First off, there is nothing wrong with cake mixes, I use them all the time, but this recipe has become such a go-to for me when I want a chocolate cake. The time it takes for my oven to heat up, I have the batter made and divided up into the pans. Also this goes together so quickly. I still use cake mixes, jacked up a bit, but for chocolate cakes I no longer do, as this recipe goes together just as easily as a mix.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F and make sure your rack is in the middle of your oven.
In the bowl of the stand mixer measure out your cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Give this a whisk to combine everything and make sure everything is distributed evenly.
In a 2 cup measure, fill with 3/4 cup warm water (I just let the tap run for a bit until the water gets warm and then measure this out). Next up, fill with 3/4 cup buttermilk (this will take you up to the 1 1/2 cup measure). Then add in your two eggs, oil and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Using a fork, give this a quick whisk to break up the eggs and get everything mixed together. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have buttermilk, which I almost never do unless I specifically buy it with the intention of making cakes or Muffins, you can use milk or heavy cream, both of which I have used in this recipe and it still turned out perfect!
Place your mixing bowl on your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer onto low (Speed 2) and slowly pour in the liquid ingredients. Once all the liquid is poured in, turn the speed up to medium (5 or 6) and beat until smooth – 3 minutes. Yes, I set the timer.
While the mixer is going, I prepare my two 6″ pans. Spray with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. I use two 6″ by 3″ pans for this recipe.
Once the 3 minutes is up, using a spatula, just ensure everything is evenly combined and there isn’t anything stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Then evenly divide the batter between your two pans (yes, I weigh these out and usually get roughly 570 gr. per pan of batter, which is roughly 1 1/4 lbs. of batter per pan. Give each pan a gentle tap on the counter to release any bubbles trapped inside.
Bake in your pre-heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. At about 45 minutes check to see if the cakes are done (mine take 49 minutes – yes I have timed this out and know exactly how long they take now) by inserting a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs on it, they are done. I try not to test my cakes if I notice any wobbling, as if you test a cake too soon, it could fall in the centre and become very dense.
Remove from the oven once they are done and place the cake pans on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan, then turn the cakes out of the pans (so they do not start to steam and get soggy in the pans) and allow to cool for another 15 to 20 minutes, upright, on the cooling rack. If you are making your cake that day, wrap in a single layer of plastic wrap and place the cakes in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow them to chill, as they will be much easier to work with once they are cold.
If you are like me and bake in advance of your project, I wrap my cake layers in 2 to 3 layers of plastic wrap, and then place in the freezer for up to 2 months. When I need to make a cake, I simply take out the number of cake layers I need from the freezer the night before and allow them to defrost in the fridge overnight. Cake layers freeze amazingly well and defrost perfectly without any loss of taste or texture. In fact, spice and gingerbread cakes actually taste better if they are left in the freezer for at least 2 weeks up to 2 months, as this will allow the spices to develop.
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
(Original recipe is here on Martha Stewart’s website)
Makes 2 – 6″ cake layers
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Measure cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into bot of a mixer. Give this a whisk to combine.
- In a 2 cup measuring cup, measure out your warm water, buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla bean paste. Give this a whisk to combine.
- With mixer on low, pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Turn speed to medium and beat until smooth, 3 minutes.
- Prepare your two 6″ pans, spray with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Divide batter between the two pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes in pan on a cooling rack, turn out from pan and allow to cool a further 15 to 20 minutes faceup.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for up to 2 days. Or alternatively, wrap in 2 to 3 layers of plastic wrap and place in the freezer for up to 2 months.