Searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe is like searching for that classic white shirt or that amazing pair of jeans. You’ve got to try many before you get the one.
This cake is the one. It does not disappoint and has been my go to recipe for the last 4 years. I am not even interested in glancing at other chocolate cake recipes anymore.
It’s a light and moist cake with a delicate crumb. And all you need to do is throw everything into a bowl, mix it and stick it in the oven.
How does cake rise?
Simply put, air.
So one way to get air in the cake is to use a raising agent like baking powder. Eggs too can trap a lot of air causing the cake to rise, if you whisk the egg whites. But in this cake, it rises because of:
- the acid in the buttermilk (mala) and the acid in the cocoa powder, reacting with …
- bicarbonate of soda, an alkali.
Bicarbonate of soda reacts when it comes in contact with an acid and a liquid. (Mix a teaspoon of vinegar and bicarbonate to visualize the process.)
Acid + alkali = carbon dioxide, water and a neutral salt.
First, the carbon dioxide dissolves in the liquid that’s in the cake batter. When the liquid can’t absorb any more carbon dioxide, it is released in the cake as air bubbles. These air bubbles expand in the hot oven. Towards the end of baking, the bubbles set. The result is a well risen baked good.
So here is a tip, when a recipe says to use buttermilk, you can substitute with maziwa mala instead.
However, if you do not have mala, add one Tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, and give it 5 minutes to curdle. Its all about the acid.
This is also as “healthy” as a chocolate cake is going to get. It uses cocoa and not chocolate.
Should you ignore salt in cake recipes?
Salt brings out the flavour of everything. Even sweet things. So to enhance the chocolate flavour, do not ignore salt. It’s a humble but game-changing ingredient.
Enhance the flavour even more!
According to thekitchn.com, “Coffee and chocolate share many of the same flavor characteristics, and coffee amplifies some of the darker taste elements in the chocolate without adding much discernible coffee flavor.”
Chemistry class is over😊. Enjoy your chocolate cake.
Yummy Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa (do not substitute with milo or drinking chocolate)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mala/buttermilk/yoghurt
- 1/2 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (or grated orange skin for a chocolate-orange flavour)
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee or boiling water
DirectionsPreheat your oven to 170ºC/350ºF. Grease and flour the cake tin.
Whisk 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Into the well, add the 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup of mala/buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter or oil, and 1 Tablespoon vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients in the centre. From the centre working outwards, incorporate the dry ingredients.
Final step, pour the 1 cup of hot water or 1 cup of hot coffee. Do not overmix. It smells so good already!
It is a pouring batter. Pour into the prepared baking tin. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through the baking time rotate the tin front to back. (Rectangular cakes cook faster than round).