside.
Melt chocolate and cool until tepid.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add sour cream and vanilla. Add flour mixture, then the melted chocolate.
Dissolve baking soda in hot coffee and then add to batter. It will be watery.
Divide batter between pans and bake until sides come away from the pan or about 30 minutes.
Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

I found this cake on the internet a couple of years ago. This is only the second time I've made it. I was fearful it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. I was truly afraid to make it again and ruin a wonderful food memory but I had no need to fear. This is the cake I would order for dessert if I were headed to the electric chair. It's chocolatey, it's moist, it's tender. It's one of the best things I've ever eaten. I hate to use superlatives like this since everyone might not agree with me. People have their own ideas about the perfect cake but I love this cake too much not to profess my love for it openly.

I have to say though that I've only made this recipe one way. I made one and a half times the recipe and baked it in a disposable half-sheet pan. That's a very shallow pan. I baked the cake at 300-325 and it took about 45 minutes to bake. You don't want to overbake this of course (recipes always say that but, duh, of course you don't want to ever overbake anything).

I have not tried to make this into a layer cake. I did try cupcakes once but I overfilled the cups and cooked them too low and the tops all ran together and stuck to the top of the pan. The crumbs were delicious.

The nice thing about this cake is that the top is very flat and easy to decorate (although I would suggest doing a skim-coat first).

Question of the Day: What size/shape cakes do you usually bake for a birthday? I love the idea of layer cakes but I've found these shallow half-sheet pans to work best, even though they aren't the most attractive serving piece. I can cover them easily (they come with a plastic cover), the cake stays moist, and they require less frosting and decorating time. I bake them with a real half-sheet pan underneath (they aren't all that sturdy).


M Smith said...

Oh, I'm very ambitious with cakes. I make large layer cakes with imaginative themes etc. But lately, my go-to layer cake size has been the 10" square pans. But I have had to modify all of my recipes to fit them. My latest cake was a Kung-Fu Panda cake for ym son's birthday with bamboo outlining the edges and Po in the middle. Such fun!

Anonymous said...

I hang my head in shame. I honestly have NEVER made anyone a birthday cake. Eat them yes, bake them no. Now I have made cakes and such, but never for a birthday celebration. Still hanging head in shame.....

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious, but I'm wondering if it has any coffee taste once it is baked?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I could really smell the coffee while it baked (enough that I was worried that it would taste like coffee) but I don't think there's any coffee flavor in the finished product. Once it was baked and cooled it smelled and tasted only chocolately.

Anonymous said...

I have only made them for the "family only" celebration, not the big party, so usually a 9 x 13 cake.

P.S. Sponge Bob rules!!


Red Dirt Mummy said...

In the past I've gone cake-crazy for birthdays - shaped, iced, monstrosities. We've had trains, and treasure islands, butterflies and caterpillers. As of last year I declared "No more!" I found a fab choc cake that will be the family-do b'day cake and if it's a party year I'll do the number of their age and decorate with whatever they want - last year it was a 6, with bright yellow icing and decorated with Star Wars figures because that's what the wee man chose. My birthday cake headaches are gone!

Laura's mom said...

Hi Paula,
What recipe did you use for the icing?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I used the Easy Buttercream Recipe from King Arthur. That's been my standard go-to frosting recipe for a while now.

Laura's mom said...

Thanks Paula! I'm definitely going to use this recipe.

Anonymous said...

This sounds great. I'm going to make it for a bday celebration next week. How much vanilla did you add?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Um, a 'splash' LOL. Probably about a teaspoon (and I make 1 1/2 times the recipe since I always make this is a half-sheet pan).