Although my sweet tooth varies far and wide and I will never turn down an opportunity to try something novel and sweet (unless it has raisins in it), there’s really only one dessert that hits the sweet spot every time, fulfills that deep craving shared by both mind and stomach.
But before I tell you what it is, can I please show you my latest obsession? I once shared an alfajor (a Latin American sandwich cookie) with a friend at Salento, and let me tell you. I was not impressed with their tomato-basil soup, but the alfajor was something else. The rounds of shortbread were museum-preserved-flawlessly-pale kind of perfect and the dulce de leche oozed, all slow syrupy sweetness. Here’s how you can learn to make these amazing crumbly, sandy sweet sandwiches–and also learn how to pronounce them!
Anyway, back to that one dessert–it’s chocolate (of course) cake (duh).
This cake in particular only uses a tiny amount of oil compared to most chocolate cakes I’ve seen, but the amount of other flavorful liquids in the cake (buttermilk and coffee) render it moist, with a dewy crumb. The kind that wads up well when you sweep your fork through a pile of crumbs, clinging to any particles of frosting.
Also, this may be one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made.
Aside from all the crumbling, that is. I didn’t have three cake pans, so I poured all the batter into a well-greased cookie sheet. Parchment paper probably would have made this a more successful enterprise, but I didn’t have that either. After the baking and the cooling, I sliced the cake into thirds.
I drizzled chocolate ganache and smoothed a strawberry whipped cream frosting over all the uneven parts for each layer…
…then finished with a smear of ganache on the top.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Tweaked from Sweetapolita
Yield: 1 cookie sheet-sized sheet cake OR three rectangle layers OR three 6-inch layers (latter according to Sweetapolita)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used regular unsweetened, not dark)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
2. Combine all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and mix by hand or with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth. Pour into prepared pans. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh divided batter in pans for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.
3. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 30 minutes. Try not to over bake.
4. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
For the chocolate ganache, I used my go-to ganache.