Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The BEST Chocolate Cake (moist & fudgy!)

WARNING: This post contains the word "moist" at least 10 times.

You know when you make a whole cake for a household of two (that's 1, 2 people!) and the cake lasts maybe 4 days... and when I say "lasts" I mean against its will because we ate it all and not because it doesn't keep well.

In fact this BEST Chocolate Cake is so moist that it keeps for over a week without drying out and actually improves with age! How is this even possible!?

Well I have a secret - I normally scoff at a cake recipe that uses only oil and no butter. Butter is superior for its flavour, and if oil is not fresh then even the slightest rancid note will be exacerbated after you bake it into a cake. The NERVE. 

I understand that oil will make cakes softer and come across as being more moist... it's the simple science behind the type of fat. Oil is made up of mostly unsaturated fats that are liquid at room temperature. Butter contains more saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, therefore the texture of a butter cake will be more crumbly and firm. 

BUT, I've developed a recipe that makes up for this. 

The secret to the best chocolate cake:

It is sour cream! And a lot of it. Sour cream contributes the dairy undertones, rich flavour and body (thanks to its high protein and fat content) that oil-based cakes lack.

What makes cake moist?

1) Moisture comes from liquid, not fat. So you can add more butter and more oil, but it will really just make the cake more dense and more tender by shortening the texture. Fat will not make a cake moist as only liquids can add moisture. This cake is moist because of the amount of liquid.

2) Sugar ratio - the right amount of sugar will make cake moist because it binds water so that it stays tightly in the batter and doesn't evaporate excessively during baking.

2) Liquid oil will make the texture very soft, which often gives the perception of "moistness"

What oil should you use to make cake?

1) Firstly - use a fresh oil! Do not use anything that's been opened for a long time and when you store oil, it should be in a cool dark place. Light and heat accelerate oxidation reactions that can make the flavour turn rancid.

2) My oil of choice for baking is sunflower oil for its clean and neutral taste, but any other oil such as canola or safflower will do. You can even use olive oil, but keep in mind that it will add the taste of olive oil to the cake.

We haven't even discussed this frosting yet. Ohhhhh... this frosting. It, too, is made with sour cream and holy heaven! It is rich. I highly recommend you top this cake off with this recipe for the BEST Chocolate Frosting. 

Happy Baking!

The BEST Chocolate Cake (moist & fudgy!)
makes 8-10 servings

1 ¾ cup (250g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (56g) cocoa powder (I prefer this one)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
½ cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ cup (120ml) neutral oil 
¾ cup (180ml) sour cream
1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and line the base with parchment paper.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add both sugars and salt and whisk to blend well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.

Combine eggs, oil, sour cream and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium-low until blended. It will be thick and somewhat dry. Add the hot coffee gradually in two stages to minimize clumps forming and beat until evenly combined and the batter smooth.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30-33 minutes until cakes spring back when pressed gently and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.

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  1. WHOUUAA ! thank you ! can I have the recipe of the frosting please ?

  2. Can't wait to make this. The one cup of coffee, is that instant or espresso?

  3. Hey! Can we replace the eggs in the cake with something else ?

  4. Is there something we can replace eggs with?

    1. Hi! I have only tested this recipe with eggs. Feel free to test with your own egg substitutions (ie. flax egg) and let me know how it turns out.

  5. Can I use ¼cup light brown sugar and ¼cup dark brown sugar? Will it alter the taste much? I subbed some dark brown sugar in your double chocolate chip cookie recipe and loved how it turned out.

  6. Hi Christina,
    I know how good you are at making cakes and I'm just an amateur so I was wondering whether you can help me with a recipe?
    I'm planning on making this teddy bear cake for my son's first birthday. Based on the recipe for this on I thought of using the dense cake recipe which is linked in this recipe but it said to use 2 of that recipe which means 16 eggs, it just seems like a lot of eggs and wanted to clarify with you. But ideally I want to your this chocolate cake recipe I found, so I wanted to how many times should I multiply it to get the desired amount of cake plus an additional cup cake?