Lately there are days when I barely recognize myself.
I mean, if you had said to me a year ago that there would come a day when I’d spend a rainy Monday afternoon in the kitchen happily playing around with butter, sugar, and eggs, I most likely would have cocked an eyebrow at you before asking what you were drinking, and if you could pour me one, too.
But there were no mid-afternoon cocktails in our little kitchen on Monday, only cake. A simple cake, made with lots of good cocoa and rich imported butter, raw sugar and tangy buttermilk.
How a confirmed non-baker such as myself ended up with three partially-filled containers of cocoa powder in the pantry, I’ll never know, but there they were, begging to be used rather than packed for our upcoming move. So I tooled around the internet looking for inspiration, and decided on cake. And it made sense, really, since there will come a time when our little guy will need a cake, and my baking skills have lain dormant for far too long. Best to start brushing up now, right?
(Pregnancy truly does strange things to a woman.)
So yes, the cake. This cake is not the richest or most chocolate-y cake around, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a very nice cake, though, and it’s easy as can be to put together on a weekday with things you probably already have on hand, especially if you’re a baker, or have some inexplicable cocoa-hoarding habit.
Mike and I agreed that it would be terrific with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream alongside, or a bit of rum brushed over the top. A drizzle of raspberry or salted caramel sauce might be good, too.
Everyday Cocoa Cake
Adapted from Epicurious.com
2 cups organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a mix of Valrhona and Scharffen Berger)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz. unsalted European style butter, softened
1 3/4 cups raw (Turbinado) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups cultured buttermilk
organic confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a cake pan (I used a 10-inch springform pan; the original recipe called for a 9-inch round cake pan, but my cake rose quite high, so I was glad for the extra height).
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well-combined. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk and set aside.
Add the flour/cocoa mixture and the buttermilk to the butter/sugar mixture a little at a time, mixing just until combined.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake on the center rack of the oven about 50-55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean (I started checking at 40 minutes). Allow to cool for an hour or so, then unmold from the pan and dust with confectioners sugar.