Centrist Chocolate Cake

16 Feb

If you asked ten people to describe their ideal chocolate cake, I think you’d get ten different answers. There are flourless chocolate cakes, paragons of dark, almond-scented intensity. On the other end of the spectrum are more subtle cakes made airy with butter, the kind you had at birthday parties when you were a kid.

Moderate in most things, I tend to fall between these schools of thought. Eating a crumbly chocolate sponge is like kissing someone you like but aren’t really attracted to; mildly pleasant, but fundamentally unsatisfying. But though I enjoy the waves of dark chocolate flavour in that first bite of flourless cake, after two forkfuls I feel like I’m drowning in a tsunami of richness.

So thank you, Molly Wizenberg, for coming up with a chocolate cake that has the bantamweight lightness of sponge but packs a powerful chocolatey punch. The secret? Vegetable oil and yogurt for moisture, and dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and coffee for flavour. Crowned with a thin layer of good dark chocolate, this is the best cake of its kind I’ve ever eaten.

Chocolate Yogurt Cake (adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg)

Makes 16 brownie-sized or 9 cake-sized servings


1 oz/28g good dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Michael Recchiuti chocolate which my friend E gave me for Christmas, but any high-quality stuff like Divine would be splendid.)
0.5 cup/120ml freshly-brewed coffee
1 cup/200g caster sugar
0.75 cup + 1 tablespoon/100g plain flour
0.5 cup/43g unsweetened cocoa powder
0.5 teaspoon baking soda
0.25 teaspoon baking powder
0.25 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
0.5 cup/120ml plain, full-fat yogurt
0.25 cup 60ml sunflower/canola oil
0.25 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Take a 20x20cm/8x8in baking tin, and cut a piece of baking parchment to fit in the bottom. Grease both the tin and the piece of parchment.

Put the chocolate in a bowl with the hot coffee. Give it an occasional stir until the chocolate melts and combines with the coffee.

Meanwhile, in another bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a third, large bowl, crack in the egg and beat using a hand mixer on medium speed for a minute – it will look bright yellow and foamy. Add the oil, vanilla, and yogurt, and beat until it’s all smooth and combined. Then add the chocolate-coffee mixture a little at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Pour in the dry ingredients in one go, and beat on low speed until everything is smooth and mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, and bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. Once at room temperature, either ice it with your preferred chocolate concoction, or as Molly suggests, simply glaze it with more chocolate.


200g good dark chocolate, finely chopped

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl (I used Pyrex), and balance the bowl on top of a saucepan filled with a few inches of barely simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until all is just melted, then remove from the heat and pour over the cooled cake.

You can wait for the chocolate to solidify on top of the cake before you serve, but don’t feel bad if the sight of warm melted chocolate on top of gooey cake is too much for you. It certainly was for me!


2 Responses to “Centrist Chocolate Cake”

  1. Erin February 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM #

    No chance of popping a slice in the post is there? That looks AMAZING!!

    • tomatoesandradiowire February 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM #

      I could, but it’d either get squished or the postie would nick it. We’ll just have to make it together when I visit!

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