my video but it's the only shot I had of a chocolate cake. It's actually a photo of a delightful birthday cake my partner-in-crime made me a few summers back. Gotta love a man that bakes you a cake, especially one containing beets! Beets?! Yes, those red root vegetables that appear in the pages of old fairy tales. My cake was delicious and ever so subtle reddish hue was the only hint that it contained a vegetable.
At any rate, back to the My Favorite Chocolate Cake...
There were some questions about the inclusion of vinegar and as explained in the video it's purpose is to react with the baking soda. Vinegar is and an acid and when mixed with an alkaline or base, in this case baking soda, it causes a chemical reaction that creates carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide bubbles continue to fizz and expand during baking and creating all of those crumby pockets inside the cake. Look carefully the next time you eat a piece of bread or cake; you'll see what I'm talking about. The goal is well-risen poofy cake, so we add the vinegar at the end to conserve as much of the CO2 as possible.
Also a note about baking soda vs. baking powder. This are NOT interchangeable. In a recipe that contains only baking soda there's usually an acid (vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt) to react with it to create a leavening reaction. Baking powder on the other hand, is a combination of baking soda and an acid that just just water to activate. Sometimes recipes call for both leaveners, which I've read is to counteract baking powder's sometime have a bitter, metallic flavor. The alkaline baking soda is used to neutralize the remaining acid found in the baking powder. Whew! Now that we've gotten through the technicalities of chemical leaveners, let's talk chocolate cake.
My Favorite Chocolate Cake
adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook
If you're looking for a no frills chocolate cake, this is your recipe.
It sweet enough to be a cake but not so rich that you regret your
indulgence. It's just right.
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. oil
1 C. cold water or coffee
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. vinegar
1 - 1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (non-dairy if making a vegan cake)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (180 C). Sift together the dry ingredients. Separately mix the wet ingredients except for the vinegar Add liquid ingredient to the dry mix well. Add chocolate chips and vinegar, stir quickly leaving some swirls of bubbling; don't over mix. Pour batter into a greased 9" cake pan or into a muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes for a cake pan, 18-20 minutes for muffins, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.