The Old Fashion Salted Chocolate Cake

This here is a simple, easy and familiar chocolate cake. One that I’ll happily have anytime I crave a chocolate cake. 

All you have to do is toss a few ingredients together, chuck it into a pan and bake. But do not mistake the ease of this recipe as a compromise on quality. This is a good cake. This cake is moist and tender due to the two types of flours, it has a deep chocolate flavour brought out by the espresso, and has the slightest hint of caramel notes from the brown sugar.

I had spent months buying chocolate cakes from various shops/bakeries, and more often than not they turned out to be not what I was after.

Maybe it’s just me, but I go through bouts where all I crave is a chocolate cake. One that has a deep, dark chocolate flavour, unpretentious and satisfying. Something that can bring me back to my childhood of the very first cake I made out of a box. Which is something I am sure many of you will be familiar with.

So when I stumbled upon the cake recipe on Food52 that everyone was raving about, I knew I had to try it out. And true enough, that recipe was great.

It was delicious, easy to make, and turned out a good solid chocolate cake. But I wanted to put my spin on it. Make it a tad more moist, add a little texture to the crumb and yet keep its integrity as a simple cake.

So I swapped out some of the AP flour for rye flour to lower the gluten content to create a slightly more compact cake but to also add some character to it. I also tweaked some other parts of the recipe, but I don’t want to bored you with the details. This right here is essentially my go-to simple old fashioned chocolate cake recipe.

If you want a cake that can provide you a textural explosion, this is not the cake for you. This recipe turns out a soft silky product that’s stays moist for days. If you are after some crunch for textural difference, feel free to toss some toasted nuts on top of the frosting, but I like it just the way it is.

And since this was a cake that is meant to be eaten at any time of the day at any temperature, it is only natural to have a frosting that is just as simple to throw together as the cake itself.

So I settled on a dark salted chocolate pudding frosting that holds up when the cake is served warm, but is still every bit as delicious when the cake is cold or at room temperature. The experience that you’ll have with the cake will be different depending on whether you consume it hot or cold, but I promise that it will be delicious regardless.

I have not reinvented the original recipe, all I have done is simply placed my spin on a classic recipe and I hope that you like it as much as I do. And if this cake reminds you of your childhood as much as it reminded me of mine, all the better. 😉

The Old Fashion Salted Chocolate Cake

Serves 1-12 (depends on how much cake you can consume)
Adapted from Food52

What you’ll need

Cake Base

  • 350g white granulated sugar
  • 40g light brown sugar
  • 105g dutch cocoa powder
  • 50g Rye Flour (substitute with AP flour if you don’t have Rye)
  • 160g AP Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 270g hot water
  • 5g espresso granules (approx 1 1/4 tbsp)
  • 118g neutral vegetable oil
  • 260g unsweetened full-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Salted Frosting

  • 440g + 60g full fat milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 80g white granulated sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g dark chocolate (I used 70% dark chocolate)

Making it!

  1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F)
  2. Butter and dust a 13″x9″ cake pan with cocoa powder. Line the base with baking paper and set aside.
  3. Mix espresso granules with hot water and set aside.
  4. Sift flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder together and set aside.
  5. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, add greek yogurt, eggs, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low until combine. Slowly drizzle in the coffee mixture and mix under combine.
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture on low speed until combined then increase speed to medium and mix for at least 4-5 minutes scraping the bowl half way through.
  7. Pour into the pan and give it a light tap to ensure there are no bubbles and to even out the batter. (The batter will look pretty liquid)
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out with no crumbs sticking to it (but it might look slightly tinted due to the cake moisture but there shouldn’t be any crumbs or batter sticking to it)
  9. Leave the cake to cool fully in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

Make the frosting

  1. When the cake is fully cooled, you can make the frosting.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 60g of milk with the corn flour until it is well combined, set aside.
  3. In a pot, add the rest of the ingredients and mix on low heat until the chocolate has melted.
  4. Give the corn flour mixture a stir before pouring it into the pot with the chocolate mixture.
  5. Constantly stir the mixture in the pot keeping the heat on low until it thickens. The mixture should coat a wooden spoon and when you run your finger down the spoon to draw a line, the mixture should not bleed into the drawn line. This could take anywhere between 2-5 minutes depending on the size of your pot and your flame. The key  is to ensure you do not stop stirring as you do not wish to burn the bottom accidentally.
  6. Leave the pudding aside to cool for a a couple of minutes to thicken slightly before pouring it on top of the cake.
  7. Feel free to add some additional speckles of salt on the top if you like it salty, but please, taste the cake first before you do so.

Slice and enjoy warm or cold!

The cake should be stored in a covered container in the fridge if not consumed within the first day.

If you like it warm, place a slice in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to heat it up slightly.

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