Monday, October 23, 2017

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

I'm not really a fan of cake -- except my grandmother's pound cake. Every year I make the same chocolate layer cake with raspberry jam between the layers for John's birthday and am always kinda disappointed in it. Too blah, too ... cakey.

So this year (John's birthday is today but we had a birthday celebration on Saturday so Ethan could join us,) I went on line to find a cake that was really dark and really moist. And we were all pretty much in agreement -- this is the Ultimate Chocolate Cake.  Almost black, not too sweet, and definitely for adults. (The Genius Kitchen, from whence the original recipe came, calls it Deep Dark Chocolate Cake. I made a few changes.)

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used more- almost a cup)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (I used plain yoghurt)
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 0r 3 teaspoons Tunisian Five Spice (my addition -- see below.)


1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Grease and flour one 13x 9 inch baking pan OR two 9 inch pans. (I also line the bottom of the pan with a piece of waxed paper cut to fit and then greased.)

3. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and Tunisian Five Spice.

4. Add eggs, buttermilk (or yoghurt,) coffee, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin. (Really, really thin -- I wondered if I'd made a mistake but it was fine.)

5. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (30 -35 minutes for 2 round pans; 35-40 for 1 rectangular pan.)

6. Cool 10 minutes. If using two round pans, remove from pans and cool on wire racks before frosting.

This is an amped-up version of my usual chocolate frosting)

1 stick butter, softened
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum (or maybe more -- whatever it takes to get to a nice spreadable consistency.)

I put a generous amount of raspberry jam between the layers. Citrus marmalade would be good too. Or currant jelly or lingonberry or cherry . . . whatever tickles your fancy.

Tunisian Five Spice is my favorite for all sorts of things -- apple pie, tea, hummus, and this cake. There's more info on it HERE.  You could substitute a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pepper -- but you'd miss out on the Grains of Paradise . . .


Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I'm not a cake fan either, but this sounds like a great cake to offer those who are.

Anvilcloud said...

Happy Birthday to John

I am a fan in general, and I'm sure that I would love this.

Anonymous said...

My husband does the chocolate and raspberry thing for his birthday as well but we have settled on chocolate shortcakes with raspberry sauce (pint of raspberries, half mashed, half not, spoonful of sugar) and whipped cream. Also, not terribly sweet although it is rather rich.

Happy birthday to John!

Barbara Rogers said...

Oh happy birthday John! Vicki, I can't get to link for Tunisian Five goes to my blogger page instead. And I want to try it. Where do you buy it? Or shall I go spice hunting in all the Asheville groceries, after all, there are some really fun ones! Wait, I live on a fixed income. Oh well...I think one bottle won't kill me.

Vicki Lane said...

Barb, the Tunisian Five Spice was a gift -- don't know where it came from. I'll try to fix the link.

Bernie said...

Happy Birthday John, cake 🎂 looks delicious not sure about the Tunisian Spice though. Not a fan of ME food.

NCmountainwoman said...


We LOVE cake and are delighted when we have enough company to warrant making one. Absent visitors, we usually have pound cake around or homemade banana bread, lemon blueberry bread or cinnamon bread. We can manage these smaller loaves and they freeze well if we can't. The chocolate cake looks so decadent, I think I would be satisfied with only a fork full.

I use Chinese Five Spice Powder often but have never looked for Tunisian. Chinese is available at the local supermarket. Does not have the same "grains of paradise" but is otherwise pretty similar.

Jime said...

Happy Birthday John. My birthday is in November and I would be willing to taste test your recipe just to make sure (an outsiders opinion) that it is good. I can dream can't I?