Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chocolate Cloud Cake

Our house is very divided in the age old chocolate v. vanilla cake debate. Doug loves chocolate and usually wears it as a moustache and beard after licking beaters or brownie bowls. Vanilla resonates more with me--there's something simple and light about it, and it's so much prettier on my cake stand.

But every once in a while, we come together on a chocolate cake idea that's a little out of the ordinary. My recipe was inspired by a delicious cake I had as an intern at a nonprofit years and years ago. A few tweaks and additions later, here's a new spin on it!

Chocolate Cloud Cake

3/4 c. butter (I used Irish Cream and loved the results)
3 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
Splash almond extract
1 1/2 c. milk
3 T. unsweetened applesauce (makes it so moist--worth adding to any darker cake batter!)
2 c. flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
2 c. sugar
1 c. extra dark chocolate chips (60%)

Mix softened butter, eggs, extracts, and sugar in a big bowl. I do this by hand because I hate the noise of a mixer. Add applesauce. Mix dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) together. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold chocolate chips into batter. 

Pour cake into a gresed 13 x 9 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 mins. Watch it closely; you don't want it to dry out or burn.

Pull cake from oven, and immediately top with 2 c. mini marshmallows and 2 c. sweetened coconut. Let marshmallows melt on top. (You could substitute enough marshmallow cream to cover the top too--whatever you have.) Alternatively, you could use chopped almonds in addition to or instead of the coconut--play with it a little.

Once the cake has cooled a bit more (30-45 mins), top it with homemade chocolate buttercream. I'm all about the homemade frosting--canned tastes so chalky and chemically. It's worth the effort to mix your own. I never use a recipe for mine, and if I happen to be over at my mom's when I make it, I beg her to do it. Her buttercream is always better than mine, though we mix it the same way and use the same ingredients. Moms are better at so many things.

We start with a stick of butter and add vanilla, a dash of milk or cream, and a few cups of powdered sugar. My mom only uses C&H, but I generally get whatever powdered sugar is cheaper. I guess this could account for the difference in the end result too, eh? Hmm...

This cake is so rich that we had to cut it into thin rectangle slices rather than square pieces, but it's so worth it. The applesauce makes the cake moist, and the marshmallows on top seem to help too. What's even better is that this cake is easy to whip up and uses ingredients most of us have on hand.

Everyone loved it, except our cat, who loves a little vanilla frosting occasionally, but obviously couldn't have any chocolate anything. Doug's going to take one of these to his employees tomorrow. Perhaps we'll start a weekly baked goods ritual to kick Mondays off right at the office. That's a trend I can get behind!

What do you add to make your chocolate cake special?

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