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It’s baking season! If you’re looking to whip up a classically satisfying dessert that won’t break your brains out, look no further than dark chocolate cake.
Sheet cakes are the underdogs of baking. Long associated with school catering lines and church basements, they’re nowhere near as glamorous as the hulking concoctions of a professional bakery. Based on a square slice, there’s little outward difference between a homemade sheet cake and a grocery junkie in a hurry.
But this is where we need to take a closer look because a homemade sheet cake is a different and more delicious creature than a standard grocery store dessert. This dark chocolate cake recipe from All recipes is a great place to start, especially if you’ve been bothered by producing a “Great British Baking Show” type stunner.
It may not have all the swoops and swirls of a fancy layer cake, but with the right twist it will taste absolutely divine. Less stress for the baker, and more cake for dessert. It’s a win-win.
A few hours before you start cooking, take your butter out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. Timing may vary depending on your kitchen microclimate – my kitchen is cool, so sometimes I take out the butter the night before.
Just before you start, also bring two large eggs to room temperature. Bon Appetit recommends make a comfortable double boiler and let them sit for 5-10 minutes.
Next comes, as always, the preparation of the casserole. This recipe recommends using 10 x 15 inch circled hob, lined with parchment paper — a method I haven’t tried! I tend to use either a Pyrex baking dish or an old rectangular pan that I bought at a garage sale.
No secrets here, just remember that it needs to have a big enough rim so the cake batter doesn’t overflow.
I like to use butter and a dusting of flour to grease my bakeware; some people use a spray of cooking spray. Take your favorite and turn the oven to 350 degrees. Then do Coffee — a cup for you and a cup for the recipe.
It’s time to do business. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
A note on cocoa powder: This recipe suggests Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder, which is easily found at almost any grocery store. If you have a little extra cash on hand, it’s worth trying one of the premium brands, like Valrhona or Guitard.
Luxury cocoas often have a higher fat content, leading to a richer chocolate flavor in the final product. But do not worry – Hershey’s Special Black will also have delicious results. Don’t forget to buy the dark Hershey (not regular). We make a dark chocolate cake here, right?
Combined dry ingredients, it’s time to cream the butter and sugars, then add the eggs. The flour and cocoa mixture is incorporated in a few additions, alternating with coffee and buttermilk. It might seem strange to brew a cup of coffee just to throw it into a cake batter, but it really deepens the flavor of chocolate.
Once your dark chocolate cake batter is together, take out the greased baking sheet from earlier. Pour in the batter, then gently smooth it with a spatula. Give the sheet a few solid bangs on the counter to get an even distribution of the batter. If a few bubbles appear, you are on the right track for an airy and creamy texture.
And now, the moment of truth: Pop the hob in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. I like to quickly turn the cake 180 degrees about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, the cake is done. Don’t wait for the toothpick to come out completely clean, because by then you may have overcooked the cake. It will continue to cook for a few minutes after it comes out.
Chill this cake and while you wait, you can make homemade frosting – dark chocolate, of course. You’ll be using the same cocoa powder as before, plus all the usual sugar and butter and such. A wrinkle: Instead of coffee, the frosting uses a teaspoon of Espresso powder.
Now, this one can be a little hard to track down, but most grocery stores will have at least Medaglia d’Oro on the bookshelf. In a pinch, I used Via Starbucks instant coffee powder for my dark chocolate cake and it turned out great.
When the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting on top and roll back to enjoy all the majesty of dark chocolate. It’s a sight to behold: a humble sheet cake with glossy dark brown frosting and complex, rich chocolate in every bite.
Do not hold back ! Cut yourself a square and enjoy, once the family is together, it won’t last long!
Click here to see the full recipe and instructions for this delicious dark chocolate cake.