Valentine's Chocolate Baking made Easy

I'm a chocoholic. Not so much for candy bars or chocolate drinks or mixed with mint, but baked goods are my weakness. I have a way too easy chocolate cake recipe to share. This can be one-bowl, it can be one baking pan. It can be a rectangle, it can be layered. It can be cupcakes! Treat your sweetie this Valentine's Day to some home baked love!

 Who could eat just one?

Who could eat just one?

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Chocolate Cake
Easy, one-bowl, no one should ever use a mix after this.
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups (or less) sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted lard)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin to boil water. Grease and flour two 9" or three 8" layer pans OR one 13"x9" pan OR use cupcake papers in a 24 cupcake panMix everything except water; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour into pan(s).Bake at 350 degrees: *30-35 minutes for layers *35-40 minutes for 13x9 pan *25 minutes for cupcakesCool 10 minutes on a rack before removing from pans.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One if you want to eat it all

For frosting, I like a simple, not-too-sweet butter/chocolate recipe shared with me by my friend, Ari (now Meat Shares member) many years ago. This recipe works for 1 double layer cake. Make half for the cupcakes.

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped, carefully melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder
  1. In an electric mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed about 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary (do this!) until smooth and creamy.
  4. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of very hot tap water. Make sure well dissolved!
  5. On low speed, add the melted chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip!
  6. Spread immediately on cooled cake.

But if you want something really special, make a ganache. This one featured the tanginess of sour cream to offset the fluff and sweet of the cake. Heavenly!

This was for a big jelly roll pan-sized cake that was supposed to be multiple layered and would serve 12. Adjust accordingly.

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 cups (910 g) sour cream room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon (or whatever you have on hand)

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Cool slightly. Add the sour cream (must be room temperature!) and stir with a spatula until smooth. Stir in the bourbon.

 This version was made this weekend with a lard instead of oil.

This version was made this weekend with a lard instead of oil.

So what about this using lard in a chocolate cake? I got the idea from the "Mastering Stocks and Broths" book by Rachael S Mamane. She had a Chocolate Lard Boubon Cake with the above mentioned ganache. After further investigation, her recipe was exactly the same as my tried-and-true chocolate cake recipe I wrote out above. The only difference was lard instead of vegetable oil. Another fantastic way to use locally sourced ingredients, but this time in dessert!


If you want something fancier this Valentine's Day, I would recommend Molten Lava Cakes. Many years ago, Micah and I had molten cakes (lava cakes) at this charming restaurant in Argentina. We had to go back a second night! After that, I was on the hunt for the best molten cakes I could find. Here are some links to those I have made:

A Rusty Nail favorite- use less than a 1/2 cup of sugar, one lime is enough. Unbelievably delicious. Leftovers can be heated in the microwave the next day. Dark Chocolate-Lime Souffles

A bit more involved, but so worth it: Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes with Rum-Ginger Ice Cream

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Cherries (or not)

Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cakes with Coffee Ice Cream

Desserts!Jennifer Knoetgen