Chocolate Loaf Cake — 4 Stars

To end my week off, I decided to have a tea and cake party. I was itching to bake something sweet, and inviting people over was the only way to justify baking an entire cake. Since my apartment’s not that big, I still wouldn’t be inviting too many people over, and needed a dessert with about 8-10 servings. Enter the Chocolate Loaf Layer Cake I’ve had bookmarked for nearly a year.

I’m pretty picky about my chocolate cakes. I like them to have an intense flavor, and to be frosted with something equally intense. If it has just a mild chocolate flavor, or bad icing (the combination of the two — in cakes you get at the grocery store, for example — are disgusting to me). The Chocolate Loaf Cake seemed to meet my requirements. And, for the record, the final product certainly met my requirements.

This recipe calls for a cup of strong coffee. I don’t like coffee, and don’t keep it on hand.

gave me the idea to use chocolate milk instead. Because I listen to geniuses, I took his advice. Aside from that substitution, and increasing the vanilla extract, I followed the cake recipe directly. (Note that this recipe does not have eggs. That’s not a mistake.) The batter definitely has a brownie consistency. I feared that I had done something wrong, but I pressed on.

Chocolate cake dries out pretty quickly during baking if you’re not careful. So why did I say, "the toothpick came out pretty clean, but I’ll just leave the cake in the oven for an extra 7 minutes"? I don’t know, but I did. As a result, my cake was a little dry, but it was still pretty darn good. One of my friends compared it to a "brownie cake." I don’t know if I agree, but that’s another person’s opinion.

As for the frosting…One word pretty much describes its taste: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! It’s thick, rich, and fudgy. I put a relatively small amount of frosting between the layers, and ended up with about 1/2 cup extra frosting. If I make this again, I’ll add 1/2 tsp almond extract to the frosting.

If this cake had been incredibly moist, it would’ve gotten 5 stars. So, here’s your lesson: when the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. I also wonder if a Tbsp or two of chocolate syrup could have helped.

Cake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
2-oz semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate
1 cup chocolate milk (I used lowfat)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Cake Directions
1. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with Crisco for Baking.
2. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
3. Pour milk, vanilla, apple cider vinegar and melted chocolate mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth and no streaks of flour remain.
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 325 (350 if the loaf pan is light-colored), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Whencake has cooled, slice horizontally into three even layers, frost, and assemble.

Frosting Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 tbsp buttermilk (I used 1 heaping Tbsp. powdered buttermilk + 5 Tbsp water)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt

Frosting Directions
1. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt together butter and unsweetened chocolate. Heat in 30-45 second intervals, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth. Cool for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is close to room temperature.
2. Sift in cocoa powder, 2 cups confectioners sugar, and powdered buttermilk; beat in vanilla, almond extract, water, and salt, beating until frosting is smooth and slightly fluffy. (Use wooden spoon to beat.) Add additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken, if needed.

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