It’s Debby’s birthday, so I decided I should make a chocolate cake. This was a last minute decision, and I wanted to try something more conventional than the chocolate genois cakes I’ve done in the past. But, lacking a stand mixer, I also didn’t want to do the whole “cream butter and sugar” think either.

Nigella Lawson had a recipe in the NYT a year ago that involves throwing all the batter ingredients in a food processor and blitzing it all together. That sounded easy, but I was thinking I’d tweak it in a couple of ways. First, following the general principle of making muffins, I’d do the wet stuff and dry stuff separately and mix at the end.

Wet works:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 sticks room temp butter
  • 0.75 c buttermilk/yogurt (sub for sour cream in the original). I had some buttermilk that needed to be used up.
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c sugar. OK sugar is a dry ingredient, but I want it to dissolve.

Dry stuff. Sift together:

  • 1.5 c flour. I used 1 c cake flour and 0.5 c all purpose. Not sure if that mattered.
  • 0.33 c cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 0.5 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt (not in the original)
  • 0.25 t cayenne pepper (not in original)
  • 0.25 t cinnamon (not in original)

Processed the wet stuff in the food processor. The butter didn’t really fully incorporate at this step, it looked like curdled eggs. But that was resolved by adding the dry stuff and processing until smooth. The consistency was thicker than I expected. It was reminiscent of soft-serve ice cream.

Transferred to a 9″ ringform, buttered, floured, and with a circle of parchment on the bottom. I had buttered it to make sure the joints were sealed, but that wasn’t an issue with this batter.

Baked in a 350 F oven for about 50 minutes. I had set a timer for 35 based on the original recipe, which is for 2 8″ pans. Kept it going until a toothpick came out clean.

The cake had a distinct dome shape. If/when I do this again, I’ll try some of the tips from this site, starting with lowering the temperature and backing longer. The cake cooled while we went shopping and made dinner (Pan-fried Dover Sole in lemon butter with roasted baby potatoes and green beans) and watched the season premiere of series 10 of Doctor Who.

With the video on pause, and Debby feeding the cats, I brushed some framboise on to the cake and dusted it with powdered sugar. We weren’t in the mood for frosting. Served with some lactose free Breyers vanilla ice cream and some raspberries.

I think it was pretty successful. The chocolate flavor was strong from the cocoa powder and the cayenne and cinnamon added some nice warmth to the flavor. The texture was light, tender and cakey. On general principles, more liquor might have made it even better.

If the tips to make it flat work, this could be a nice base for a fancier presentation.