Monday, June 28, 2010

Secret Recipe Chocolate Cake

We celebrated a special event with a gathering of artist friends. It was a "carry in." I brought the cake.
Chocolate cake, raspberry buttercream, strawberries and mint leaves.

Secret Recipe Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and if your oven has one of those moving racks... either use a different rack or detach it so that it does not move. Moving a cake in the baking process can kill it.

1 Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water (Or cold coffee if you like, I don't drink coffee so I use water.)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
3 large yada yada eggs

(Yada yada eggs are the good ones that have fancy labels like "organic" or "free range" or "from happy chickens who listen to Mozart..." or simply from someone you've actually met who doesn't seem like the type that would be mean to critters... that sort of thing, you get the idea.)

Combine everything but the mix in a mixer and... uh... mix. Then add the mix and... well... uh... mix. Spray a 10 inch round cake pan with Baker's Joy.  (It has the flour and the shortening together in a one step spray.)  Put batter in pan and bake.

Most people over-bake cake, and dry cake = a waste of good calories.  So... here's how I tell if this cake is done.  I touch the surface of the cake.  If your finger comes back covered in batter... well... it's time to see if the oven is turned on.  If the surface jiggles and looks wet when you open the door, don't even touch it.  If it's starting to look baked and you touch the surface and you leave a finger print, it is not done.  As soon as you can touch the surface and it springs back... it's done.  Cake pulls away from the edges of the pan slightly as it bakes... the longer it bakes the more it shrinks.  You want to catch it just as that shrinking process starts.  Does the surface spring back?  Has it started to pull away from the edge?  Then it's done.  I should try the toothpick test, but I never remember.  Any longer and it will start to dry out.

Bring it out of the oven, put waxed paper over the top of the hot cake and then add a cutting board, a piece of cardboard... a plate... something... over that.  Put the cake pan with the waxed paper against the solid surface and FLIP the cake over.  A friend of mine baked lots of cakes, but she would leave them out on the counter to cool for hours and then wonder why they turned out so dry.  As soon as you can, remove the pan and wrap the warm cake in plastic wrap.  I've never had the plastic wrap actually melt into the cake and I'll wrap a steaming hot cake, so don't worry about that.  The plastic wrap and the waxed paper on the bottom are designed to seal in the moisture of the cake, try not to leave any bits of cake uncovered.

If you'll need to carve the cake or split layers for filling, or if you won't be using the cake until the following day, then place the cake in the freezer once it has cooled and been securely wrapped.  It's easy to carve a frozen cake, but very difficult (if not impossible) on fresh moist cake.  Cake is very sensitive to picking up freezer odors, so don't leave it in there indefinitely but overnight or till the weekend should be fine. 

Take the cake out of the freezer, carve if desired and ice immediately, even as the cake is still frozen.  Garnish and serve.  It thaws quickly and if you do this step just before a meal, it will just be chilly by the time you serve it, rather than frozen.

It's an easy recipe, and if you get it out of the oven at the right time, and keep it wrapped up tight until it's time for the icing... you should have an excellent moist chocolate cake.

Shhhh... this ultra easy little recipe has been my little secret for a long time!  Try it and let me know how it goes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Oh... I'm not sure if I should confess this or not... but it you like Whoopie Pies...
as I do... (And who doesn't like whoopie pies?!) Then simply line a cookie sheet with parchment and using tablespoons, make drop cookies with this recipe. Bake them at 350 degrees for about seven minutes.  Watch these close so they don't over bake. They should be cakey, not crispy.  Add whoopie pie filling or vanilla butter cream between two halves. (Some people use marshmallow fluff)  I leave some out and wrap the rest individually and freeze them. I love these, especially right from the freezer on a hot summer day.

Savor the Flavors,
Carmen Rose


  1. O my! I cannot wait to give your secret recipe a try! Yummy~ Thanks!

  2. I so love chocolate cake and whoopie pies. You have spoken to my inner chocoholic! Thank you!


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