14 February 2007
what's cooking wednesday: chocolate lovers' cake

A little over a month ago, P and I went to his sister's house to celebrate the Epiphany. I took my most favorite chocolate cake of all time--the one that I *always* requested from my mom for my birthday. P's sister had, coincidentally, made a chocolate cake that day too. I was shocked since most Italians do not usually have a dessert prepared, but lucky me, I had competition.

And I won.

The other day, P's sister called me and asked me to make this moist, delicious treat for her daughter's birthday party, which is today, Valentine's Day. I didn't have time to run out and get anything really special for the cake, so I worked with what I had, and this is what I came up with:

My mom had sent me those gummy hearts for Valentine's Day, so they were the perfect addition, I think.

Also, P's sister has asked me for the recipe; I haven't yet translated it into all Italian measurements and ingredients, but if any of you in Italy have questions, please feel free to email me.

Now for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday:

Mary K's Most Moistest Chocolate Cake in the World

3 cups flour
1 cup powdered baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups hot strong coffee
2 tsp baking soda

Pay special attention to the way the ingredients are grouped as these go together.

First put the coffee on to brew.

Then sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and mix together well in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and put aside.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. The large bowl is important, because this will eventually be the home of your entire batter.

When the coffee is done, add the baking soda; it should bubble if your baking soda is working. I use a pourable measuring container for the coffee.

Now, to the egg mixture, alternate adding the dry and wet mixtures. I do all of this by hand now with a whisk, but I used to use an electric mixer. Makes no difference as far as I can tell.
The batter is moderately runny, definitely not thick.

This recipe is for a 13 x 9 pan, which should be greased and floured. The cake is so moist that it *will* stick if you don't do this well.

Bake at 350° F (177° C) for 35-45 minutes. You can also make lovely cupcakes, as my mom did when I was still taking treats to school, just reduce the baking time.

When the cake springs up from your touch, it's done even if it's slightly gooey inside. It'll still cook when outside the oven.

FYI, the recipe I used for the icing can be found here, although I added a bit more milk. I should also add that I normally wouldn't even ice this cake as it makes it own nice soft, icing-like top after it sits for a while, but for the sake of the Birthday Girl, I went all out.

Buon appetito and Buon San Valentino!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though i'll prbably never make this, on account of our crap oven with no temperatues that burns the bottom and leaves the top raw, lately i've been hankering for some chocolate cake.
So i have these questions:
1. Where can you buy baking powder here, and what is it called?
2. the cups of hot strong coffee, i think you mean 'amercian' style cups (ie big ones) not little italian ones?

Blogger sognatrice said...

Sorry about your oven!

(1) For baking powder in Italy, look for "lieveto per dolci" although that often has vanilla, so cut back on the liquid vanilla in the recipe. It should be with all the rest of the baking-type stuff. I get mine shipped in from the States so I've never used it, but I've been told that it's an exact exchange (1 tsp=1 tsp).

(2) Yes, the coffee in the recipe is for one *measuring* cup full of hot strong coffee--and I use American style. That said, upon discussion with some wonderful people on Expats, we feel that maybe a half measuring cup of espresso topped off with hot water would work too.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting the recipe. It looks delicious.
Prof. from expats

Blogger Giulia said...

It looks so...so...moist!
Good thing I have a nice pack of Dunkin Donuts coffee sitting in my pantry (leftover from one of my packages) that will come in handy for this recipe!
You're right, this doesn't seems like a cake that needs icing. Maybe just a sprinkling of powdered sugar will do, or the nice glaze you made for your nieces cake. Can't wait to make it. Happy Valentine's Day!

Blogger -R- said...

I have never had coffee in a cake before! That looks sooo good. I will have to try this.

That sounds heavenly! Yum!!! Happy Valentine's Day!


Anonymous stacy said...

Looks delicious! Hope you and P have a wonderful Valentines!

Blogger stefanie said...

Man, would it suck having your birthday on Valentine's Day! Poor girl. Every restaurant would be booked and your coupled-off friends would all claim to have more important things to do than attend your birthday dinner anyway. I am heartily glad my birthday falls on no major holidays. (It's the day after St. Patrick's Day, but that's never been all that big a problem.)

That cake looks tasty!

Blogger Shan said...

Oh that looks yummy!

Chocolate cake is one of my favourite things to make. I'll have to give this one a go.

Blogger Gil said...

Maybe a half measuring cup of espresso topped off with coffee brandy or Kahlua!!!

Anonymous bella said...

Looks delish! I'll have to try it.

Anonymous bella said...

Looks delish! I'll have to try it.

Anonymous Kristen said...

Oh wow... that does look fantastic! I had such great success with the Ina recipe... this one looks fantastic!

Blogger elena jane said...

i am so going to make this cake...

glad your mom can ship you some things in...

the hearts look pretty :-)

Blogger sognatrice said...

Prof, you're quite welcome :)

Giulia, moist is definitely the key word here. And I'm very jealous of the Dunkin' Donuts coffee (which is probably gone by now since you wrote that comment many months ago) ;)

-R-, the coffee is the secret. Shhh!

Christina, yes, I'd definitely use the word "heavenly."

Stacy, as I recall, it was a very nice Valentine's ;)

Stefanie, well I imagine around college and whatnot, everyone was already hungover on your bday? That's not fun either :(

Shan, I'm wondering if you tried this yet....

Gil, mmmm....

Bella, I hope you've tried it by now!

Kristen, Ina's looks fab too :)

Elena Jane, my mom sends me the *best* stuff--even when I don't know I'll need it, she knew ;)

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