Chocolate cake

You won’t believe the secret ingredient in this decadent chocolate cake


Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t particularly like chocolate. Maybe on Valentine’s Day their loved ones send pralines, lemon candies or caramels. That leaves more chocolate for the rest of us.

Thank goodness my island neighbor and friend Pat Mitchell doesn’t wait until Valentine’s Day to bake this cake. She brings it as a birthday cake to our sewing circle. During potlucks, when I see Pat carrying this cake, my heart skips a bit. It’s so good. She kindly shared the recipe which I tweaked slightly, not because it’s not perfectly good as it is, but because I like to tweak to see if I can extract a little more flavor.

The surprise here is the hot water. When you add the required water, the dough is alarmingly thin, more like something to drink than to cook. I was actually worried enough to call Pat to check it out. She said, “It’s not like other pastry dough.” So I continued.

The two things I changed were to replace some flour with cocoa just to amplify the chocolate a bit. And I added a teaspoon of instant espresso coffee powder to the hot water because I read somewhere that even though you can’t taste the coffee, it does enhance the overall flavor of the chocolate.

Pat often doubles the recipe to make enough for a layered cake. I decided to double the recipe as well and bake mine in a tube pan, which Pat said she hadn’t tried to do yet. It came out beautifully. In the recipe below, I provide the ingredients for the base single layer cake that Pat gave me. If you double it and cook it in two molds, you will need 30 minutes of cooking. If you choose a tube mold, you need more than 50 minutes for baking. Just insert your tester to make sure it comes out clean and look for the cake that is pulling away from the sides of the mold.

Hot water chocolate cake Credit: Sandy Oliver / BDN

Usually I’m lazy to play with the frosting. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I made a pretty ganache to spread on the cake and let run down the sides. Pat describes this as a “dump cake,” which means you can more or less dump the ingredients together like a regular cake, with virtually no problem. It goes quickly.

Now, if you were to acquire a sweetheart between 3:00 p.m. and dinner time on Sunday, you can quickly bake this cake to celebrate.

Hot water chocolate cake

Makes an 8 inch single layer cake

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 ounces of baking chocolate, melted

1 1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 cup of boiling water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8-inch round pan.

Beat together the oil and sugar, then stir in the egg.

Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and beat enough to combine well.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour and water mixture alternately to the oil, sugar, eggs and chocolate dough, beating slowly and ending with water.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frost if desired or serve with whipped cream.

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