Wednesday, October 26, 2011

About Chocolate Cake

So this isn't the cake recipe that I shared in 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.


  1. I've also heard about using 7Up or anything carbonated to get it fluffy; haven't tried so I'm not too sure but, I'm guessing it does the same thing with the baking soda and vinegar. Does the cake end up tasting a little vinegar-y?

  2. @GloomGem - Nope:) Only chocolatey goodness; not a whiff of vinegar.

  3. Hi Emmy. I really like your "Watcha Eating" vdo on youtube. :)

  4. I made this and there was a noticeable vinegar scent, even after being fully baked (the toothpick came out clean). I only used two tablespoons of vinegar. What dooooo? Other wise the cake was delicious and airy.

  5. @Ned - Oh really...hmm, I've never had it smell vinegary before; perhaps you've a more a sensitive nose than I? What kind of vinegar did you use? I usually use rice wine b/c that's what I have on hand, but plain white vinegar should be fine too. How about your baking soda? Was it a relatively fresh box? That could be the culprit, perhaps not enough ummph to neutralize the acid. Next time you could also substitute lemon juice for the vinegar, that would eliminate any vinegar-fumes.

  6. Ahhh the baking soda might be the problem, the stuff I used was a couple years old. Thanks for the lemon juice tip!

  7. what kind of coco powder brand did you use because i was gonna make this cake for one of my vegan family members?

  8. I watched the video for this, and they were beyond cute. I love chocolate things and I HATE it when the chocolate comes out too rich and overpowering. From what I heard, this recipe doesn't do that, right? If it doesn't, that's GREAT!

  9. these are in the oven as i type this. the batter was so tasty. i am super excited to eat them! i'll comment again with what i think :D <3

  10. I can't wait to try this recipe. I already have all the ingredients!

  11. Do you think it would work if I put it on a baking sheet? (:

  12. I tried this today and it tasted really good! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  13. may i know what is the function of adding the vinegar inside the recipe.
    and may i substitute the oil with some applesauce?
    applesauce has the same function to keep the cake moist.

  14. Haven't tried this recipe yet. But this looks really interesting that I got to try.

    Haley McAdams
    Bartending Certification

  15. Best vegan cake recipe I have ever tried. Thank you so much! I made this for my boyfriend's birthday!

  16. i really really wanna try this but i'm having lots of troubles converting the cups measurements in gr and ml (i'm italian)... anyone else tried this recipe and converted the ingredients? i'm sure i'm gonna make a mess out of it if i get the quantities wrong :( anyway i love your videos Emmy!

  17. I liked the video and I want to try the cake since the first time I watched it. Today IS the day :P They are cooking nicely in the oven. Pics to come :) Thank you

  18. do you think that almond milk could replace the water?

  19. is vanilla extract really essential for this recipe??