Last Minute Chocolate Cake with Easy Frosting

Sometimes you feel like baking and trying out something new and different. In some ways, it's almost more about the process than the finished product. Other times, you just want a delicious homemade dessert without much effort. Maybe somebody had a bad day or instead there's something to celebrate or you didn't realize your cousins were coming in from out of town because someone forgot to tell you. Or maybe...there's no reason at all and you just NEED what only the goodness of homemade chocolate cake can give you. This cake is for those times.

Besides being rich, delicious and full of amazing chocolate flavor, this cake is easy to bake and frost and requires no sifting of ingredients or softening of butter or bringing eggs to room temperature and you are likely to have all of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry, which means you can make this at a moment's notice. Plus it all gets mixed together in one bowl, which is not only time-saving but really cuts down on the cleanup too!

You start by making a very simple batter of flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and hot water and pouring it into a round cake pan, which means it only takes about 35-40 minutes to bake.

While the cake is baking you can whip up the frosting which sets up in about 45 minutes if you chill it, so if you are at all patient and willing to let the cake cool a bit before you frost it (you can speed things up here too by putting the baked cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes) in a little over an hour you can have yourself one pretty darn good chocolate cake! And they say the days of miracles are a thing of the past!!!

Last Minute Chocolate Cake with Easy Frosting

Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Time for Cake:  10 minutes; Bake Time:  35-40 minutes; Prep Time for Frosting:  10-15 minutes (plus 45 minutes to chill or 2-3 hours, without chilling)


For the Cake

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The Recipe

1.  Adjust a rack in the oven to the lower third and preheat to 350ºF. Butter the sides of an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan (you could also use a square one) and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter and eggs and whisk gently until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is very thick and pasty. Now whisk forcefully for 30-340 strokes. With a rubber spatula, stir in the hot water and vanilla, just until blended. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Turn the batter into the pan, smooth the top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Then if you're really in a hurry, place the pan into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooling completely. Otherwise allow it to cool naturally.

3.  While the cake is baking make the frosting.  Place the butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 4 minutes, stirring often. Pour the hot cream mixture over the butter and chocolate in the bowl and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Now you can either set it aside for 2-3 hours without stirring so the frosting can set up and be thick enough to spread, or you can chill the bowl in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes until cooled and thick enough to spread, again not stirring until ready to use. Check it after 30 minutes and make sure it isn't firming up too much.

4.  Place a wire rack over the top of the cake pan and invert. Remove pan and parchment paper and turn over again. Transfer cooled cake to a serving platter or cake plate. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cooled cake and dig in!

5.  Cake keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or longer refrigerated.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich.





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