HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Simple Dark Chocolate Cake...no icing, no glaze

  • 114
  • Share

I have probably romanticized and embellished, as most childhood memories (food memories in this case) tend to be, my first taste of the best chocolate cake I ever ate.
Middle school picnics, my classmate always brought in a plain chocolate cake that her mom baked...deep dark brown with no icing, glaze, fruits or nuts that marred or masked its appearance or taste. It held well in the 90 plus degree temperatures but left enough sticky chocolate on our fingers to be licked after we had eaten a piece. Cakey not fudgy...not really a sponge cake but not a pound cake either, sweet but not cloyingly so... Bitter sweet chocolatey but without the acidity...all wrapped up in heavenly piece of airy fluffy cake. I could eat it all in one sitting and ask for more, yes it was that good!
Its been 25 years since I have tasted something so simple and yet so so good! I still crave it...every few months and have forever been searching for the right recipe. Please share if you have something similar in your repertoire of recipe books and I promise if I find the 'one' I'll share my secret and most asked for walnut fudge recipe with you :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Lots of your descriptions bring to mind Nigella Lawson's Guiness Chocolate Cake - we never make the frosting, it's that good plain.
    Hope you find what you are looking for, if that one doesn't do the trick.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tacosandbeer

      Thank you for your response T....I have tried that one. It actually comes up every time I google Dark Chocolate Cake or a minor variation of it ...a search which I do atleast once a year..and somehow expecting different results each time, but alas, without much success :)
      Nigella's had a tangy-ness that I didn't really care for...and I really think, though not 100% sure, that my childhood version was made with mix of chocolate bar and cocoa pwdr not all cocoa...and I am way too inexperienced (read coward) to mess with and replace the ingredients in most recipes.

      1. re: Pakistanicook

        Yeah, I understand the 'tangy-ness" thing with that recipe.

        What about Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake? It's got the same hot-liquid technique as Nigella's cake, without the beer or sour cream. Maybe try Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder instead of regular?

    2. I also thought of the Hershey Bar Cake, my Mama used to make. It's a very delicious plain chocolate cake that sticks to your fingers. Also, you might try Beatty's Chocolate Cake that Ina Garten makes. I have made that one as well, but I have not served it without the icing. It is a delicious cake though. Good luck finding that cake experience again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rouxqueen

        Unfortunately Hershey Bar Cake wasn't it .. too sweet (the recipe from Hershey's official website) not my fav brand but despite replacing the brand on second try it was an expensive failure. And I love Ina Garten's Beatty's cake and (but) it does taste best with the icing.
        Thank you though :) I do need good luck

      2. Was it a round or square cake? It's possible it was a Wacky Cake. We made that all the time and never served with frosting. It's very sticky like you describe. Basically a snack cake that you mix in the pan and bake. No eggs or dairy. It may be what you are looking for. Google it, lots of recipes. It's made with cocoa and oil not butter.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Jpan99

          Here's a link with the recipe and a picture so you can see if it looks familiar.

          http://www.grandparents.com/food-and-...

          1. re: Jpan99

            One more variation. This is how we made it, all in the pan. The other recipe I posted mixes in a bowl first. We never did it that way, just put the ingredients in ungreased square pan, mix and bake! Very moist.

            http://bakerette.com/crazy-cake/

            1. re: Jpan99

              It was a round cake. It's funny now that I remember, I have made the wacky cake you mention, not sure if thats what it was called, but I know it was Cooks Illustrated recipe made with Vinegar and oil instead of butter and eggs. The only cake that I never tasted myself as I made it for my then 8 year old's (who has dairy allergies) camping trip. It was a hit I was told but a snob me brushed it aside thinking that kids would love anything with chocolate and sugar :)
              I'll check the links you have posted...thankyou so much. I will give it a try for sure

              1. re: Pakistanicook

                Yes, try it out. Even if it's not what you're looking for, I think you will like it. We always made it when I was a kid and I still crave it as you describe. I went to check my recipe and it's basically the same as the ones above except we used 1/4 cup cocoa instead of 3 tablespoons and 6 tablespoons of oil. Otherwise, the rest is the same. Hmmm... I may have to make one now as well!

                1. re: Jpan99

                  I do like the Grandparents.com recipe...especially as one of the comments had a suggestion to use melted butter instead of oil. I usually have tough time with the idea of a cake without butter and eggs. But along with additions you have here, I am very tempted to bake it soon. Will let you know how it turns out.

                  1. re: Pakistanicook

                    I would suggest not using butter. If this does turn out to be the cake you are thinking of, you will never know if you use butter. It will not taste the same. Please try the recipe as is first, then experiment later. It really is delicious, honest! Yes, it's different from a regular cake texture but it's airy and chocolatey and yummy as is. I have a good feeling it's what you are looking for.

                    1. re: Jpan99

                      You are right. I will try it as is and experiment, if at all, the second time. Thank you :) I needed to hear that, what with my usual lack of any patience in this case.

            2. Maybe I need to search for a sponge cake that uses melted chocolate? Or a pound cake thats tweaked with a good quality chocolate? Maybe my palate has changed. I just wish someone who has tried, tested and tasted something similar will be kind enough to share their best version of it....just a plain dark chocolate cake

              6 Replies
              1. re: Pakistanicook

                You might try the Hershey black magic cake - it's dark and chocolatey but with a fluffy, light crumb. Similar recipe to the perfectly chocolate cake you already tried, but with coffee and buttermilk to cut the sweetness. It goes well with frosting but it's definitely good plain. It's also an easy, "vintage" recipe, which might make it a likely contender for a childhood favorite.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  The OP mentioned above having made Ina Garten's Beatty's chocolate cake, however, and that's just an exact copy of the Black Magic recipe.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Yes the Black Magic Cake and Beatty's Chocolate cake are same.

                    1. re: Pakistanicook

                      Oops, missed that - sorry!

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    I am glad you brought up the 'vintage' bit ...considering where I grew up was once a British Colony and this was pre Internet times..the cookbooks available then were mostly British and Australian...
                    most baking that I saw my mom and aunts do involved lot of creaming butter/margarine and sugar, beating up eggs (together and sometimes separated) what then seemed like forever. I perhaps should look in UK websites as well

                  3. re: Pakistanicook

                    Texas Sheet Cake is a plain cake but your description of 'left enough sticky chocolate on our fingers to be licked after we had eaten a piece' sounds even better!
                    I hope someone has your cake recipe to share with us.

                    http://thisishowicook.blogspot.com/20...

                    http://reluctantentertainer.com/2013/...

                    http://www.texascooking.com/features/...

                  4. http://tinyurl.com/mfw6dcc Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

                    This looks like it might fit the bill.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Oh this one does look great in the picture! It seems the right height and the same dark chocolate colour :) and I am fascinated with the boiling hot water part..I bet it helps bloom the cocoa and makes the cake more chocolate-y instead of ashy.
                      Thank you, I will definitely give this a try

                      1. re: Pakistanicook

                        Well, let us know how it is, OK? Wasn't sure if you could get Hershey's but I'll be the cake is good.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Will do. Hershey's is not exactly one of my fav brands but I am sure a replacement won't hurt the results. :) And I have been in States for last 16 years

                    2. My favorite chocolate cake is a buttermilk chocolate cake from the Laurie Colwin Home cooking books. 1 and 1/2 cups flour (she had it at 1 and 3/4 but less flour is better) to 3/4 cup cocoa.

                      Is is fluffy, deeply flavored, not too sweet and - divine. Feels like a very adult version of the old Hostess Cupcake, if that helps.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: happybaker

                        http://labellecuisine.com/archives/Ch...

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          I do love her descriptions- a kindred soul
                          The Buttermilk Cake seems similar to Wacky Cake with vinegar replaced but I will try it

                          Haven't decided yet but today I am going to make either the Wacky/Crazy Cake or Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake..I have the ingredients for both. Will post results

                          Merci beaucoup mes amis! :) very very much

                          1. re: Cynsa

                            Thanks for the link Cynsa!

                            FYI, for the buttermilk chocolate cake - cut the flour down to 1 and a half cups, not 1 and 3/4, it really makes a difference.

                            And I think that cake is actually pretty different from the wacky cake. The buttermilk makes the cake so moist and tender and, it uses 3/4 of a cup cocoa. The wacky cake recipe I had as a kid uses 1/4 or 1/3 cup. Perfect for kids, much gentler. As an adult, I prefer more chocolate : )

                            1. re: happybaker

                              HB, I'm going to try this cake today. Will it work in a square pan? 9x9 or 8x8?

                              I've gone through every one of these choc. cake recipes and decided to start with this one--particularly since I have a lot of buttermilk powder and no reason to use it.

                              1. re: Thanks4Food

                                Area-wise, a 9-inch round and an 8x8 square are pretty much equivalent, so an 8x8x2 square should work fine.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  I went ahead with a 9x9 but it may have overbaked. I've got it cooling now. I'll wait till tomorrow to decide whether it's a failure...

                                  I'll make a note on the recipe to use an 8x8 next time--thanks!

                                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                                    A 9x9 is almost a third larger in area than an 8x8, so they are far from equivalent. There's a big difference between 9" round and 9" square.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      Yes, I blew it on that one--it was dry, dry, dry.

                                    2. re: Thanks4Food

                                      http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

                                      i find this very helpful when wanting/needing to switch pan shapes/sizes.

                          2. This is my perfect chocolate cake, very much as you describe in your original post. Don't let the oil and vinegar turn you off. The oil actually results in an incredibly moist, tender cake that stays moist for days.

                            8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
                            3 c. flour
                            1 ½ c. sugar
                            2 t baking soda
                            1 t. salt
                            2 c. water (I often use a cup of coffee in place of half the water)
                            2/3 c. vegetable oil
                            2 T. white vinegar
                            2 t. vanilla extract

                            Preheat oven to 350.

                            Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring once or twice during heating. Cool slightly. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans (be sure to grease the pans very well – the cake is so moist that it can be difficult to turn out – I use parchment rounds at the bottom). Stir together dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost, or not, as desired.

                            Note that this cake actually tastes better on day 2. Richer and moister.

                            39 Replies
                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              Real chocolate bar instead of cocoa powder!! I definitely see light at the end of the tunnel :D
                              You think I can make it in a deeper brownie pan 13x9 instead of two 9" round ones? Will I have to adjust baking time?

                              1. re: Pakistanicook

                                No problem on using a 9x13 pan. I would still test the cake at 30 minutes. May need a few more minutes, but not a whole lot.

                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                The recipe you so generously shared. ..just out of the oven :) great rise and the colour...so far I am super excited for this one but I AM going to wait till tomorrow to taste it

                                 
                                 
                                1. re: Pakistanicook

                                  Can't wait to hear the report back, good or bad! :o)

                                  1. re: Pakistanicook

                                    So how did this cake turn out for you? It's ok if you didn't like it, really! I'm just curious how others find it.

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      I can't begin to apologize for my rudeness, do forgive me :) ..my family is visiting and it's been crazy at my end but I thought of updating you every day, just never got around to it.
                                      This cake was closest to the one I wanted..it was soft fluffy and def cakey, out of world with ganache and whipped creami served it with..on its own I just felt it needed more chocolate, maybe bitter chocolate or just more of it . I am bit scared to experiment since I don't want to change or compromise anything else in it...does it make sense? I am in the midst of chaos here and can't hear myself think at the moment :)

                                      1. re: Pakistanicook

                                        Aw, thanks for replying in the midst of family chaos!

                                        I always make the cake with a rich chocolate frosting, so I can see it being not quite chocolatey enough on its own. I totally think you can experiment with it. Try it with a darker chocolate and maybe use all coffee instead of water. If that doesn't work, then definitely try more chocolate -- I figure a failed cake is just an excuse for trifle or ice cream topping. :)

                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                          This recipe looks forgiving enough to tinker with - for a deeper chocolate flavor, I would try all coffee and a darker chocolate to start (maybe a 72% instead of semi-sweet), and if that's not enough, sub 1/4 c. of cocoa powder for 1/4 c. of the flour (or more if that doesn't do the trick).

                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                            Yes...it's a perfect 'canvas',if I may use that term for, for a rich chocolate ganache frosting ..airy and moist enough not to require a syrup or liquor soak as in say the Black Forest cake ...

                                            Other thing that I would change, if possible is the use of baking soda. Call me picky, fussy, sensitive..pick one or all ;) but I definitely taste it in the cake.
                                            I am going to make changes in this one ...use 70% cocoa chocolate bar and maybe half the recipe (doable you think? Without adjusting some ingredients?) but I did find Nigella Lawson's recipe for Chocolate Loaf Cake ..it uses eggs, butter,chocolate and cocoa...I will post the link when I get a chance and let me know what you guys think of it. It's described as Duffy but I figured if I beat the eggs before adding it might be more lighter and cakey the way I like my cakes :)
                                            Did I say Thank you enough to you and everyone else who has pitched in with their response and ideas? :) Thank you so much

                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                              Ugh ..my response back was meant for you as well as others TorontoJo..I am not sure which window I typed it all on

                                              And Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Loaf Cake is meant to be 'Fudgy' not 'Duffy' as it autocorrected itself while I was too busy typing to check :)

                                            2. re: Pakistanicook

                                              If you want to make it more chocolatey, you can also replace part of the flour w/ cocoa. It has less gluten so it'll make a slightly fluffier cake. If you don't want that, use some brown sugar or add a little more liquid. I'd probably go w/ as much as 1/4 cup like biondanonima but if you're not adventurous, try 2-3 tablespoons to start. Proportion-wise a little more like this, which is a rich chocolatey cake.

                                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                              TorontoJo, are there eggs in your cake? I'm not seeing it in the list of ingredients.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Nope, it's eggless. It's actually vegan, assuming you use chocolate with no milk products in it. It's such a simple cake, but I love it. A whipped ganache frosting makes it perfect (and no longer vegan, obviously).

                                                BTW, I've made that Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Epicurious before and while it's delicious, I still prefer mine. Mine is less rich and intense, but just the right amount of chocolate-y for me and not as dense.

                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                  It's like wacky cake, now that I look at it more closely. I've been following this thread kind of haphazardly and can't remember what's been discussed anymore!

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    It's definitely similar to wacky cake, but uses chocolate rather than cocoa. I may have actually gotten this off the back of a Baker's Chocolate box back in my high school years (which were quite some years ago!).

                                            3. re: TorontoJo

                                              http://food52.com/blog/5226-nigella-l...

                                              :/ just noticed that this one uses baking soda as well...I have seen few cake recipes that use both baking powder and baking soda..ratio of 2:1 ..wonder if I can do the same

                                              1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                In general, you would use 3 times the quantity of baking powder to replace the baking soda in a recipe. So for this recipe, you'd use 6 tsp of baking powder, which may result in a very acidic tasting cake. And you would probably leave out the vinegar, since the vinegar is there specifically to react with the baking soda, whereas the baking powder already has the acid needed for the chemical reaction. And I would leave out or reduce the salt in the recipe, as the baking powder will have quite a bit.

                                                If you try a 2:1 ratio (let's say 2 tsp powder and 1 tsp soda), you may end up with a slightly denser cake.

                                                But the main thing to know is that baking powder actually consists of baking soda mixed with an acidic ingredient and a starch. So when you sub at the normal rate (3X the amount), you're actually ending up with pretty much the exact same amount of baking soda in the cake.

                                                Just some food for thought! Have fun experimenting, some of the most rewarding dishes develop that way.

                                                Oh, and also, I think you can cut this recipe in half with no problem. If you look at the wacky cake recipe again, you'll see that it's basically half of this recipe, just with a bit more sugar.

                                                1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                  I don't think you're going to get the type of cake you want from the Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe, even if you beat the eggs first.

                                                  I think tweaking "my" (not really mine) recipe or the wacky cake recipe is the way to go. Using darker chocolate, all coffee and swapping out a few Tbs of flour for cocoa as suggested above would be my choice for your next attempt at reaching your cake nirvana. :o)

                                                  I think the biggest risk would be around your baking powder/baking soda sub. But it's totally worth a shot in my books.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                    You are right..I did read up on the science of baking powder and soda ..one of the ladies had posted a link here

                                                    I have a feeling the bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee may just do the trick. Ill try it next week..:) lots of cake leftover from your recipe still that I am going to use up, very nicely too, in a trifle till then.

                                                    Will keep you posted

                                                    1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                      BTW, cake freezes beautifully, so you could always make a full recipe, and freeze half for the next time you have a cake craving. ;)

                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                        Oh half of it is already in the freezer..my son has milk allergies, his dad celiac (gluten intolerance) ..that cake is going nowhere else but to my hips and show up eventually on scale ;) why I need week(s) in between next cake venture/experiment

                                                        1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                          But no milk in this cake, so ok for your son?

                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                            He refused to try :/ picky eater and no sweet tooth which makes me wonder if there was a mix up at the hospital ;)

                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                              TorontoJo ..wanted to tell you that I just cut a piece of cake for me and my friend..3rd day and it's like 10 times better already!! She loved it and so did I..I think for next try I am just going to replace semi sweet with bitter sweet chocolate and increase the amount by an ounce or two maybe ...this could be it!!! :D so excited

                                                              1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                Oh nice. It really does get moister and richer over a few days. I once made the mistake of serving it the day I made it and I was SO disappointed.

                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                  That's exactly how I felt on the day I baked it! But today when I unwrapped it from plastic wrap it had kept the height but more importantly it had changed the colour too..it was darker, almost black and definitely moister ..the best part : barely any taste if baking soda that I found so unpalatable on the first day. Amazing!

                                                                  1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                    Yeah, I don't really get it, but it works for me. The best part is that if I'm making it for a party, I can make it a day or two in advance and know that it will be at its peak texture the day of.

                                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                      I took the cake at our Book Group dinner at a restaurant :) they were nice enough to bring us serving plates for it too. Over the first piece the girls pitched in with suggestion as to what's missing and what could make it even better: cream cheese, berries, whipped cream, ice cream..but by the second piece they voted my cake as the best among other desserts we ordered ..peach cobbler ( my fav) and blue berry cheesecake. No leftovers! They are already excited about next month when I told them ill bring another one with few additions provided I don't make any changes to the texture of this one :)

                                                                      1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                        I might as well share the frosting that I usually make with this. It's just chocolatey enough to make the cake sing, but not so over-the-top rich that you can't eat a big slice. I think that's why I love this cake so muck -- it satisfies my chocolate cake craving without sending me into a dark chocolate coma. I find chocolate desserts at restaurants are simply too intensely chocolate and too rich. Two bites and I'm done. I like that I can eat big slices of this cake. :)

                                                                        Whipped Chocolate Frosting

                                                                        8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
                                                                        ½ c. whipping cream
                                                                        1 t. vanilla extract
                                                                        2 c. powdered sugar
                                                                        ½ c. butter or margarine, softened

                                                                        Place chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl*. Heat in microwave on high (usually 60 - 90 seconds) until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth when stirred (the chocolate will look like it’s not mixing in with the cream, then as you keep stirring, it will suddenly blend). Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled**. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Gradually add chocolate mixture, beating until all the chocolate is incorporated and the frosting is stiff enough to frost with. Frost immediately.

                                                                        *Or you can melt over a double boiler. I just find the microwave easier and faster.

                                                                        **Depending on how hard you chilled the ganache, this may mean chipping chunks out of the bowl. If you want it easier to work with, remove from fridge before the ganache hardens.

                                                                        The frosted cake is best stored and served at room temperature.

                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                          Oh, and I should add a recent discovery I made was this absolutely addictive salted caramel ganache:

                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                          I skipped the rest of the recipe and just used the ganache on my chocolate cake. It's amazing. The recipe needs to be tweaked, though, to either increase the chocolate or decrease the liquid, as the ganache was too liquid to handle well -- though once chilled (and still quite liquid), it did whip up into a beautiful frosting.

                                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                            Oh this one looks nice! I love love caramel

                                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                                TJ, do you bake at 350? I've got it in the oven right now--and will wait 2 days to try it.

                                                Made the Texas sheet cake yesterday for some friends--wow, was that sweet! This seems like a more grown up cake. :-)

                                                1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                  Yes, 350! My apologies for not including that in the recipe. Doh!

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                    Thanks! I hope I did all right: I followed some advice I read online and wrapped the still-warm cake (9x13) in plastic wrap. I've never done that before. I will resist touching it till tomorrow.

                                                    Have you ever tried this in a bundt pan? Since I don't care for frosting, I find the bundt cake gives me an excuse not to frost--because you don't want to ruin that nice shape. As a 9x13, it didn't come out very attractive and looks like it needs something. But I do have ice cream and nectarines to serve on top.

                                                    1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                      I would let it cool before wrapping, as I would worry about too much moister from the steam.

                                                      I haven't tried in a bundt pan, but it should work out fine. I've always made it in 9" round pans as a layer cake.

                                                      Hope it turns out well for you!

                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                        That's what I thought--about the steam--but several websites mentioned it so I went with it. I figure it's too late to do anything now, so I'll wait to unwrap it. (My problem was-and is--timing. For some reason I felt like making the cake at 10pm and didn't know what to do with the warm cake--leave it uncovered over night or what.)

                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                          For anyone who wants to make this in a bundt pan, it took 42 minutes to bake completely. Didn't rise very high, so I may possibly have been able to make it in one of my more decorative bundt pans (like the Cathedral pan). Turned out of the pan beautifully using Baker's Joy.

                                                          Oh, and just to be lazy and only use one bowl: I nuked the chocolate in the plastic bowl of my Bosch Compact Mixer, then added the dry ingredients and wet ingredients and mixed on medium. Worked great!

                                                          Thanks, again, TorontoJo!

                                                  2. re: TorontoJo

                                                    TorontoJo, it's 48 hours after baking and the cake is delicious! Doesn't need frosting/glaze at all, but a little chocolate drizzle could bump it up to awesome. I'm definitely going to try it as a bundt cake next time.

                                                    And since I made such a mess adding the melted chocolate into the dry ingredients, I think next time I'll melt the chocolate, add the wet ingredients to it and then the dry.

                                                    Thanks again! Can't wait to make this for a vegan friend--he probably won't believe I'm not cheating.

                                                    1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                      Yay, glad you liked it! I usually dump the water and the oil to the dry ingredients before adding the chocolate. It doesn't seem as weird that way. But it all blends nicely in the mixer regardless. I love that it's basically a dump cake, with the exception of having to melt the chocolate. A cake mix isn't much less trouble than this recipe.

                                                      It's a great cake -- vegan is just a major bonus!

                                                    2. re: TorontoJo

                                                      This is outstanding! Thanks so much. I tend to think I can't bake a good cake, but am changing my mind. I've made this for--

                                                      --my sweetheart who really prefers chocolate cake to brownies but is nice enough not to press the issue with the pastry (hah!) chef (hah!)
                                                      --vegan neighbors for whom I had no idea what to bake when the occasion arose
                                                      --dinner party hosts who love chocolate and desserts and don't bake

                                                      All of them, and I, love it.

                                                    3. The timing of this is perfect. Recently, I was thinking about snack cakes that we used to make when I was younger. They were simple cakes baked in single layer pans, no frosting. They were slightly denser than regular cakes and perfect w/out frosting.

                                                      We liked this one (but I used coffee instead of water):

                                                      http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/ch...

                                                      And this one was excellent:

                                                      http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/co...

                                                      It says coffee cocoa but you don't taste the coffee. It gives the cake a nice richness.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Love the looks and sound of fine cooking recipe for coffee cocoa cake. It has just about the right rise and airiness to it.

                                                        I am furiously bookmarking, copy n pasting away all these wonderful suggestions. One of those days on CHOW where I don't know where, when and how the last couple of hours flew by!

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          My great-grandmother's chocolate cake recipe is between these two, more cocoa than the first and the amount of butter between the two recipes.

                                                          This is what I remember as a frosting-less snack cake. I've eaten it for breakfast. :)

                                                        2. Has any one tried this one before?

                                                          https://www.yummly.com/recipe/externa...

                                                          It's from smitten kitchen, a recipe for homemade hostess cake..I picked out the link from one of the discussion boards on birthday cakes here

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                            Yes, it's the same as Epicurious's chocolate layer cake which has gotten rave reviews here :

                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                            When you come down to it, it's really just Ina's Beatty cake/Hershey black magic cake but 1 1/2 times the recipe, plus the addition of melted chocolate in water. It makes a lot of cake!

                                                          2. Just an update ladies...The Wacky/Crazy cake didn't do it for me. The first I made was quiet a disaster mostly due to my incompetence and impatience (I didnt mix and bake in the same bowl, added coffee instead of just water and horror of it is that it was hot too). The second time I followed the recipe to T but it lacked the moistness and chocolate-ness (??) that I believe can only come with the actual bar not cocoa or combination of two. :(
                                                            I am going to attempt the cocoa coffee snack cake from fine living this week. Fingers crossed :)

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                              Sorry to hear Wacky cake wasn't what you were looking for. Surprised you didn't think it was moist. It's usually so moist it leaves a film on the bottom of the ban and all over your fingers when you pick it up.

                                                              Good luck with your cake journey!

                                                              1. re: Jpan99

                                                                Jpan, So it's SUPPOSED to be that way? I had a post a couple years ago about making the wacky cake and not being happy with the way it left a layer at the bottom of the pan. I had asked if that was how it was supposed be and a certain poster (who seems to stalk my posts to make negative comments) gave me a hard time about my not using bamboo skewers to test it. Told him that the toothpick tested showed it was done.

                                                                The people I made it for loved it: I just wasn't sure that it was supposed to be that moist. I feel somewhat vindicated now. ;-)

                                                                1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                  Absolutely! When you make it in the pan it's ungreased when you put the ingredients in so there is no layer of grease to protect the pan, just the oil in the recipe. If you wanted to make a layer cake I would mix everything in a bowl instead of in the pan and line the pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

                                                                  As a kid, my favorite part was running my finger along the bottom of the pan after cutting a slice. Scraping up all the chocolatey goodness and eating it. Heck, I still do that today whenever I make it and I ain't no kid any more!

                                                                  1. re: Jpan99

                                                                    The Cooks Illustrated recipe said to grease the pan (no parchment), then mix it all together in the pre greased pan and immediately place it in the oven to bake...there was no residual layer at the bottom. I definitely do prefer the recipe TorontoJo posted here which is same as wacky cake except it uses semi sweet chocolate bar instead of cocoa powder

                                                                    1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                      I'm going to try it!

                                                                      My vegan friend loved the wacky cake, but I was embarrassed in serving it to see how much was sticking to the pan and to the cake server. When no one was looking, I scooped it up and ate it to hide the evidence. ;-)

                                                                      1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                        Haha..I would have done the same ;) for us type As, presentation is oh so important

                                                                        1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                          It really was never meant to be elegant. It's always been a serve-in-the-pan snack cake. You may remember in the 70s and 80s they had boxed snack cake mixes, some for the microwave. The point is it's easy, fast and a snack cake, not a fancy dessert. However, since it's egg and dairy free it suits those diet restrictions so turning it into a fancy layer cake is understandable.

                                                                          1. re: Jpan99

                                                                            It was my job as a teenager to make the "Snack-n-Cake" or whatever other packaged dessert--like Jello 1-2-3--for the family dinner.

                                                                            There was a competitor to Snack-n-Cake, but I can't remember what it was. I made them all. :-)

                                                                2. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                  if the cake wasn't moist, i wonder if you over-baked it?

                                                                  that wacky-cake is a go-to for me since it's vegan and takes less than 5 minutes to assemble. i do add some instant espresso powder to it.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    I may have over baked it..could be just my oven, though I did take it out few mins earlier than the time given..just to be safe. But I did feel that I should have taken it out even earlier than that.

                                                                    I do have a question: Do you guys find a difference in taste and aroma when using just baking soda instead of baking powder or the combination of two?.. this being the first time where I baked two cakes that only used baking soda, there was a distinctive aroma that I didn't care for much.
                                                                    Or is it just me?

                                                                    1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                      http://chemistry.about.com/cs/foodche...

                                                                      my sniffer is pretty sensitive and i have never found the aroma off-putting.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        Fascinating! Thank you for the link
                                                                        It's probably just me :)

                                                                        1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                          could just be "different" for you. :)

                                                                3. Ah that does sound good. That's actually the reason why I'm not a big cake guy is because I don't like all the "extras" like the frosting or toppings. Much too sweet for me.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: SteveM923

                                                                    :D my sentiments exactly!! Sometimes you just want to cut a slice and eat without using a fork or a spoon too ..no mess and no compromising the taste either

                                                                  2. I know this is heresy, but could it have been a devils food cake from a mix?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                      I was thinking that too! If it was the 60s or 70s a lot of people used mixes. Wouldn't that be funny if it were Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake mix!

                                                                      1. re: Jpan99

                                                                        It was just opposite in our neck of the world...no cake mixes available, it's unfortunately changed now, much as they are handy to have when short on time..but then (late 80s n 90s) everybody cooked and baked from scratch

                                                                    2. I just made a guiness chocolate cake and it was delicious. I used the recipe from epicurious without the icing. I love it because it is not too sweet...a must try.

                                                                      1. Try The Joy of Cooking's Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne. It is my go to yummy chocolate cake.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: _nemo_

                                                                          Is this the recipe? I've never tried a cake w/ this technique--worth giving a try. Apparently, there are a few versions of the Joy of Cooking devil's food cake cockaigne.

                                                                          http://kathyredmonsblog.blogspot.com/...

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            I'll check my book tonight, but it looks like it.

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              Yes, that is the recipe

                                                                              1. re: _nemo_

                                                                                That's going to be the next cake I make. It looks great. Thanks!

                                                                          2. If you happen to have Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess, she has a great chocolate loaf cake that's fantastic even without icing or any other embellishment, sounds a lot like your memory....

                                                                            ETA: I'm not sure if its the same recipe as the post below me identified, the one I'm talking about didn't have beer in it.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                              Have you tried it ePC? Is it too fudgy or more cake like? I have the recipe printed out and very tempted to attempt it myself..it has all the right ingredients to make an excellent cake

                                                                              1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                                Yes, I've made it. I liked it a lot. Quite a lot, in fact, would make it again in a heartbeat. (Though I must admit I cheated and used regular supermarket milk chocolate because that's all I had, it probably would have been even better with dark chocolate it was intended to use, and even so, it was pretty awesome.)

                                                                                Its far more like cake than fudge. If you know much about baking, and look at her instructions, you'll note that they're designed to add lift and air to the batter. Its dense, but not like fudge or even brownies. The creaming of the butter and sugar, adding eggs one at a time and beating, etc. all designed to add air to the batter. Even so, it had a really delicate, fine texture that was noticeable and that I really liked. I also liked that the crust had a little bit of a sugar caramelization crunch to it, but that may have been due to the fact I used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, and thus I had more sugar in the batter, so I can't say whether that would replicate for others using dark chocolate.

                                                                                I also don't remember a tangy taste, either.

                                                                                I recommend you try it. For some reason, I can't find my cookbook at the moment, but I remember there was a chocolate sauce/glaze/coating of some sort with it, but I didn't even bother, it was really good on its own.

                                                                                1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                                  OK, I found my cookbook. It opened right up to the recipe. Its the "dense chocolate loaf cake" on p. 166.

                                                                                  There are some adapted recipes out there, this is the closest to what's in the book:

                                                                                  http://food52.com/recipes/20091-nigel...

                                                                                  1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                    Yes that's the one I have printed out too. Thank you for your detailed comment, I really wanted to hear what your take on it was/is. I am definitely trying it out. Will post my update soon

                                                                                    1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                      My attempt at Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Loaf Cake :) ...with few tweaks. Letting it rest overnight, will let you all know how it turns out! It looks great and surprisingly hasn't sunk in the center as mentioned in the footnotes...
                                                                                      Ill say one thing for sure..the raw batter was to die for! It tasted like a dark chocolate mousse..the French kind ;) raw eggs, whipped egg whites version. High hopes!!

                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                      1. re: Pakistanicook

                                                                                        That's remarkable restraint on your part, leaving a chocolate cake untouched overnight. I don't think I could exercise such self denial. ;D

                                                                                        Looking forward to hearing how you like it!

                                                                                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                          I pigged out on the batter a bit...so no sainthood in my near future! Never realized it before but a chocolate cake really DOES improve the next day...10 fold, so hopefully my patience will be well rewarded.
                                                                                          A friend, also my taste tester, is dropping by after lunch for the cake and some red wine..and she is fussy with her desserts. I'll share both our take on it :)

                                                                                          1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                            So my friend just left ..she loved the cake, I thought it was ok. It wasnt moist and chocolat-ey enough for me. And this is despite using 6 oz instead of 4 oz of 70% cocoa chocolate bar. I did take it out of the oven 2 or 3 minutes earlier than the recipe called for ....but should have done even sooner. Could be my oven for sure ..but 5 to 7 minutes sooner and maybe it wouldn't have been so dry. The recipe posted by TorontoJo for wacky cake (with dark chocolate, vinegar and oil) had the lightness, moistness deep colour that was closest to what I had years ago.

                                                                                            I will be very interested to hear your take on that one..as in if you try making that one and compare it to Nigella's loaf cake.

                                                                                            That said I haven't given up on this cake..I will try it again and maybe tweak a bit more or perhaps just follow it to T and see how it fares. Thank you again so much for sharing the recipe..:)

                                                                                  2. Hello guys....I know its been ages since I got on this site but wanted to thank you all for your wonderful recipes by sharing one of my fav dessert; walnut fudge (or 'mithai' as we call in Pakistan/India)
                                                                                    its pretty simple and a forgiving recipe made on stove stop but downright addictive once you taste it.

                                                                                    2 cups full fat milk powder
                                                                                    1.5 to 2 cups walnuts halves (or one further chopped)
                                                                                    1/2 to 3/4 cup of unsalted butter or clarified butter
                                                                                    4 eggs lightly whipped
                                                                                    1 regular size can of condensed milk
                                                                                    1/2 tsp cardamom powder (optional, I frankly dont care for it much so I omit it)

                                                                                    Grease a small cookie sheet/tray with sides/ shallow pyrex pan with some butter and put it aside.
                                                                                    Take a deep frying pan and put it on medium heat. Add butter. Once the butter has melted but not over heated, add milk powder. Stir till its toasted and golden brown, it will be grainy and a dry mixture. While still on the medium heat, add the 4 eggs to the milk powder-butter mix. Stir for few mins till its well incorporated. Then add the the can of condensed milk. Keep string it till the most of the liquid has evaporated, the mixture will start pulling away from the sides of the pan and will start sticking to the spatula/spoon used for stirring (some of the butter will also seep out around the edges). Finally put in the walnuts. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
                                                                                    Transfer the finished fudge on the greased cookie sheet. Press and smooth out the top. Let it cool for 15 to 20 mins and then slice it in bite size.
                                                                                    It stays in fridge for weeks and definitely few days covered in room temperature. Enjoy...

                                                                                    I am adding a link to a youtube video for this recipe as well. Though the language is Urdu (Pakistani) but the visuals along with the recipe here will help for sure. If you do feel adventurous enough to giving it a try, do let me know how it turns out. and of course you can ask me any questions if I wasn't clear about certain steps. xoxo

                                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlnGNx...