"I've baked dozens of cake recipes since my mom decided I was allowed to use the oven, everything from box mix and soda to fancy whipped egg whites and expensive flour. But before last weekend, I hadn't made one that required melting butter, water, sugar, and chocolate (I used 85% cacao fair-trade bars) in a pot, adding dry ingredients, and pouring into pans...and now, this is the technique that I'm going to return to over and over, especially for chocolate cake. It doesn't take very long to throw together, it's unexpectedly moist without feeling soggy, and even my friends who claim they don't really like cake ate a second slice.
"A word of caution: Make sure you allow your melted chocolate mixture to cool enough before you add the eggs — otherwise they'll scramble, and no one wants chunks of that in their cake. I went overboard and waited until the chocolate was room temperature, which definitely isn't necessary, but... just be careful.
"The biggest modifications I made were to the icing: It's a two-ingredient wonder of melted chocolate chips and sour cream, which I enjoyed but knew pickier eaters would reject. I still went with the base recipe, substituting dark Ghirardelli chips (which I <3 the most) for the Nestle, but I also added 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 2 tsp of Cointreau, 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste, and 1 tsp of maple syrup — essentially, 3 teaspoons of vanilla-ness and 3 teaspoons of something sweet. Then, I also roughly chopped up a few chocolate bar squares and mixed those in, for texture. Next time I make it, I will probably fill it with raspberry jam instead, and coat it in this cream cheese buttercream (substituting melted chocolate for the lemon zest and juice)." —Natalie Brown
Get the recipe here.