What’s the connection between a little black dress, a good pair of blue jeans and a chocolate cake recipe? Like the importance of a good pair of jeans or a little black dress (okay, may be not) in the wardrobe, everyone needs a good, reliable chocolate cake recipe in their cooking repertoire.
A chocolate cake that is soft and springy, with nothing fancy-schmancy about it, something that tastes good just as it is with a cup of coffee or tea – that’s the kind I’m talking about. While I have complete respect for the creativity and patience of bakers who make these epic cakes that look like masterpieces, I must confess that my love for all things simple minimalistic extends to cake.
Serve me a simple, no-frills cake and I’m a happy girl. Just one small confession here- I HATE cakes that reek of baking powder. That’s the one thing that completely murders a cake for me.
I often love to add carrots, beets, zucchini, pumpkin, lots of citrus zest to my cakes to give them body, flavour and colour. But sometimes I stick to a plain vanilla or chocolate cake.
Of course, you always have the option of adding walnuts, cherries, roasted almonds into this batter, dressing it up with fresh cream and berries or splitting it in half and turning this into a black forest kinda cake. This recipe has a lot of potential.
But if you are like me, or simply a new baking enthusiast, a slice of this cake as a treat in your kid’s lunchbox or in a hamper for your friends will make them a happy camper.
I’ve made this cake entirely with powdered jaggery, which is simply jaggery sold in powdered form. If you get big chunks of jaggery, run it in a food processor / mixer to powder and then weigh it for the recipe. If you don’t have access to jaggery, feel free to use caster sugar.
Jaggery gives this a deeper colour and of course there is the advantage of using an ingredient in a less refined form. I’ve used this recipe quite a few times and the result is an absolutely soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake AND it doesn’t reek of baking powder.
I’ve adapted from a recipe I found in BBC Food, halved it, because I didn’t want a two layer cake. It’s usually better to weigh out ingredients like flour, sugar etc. because it gives a more accurate quantity than measuring out using cups which have a wider margin of error.
In case you don’t have kitchen scales, then by all means use the metric measurement I have given alongside the weights. It is completely a beginner friendly cake as it uses oil, no creaming of butter required. It’s a one bowl cake so no washing up of too many pots and pans.
You don’t need any fancy electric beaters or stand mixers. A wooden spoon will do. So I hope you are sold out on this recipe!
Easy chocolate cake
Makes one 8″ round cake
Less than 45 minutes (just the cake minus ganache / any decorations)
Easy recipe for a simple, all-purpose chocolate cake
- 112 g plain flour (maida) (~1 cup minus 1 tbsp)
- 150 g jaggery powdered (~3/4 cup)
- 42 g cocoa powder (~1/2 cup)
- 3/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg
- 125 ml milk (~1/2 cup)
- 60 ml vegetable oil (~1/4 cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 125 ml water boiling (may not need all of this).
- Preheat the oven at 180C.
- Grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8" round cake tin with aluminium foil or parchment paper.
- Weigh out all the ingredients or measure them out and add everything to a large bowl except the boiling water. Mix with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes, until well combined.
- Add the boiling water to this mixture little by little with repeated stirring. The batter will get considerably thin. If you find it getting too watery, then no need to add all of the water.
- Scrape this batter into the greased and lined cake tin. Push some of the batter from the center to the sides so that it is a little indented in the center. This will ensure your cake rises uniformly and not doming up in the center.
- Place in the center rack of the oven and bake for around 25-35 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the tin out and insert a skewer / dry spaghetti into the cake to see if it comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cake is thoroughly baked.
- Remove from oven, cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the tin carefully and cool on a wire rack thoroughly before slicing.