The PERFECT chocolate cake…..

Hello and Happy March! I realize, after a few months of being a food blogger, that I am coming pretty late to the party – there are many, many awesome, unique and special food blogs. I have wanted to start this blogging thing for several years – but something always seemed to grab all my time and my attention (moving cross country, new job, new job, getting married, moving to California, new job, kid starting college…. ) okay you get the drift. I am feeling more settled and have a tiny bit of free time, so finally I can share some things I have learned about cooking and baking over the years.
I have spent a lot of time trying to create /ammend/improve upon some tried and true recipes for chocolate cake. Many of my favorites have icing and really can’t carry the show by themselves. After many months experimenting, I realized I had the best recipe all along – it is really perfect, exactly as written, with no improvements or changes. It is the “Chocolate Domingo Cake” in Rose Levy Berenbaum’s “The Cake Bible”. I have been making this cake for years (the pages are almost ready to fall out (see below) and for good reason. It is simply, the best chocolate cake.

IMG_1548 The cake is incredibly easy to make. The reverse creaming method is almost foolproof, and results in an absolutely tender, velvety crumb. Most “from scratch” cake recipes start out with creaming the butter and sugar “until light and fluffy”. With the reverse creaming method, you start out by beating (and I mean beating) the dry ingredients along with the butter and most of the liquid, and then you add the remaining liquid in two or three increments.If you have never tried this method before, it is very different and you will  be vigorously beating the batter, flour and all, pretty much from start to finish. This goes against the well-known guidance for obtaining cake tenderness, which involves being as gentle as possible with the batter as soon as you start incorporating the flour.This chocolate cake is particularly special because it is delicious on its own.  This one needs no adornment to taste good. It is impossibly – but not overwhelmingly – chocolate-y. I just sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and garnish with fresh berries. If it is a birthday party this cake is for, I will add a small scoop of really good vanilla bean ice cream on the side before serving.

 Adapted from The Cake Bible

Prepare a 9 or 10 inch round springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, and then greasing and flouring the sides and bottom of the pan. Preheat your oven to 350ºC.


 1 1/2  ounces Dutch-process cocoa

  5 1/2  ounces sour cream

  2 large eggs

  1 ½ teaspoon vanilla (I use my favorite vanilla bean paste)

Mix by hand in a medium bowl until smooth. In another mixing bowl, such as the bowl of a stand mixer, add:  

 5 1/2 ounces cake flour, sifted 

 7 ounces sugar

 ¾ teaspoon baking powder  

 ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  ½ teaspoon salt

With the paddle attachment (or with the regular beaters if you are using a hand mixer), mix the dry ingredients above on low speed.  The goal is to blend them all together really well, so let the mixer do its thing for about 30 seconds. After that, add to the dry ingredients:

 14 Tbsp butter (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons , or 7 ounces) 
plus half of the cocoa mixture that you prepared in the beginning.

Mix all these on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium (or high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat the lthat batter for 90 seconds.  Stop the mixer and scrape down sides.Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in 2 additions, beating 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.You will have a fluffy, light brown mixture when you’re done. Pour this batter into your prepared pan.  It will be about half full. Smooth the top and bake at 350ºC for 30-40 minutes.  The cake is ready when a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean.When you remove the cake from the oven, allow it to cool on a rack, in the pan, for 10 minutes.  Then loosen the sides with a thin knife and invert the cake onto a greased rack.  Reinvert it so that the top is up.  Let it cool completely (or not … it really depends on how long you can restrain yourself from digging in!) This cake lasts two day, tops at my house – everyone has their share but I cannot walk by that cake safe without sneaking a bite or two..or three…

domingo cake

2 thoughts on “The PERFECT chocolate cake…..

  1. Susan! Natalie and I made this cake the other day and I couldn’t stop eating it (let’s just say, it’s already gone and putting it on a smaller plate to hide how much I’d personally eaten didn’t make it last any longer :-)!). I am making it again today because Andrew is coming home from Tech for spring break. This time I bought the raspberries to put on top (we made a puree the other night that was tasty, too) and I will, again, offer vanilla ice cream on the side. This is really delicious!


  2. Thanks Jerri! I think this cake has some sort of magical spell! I think its the combination of butter and sugar and the chocolate and the texture. I haven’t tried the smaller plate trick (good one!) but I have perfected the art of shaving off a teensy sliver every time I walk by it in the kitchen! I hope Andrew enjoys it as much as we do!


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