September 6, 2010 | 1:00pm
When we lived in Brooklyn, NY we had a monthly ritual. It started with going to our favorite sushi joint and loading up on Spanish mackerel sashimi and rolls of varying types and bowls of miso soup and sake. And then, because why stop there, we would stumble down the street for a walk of a few blocks to wind up at a little place that only served chocolate.
On most of these trips we would order up a big slice of chocolate cake. There were other choices, chocolate puddings and chocolate sorbets and chocolate brownies. But it was hard to veer from the classic slice of chocolate cake, because it is nearly perfect for an impromptu celebration, which is what these nights were really about. Chocolate cake makes us think of birthday cake and wishes and there's nothing quite like that. I mean while it's possible to think of a shop that only serves chocolate, it's hard to imagine anyone opening up a place serving only vanilla. It's just not the same.
This weekend we've decided to celebrate Labor Day. In an effort to find a chocolate cake like the one we ate on those nights, we turn to Martha. We're drawn to a recipe called, One Bowl Chocolate Cake because it can be made in one mixing bowl. What we are hoping is that it is easy enough to qualify as an anytime impromptu celebration cake -- a cake that is delicious, and chocolate-y.
You begin by buttering two 8-inch cake pans and dusting them with cocoa powder. Just this act is exciting because the cocoa covered pans already look delicious.
Next, into the bowl of a mixer sift together ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Beat on a low speed then raise to medium and add 2 eggs, ¾ cup low-fat buttermilk, ¾ cup warm water, 3 tablespoons safflower oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Beat until smooth and divide evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
But that is only half of it -- because with chocolate cake, it's the icing that gets top billing. The chocolate frosting recipe
for this cake includes confectioners sugar, more unsweetened cocoa powder, cream cheese, butter, 9 oz. of melted bittersweet chocolate, and ¾ cup of crème fraiche.
What can we say? The finished cake was delicious and we liked that the frosting was lighter than a ganache style frosting. When we bit into big triangles of cake, the flavor was satisfyingly cocoa-y. Also it was moist --a bonus. We've had problems with some other Martha cake recipes we've tried in the past, because they came out too dense and not as moist as we would like. That was not the case with One Bowl Chocolate Cake. This one is a keeper.