A classic and popular dessert, chocolate cake is a great choice for any occasion. It can be enjoyed with a variety of fillings, frostings and toppings to suit the taste preferences of those who enjoy it. It is a versatile and easy to make dish that is popular among people of all ages and backgrounds.
There are many different recipes for chocolate cakes, with some containing very little flour, others more like a sponge cake and still others with a rich and dense crumb structure. The type of chocolate used is also a crucial factor in the final flavor and texture of the cake. Some bakers will even use a combination of several types of chocolate in one recipe, such as using both white and semisweet chocolate, to create a unique and delicious taste.
The first verifiable recipe for chocolate cake was published in 1847 by Eliza Leslie in her cookbook. However, her version was quite different from what we recognize as a chocolate cake today. Leslie’s recipe called for chopped pieces of chocolate inserted into a plain sponge cake. It was not until Coenraad van Houten developed a mechanical extraction process for cacao liquor, creating cocoa powder, that cake makers began incorporating the chocolate into their cakes and expanding the range of types of chocolatey delights to choose from.
In this recipe, we are using a very simple batter made from all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt and leavening agents. The eggs, milk and oil are then added to the dry ingredients to combine thoroughly. Finally, the boiling water is stirred in. The batter will seem very thin compared to the traditional store-bought mix, and this is normal.
If you would like to add an extra layer of moistness to this recipe, we recommend adding a few teaspoons of instant coffee or espresso to the batter before baking. This is completely optional, but will give the cake an extra depth of flavor without making it taste like coffee.
Lastly, to make this cake dairy-free we suggest substituting the buttermilk for a mixture of 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 cup of almond or soy milk. This will make the cake slightly less fluffy, but should also be just as soft and moist.
When the cake has cooled, place it on a flat plate or cake pedestal and frost with your favorite frosting. If there is leftover cake, wrap tightly in plastic and store in a zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To re-heat, microwave on medium power for 5 to 10 seconds. Frosting will become very light and creamy when rewhipped and re-beatd. If you do not wish to re-whip, simply store the frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator and warm up in the microwave before serving.