The fastest and easiest chocolate cake

The fastest and easiest chocolate cake

Confessions of a girl who oft-denies her feminine side: I don’t like cake. I’m not a cake person. I like the idea of the gratification that cake brings, but after a bite of chocolate, cheese, berries or whatever the heck is in those things, I feel like throwing up and go into anaphylactic shock (literally). I’ve made a couple of cakes on this blog, but mostly those were pretty healthy, involved minimal use of butter and were ready in 45 minutes flat.

I recently bought a Food & Wine cookbook from 1998 at Half-Price Books for $2. I don’t do Gourmet or Bon Appetit subscriptions. I’m cheap like that. In the Food and Wine book was a recipe for a mix-in-the-pan chocolate cake. I was semi-thinking: How good can a chocolate cake that didn’t involve a mixer be? Wouldn’t that just taste like brownies (which I find marvelously gross)?

I decided to try it anyway because a) I didn’t get cake for my birthday (I’m anti-cake like that) b) I have a potluck tomorrow for someone’s birthday, the cake would be my contribution. And also, lately, I’ve been craving chocolate so much. I blame that both on Ina Garten and leftover Halloween-goodies, and oh, on the economy, on General Motors, on my thesis advisor, on Eric Cantor and change we may never believe in.

Have a go at this chocolate cake that is so easy, it’s laughable. To make it more elegant, you can (and should) bake it in a round cake pan – the recipe will yield two round 8″ cakes. Otherwise if you’re like me, this recipe will yield a moist, soft and supremely chocolatey 8″ square cake, dripping with chocolate glaze and sparkling with chopped walnuts.

Fast and Easy Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Food and Wine, 1998

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 lb unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup very hot water
1 cup low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk in the eggs, butter, hot water and vanilla. Then whisk in the yogurt. Mix together with a rubber spatula and pour in to the prepared pan until it is half filled. (Note: Do not overfill or you cake will resemble a chocolate volcano!) . Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F until a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out gently on a wire rack and cool completely. Top with chocolate glaze and chopped walnuts.

Chocolate frosting
4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler. Gently pour over the prepared cake, starting from the middle of the cake and letting the glaze drip over the sides. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

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