January 11, 2011

One-bowl Chocolate Cake

It was my brother-in-laws birthday a couple of days after New Years Eve. The night before (at about 9pm and still a little wiped out from the night before) I sent a text off to my sister asking her whether she had a cake organised or whether she wanted me to 'whip something up'. I got a text back saying 'That'd be great, he loves chocolate!' I started scrolling through the chocolate cake recipes on the Martha Stewart website and came upon the One-Bowl Chocolate Cake which looked lovely, and I thought I should have all the ingredients to go in it. Yes, folks, should is a great word isn't it?! It turned out that we were completely out of eggs! This coming from the girl who has half a dozen chickens out the back. Plus we had none of the ingredients for the icing! Luckily enough my other sister came to the rescue - they had tonnes of eggs. So I decided to pick up the ingredients for the icing on my way in and just finish baking the cake at her place. So for me, this cake ended up being a two bowl cake rather than the promised one bowl, as I thought I should prepare the wet and dry ingredients that I had and take them separately.
These are just the ingredients I did actually have. The recipe also asked for something called safflower oil, which we didn't have so I substituted it for vegetable oil.
unsalted butter, softened, for pans
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp vegetable oil (original recipe calls for safflower oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Butter two round cake pans (2 inches deep); dust with cocoa. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
2. Divide batter between pans. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centres comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, faceup, to wire racks. Let cool completely.
3. Spread 2 cups chocolate icing onto top of 1 cooled layer. Top with remaining layer; frost top and sides with remaining 2 cups icing.

Icing Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
170g cream cheese, room temperature
190g unsalted butter, softened
255g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1. Sift together sugar, cocoa and salt.
2. Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually add sugar-cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Pour in chocolate in a slow, steady stream. Add creme fraiche; beat until combined.
This is the first half of the cake covered. I found that the amount of mixture made two quite thin cakes, so you could probably put all the mixture in and just make one bigger cake if you want to. I also had a LOT of icing, really more than I needed for the one cake I felt. I had enough left over that I was able to make another of these cakes a couple of days later and there was enough to cover that one too. 
A note for all of you who want to make this cake, make sure you either put the icing in the fridge before you put it on the cake, or once you've put the icing on the cake give it some fridge time. We had to drive to my sister's house as soon as I'd finished putting the icing on, so not only was I in a bit of a hurry, the icing was far too soft, as you can see in the picture above. I literally had to sit in the car holding the top layer of the cake in place because it kept going to slide off! That was definitely a long car ride! Once we got to my sister's house though, I was able to put the cake in the fridge and it all set quite nicely. I took it back out after the icing was a bit more solid and smoothed it down a touch. Here's a picture of the finished product (please excuse the messy plate and the rushed icing job)
This was a wonderful, moist and delicious cake that was really easy to make. I definitely recommend it for anyone, and I can see myself cooking it again in the future. I particularly loved (OMG LOVED!!) the icing! That was the best part of the cake and I found myself, 'tasting' the leftovers every now and then just to 'check they were still okay. ;) 


  1. OMG thanks so much for blogging about this cake...now I am having cravings!! No seriously thanks heaps for making it, what a delectable cake!! Dre

  2. I love one bowl cakes-they're so easy and less washing up. I mean what's not to love! :D

  3. Thanks Dre and Lorraine. I wasn't sure what to expect after the cake was so easy to make but it was beautiful. Did I mention that I loved the icing? lol They are a lot easier, for sure, definitely great to be able to relax a little with this cake after making my nephews 2 cake!

  4. What a delicious cake it was. I was lucky enough to have a piece or two of the second cake as well. Another success Claire.....Bp

  5. Hey, Claire, this looks fantastic!! Unfortunately me being so disorganised, I have no time to bake the cake for David, but I might make it for my party tomorrow night. I cooked the potatoes you suggested though and drizzled them with melted garlic butter mixed with parsley paste. I'll just have to put the chicken Kievs in the oven and hey presto! Thanks again so much for all your help with the cooking ideas!

    Love, Marina xoxo

  6. Thanks M! It tastes just as good as it looks lol That's okay, it sounds like you had a beautiful dinner anyway. It's lovely that you cooked for David, so domestic! lol Your potatoes do sound really good - I may have to try them myself. I've had them done in a similar way in the past, but not for ages and not with the paste.
    No problems about the help! :)


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