Once a month, I take a vintage recipe from an old cookbook and share it with a fantastic and growing group of recipe swappers. We each take time to reinterpret it and post our results the first Sunday of every month.
This month's recipe was "Busy Day Wacky Cake", a version of a Depression cake, created when recipe workarounds surfaced in absence of essential pantry ingredients like milk and baking powder. I loved the efficiency of mixing and baking a cake in the same pan, so for my adaptation I hung on to that. Then, in a fitting nod to the soul of this recipe, I couldn't find my baking dish from my move between apartments last week, so out of necessity, this cake was baked in a 9" All-Clad skillet. At that point, I took the "simplicity" message and left the finished cake unglazed, garnishing only with raspberries and vanilla ice cream. This stripped-down dessert pushed individual ingredients like espresso powder and fresh raspberries into the spotlight; a combination that is bright and tangy yet earthy. Lesson learned; simpler is better.
Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Mocha Cake
Burwell General Store
Equipment: one 9" oven-safe skillet, or 9" or 10" baking round, sifter, whisk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur organic)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp 1/2 and 1/2 cream
Things To Melt Together
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ounce dark chocolate, in the range of 82%
Pre-heat oven to 375F.
Sift all dries into an ungreased oven-safe skillet or 9" or 10" round baking dish.
In a microwave-safe mug, add chocolate and butter and heat about 40 seconds on high, or until melted. Stir to combine.
Into the baking dish, add water, cream, vanilla and egg, mix slightly to break up the egg.
Add melted chocolate and butter to the baking dish, and with a whisk, gently mix together until the flour is incorporated. Whisk together vigorously for a minute afterwards.
Scrape down the sides of the baking dish with a spatula and wipe with a dampened paper towel to leave a clean edge.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely. With a silicone spatula, carefully unmold the cake from the sides of the pan, then invert the cake onto your hand and work loose by moving your supporting hand (and the cake) back and forth. Once you feel the cake come loose, right it, put a plate on top and invert onto the plate. It will be upside down, so using a second plate, right it again.
Serve in pie-shaped slices with vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries on the side.
This is possibly the easiest cake I have ever made. It has a rustic texture that harkens pre-cake mix days, but when I'm not making a cake of a specific technique such as a chiffon, this will become my go-to technique. Reduce your cooking time if you use a 10" cake round. Be sure to let the cake cool completely before unmolding. The not-too-sweet flavor combination of raspberry and espresso is divine; this would be great served with a latte.
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