A simple chocolate cake

On Sunday, Agastya and I went Valentine cookie decorating with Dani Fiori who designs couture cookies for the likes of Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazine.  There were bottles of pink and white and lavender royal icing all around us on red tablecloths.  We were given cute owls, love-bugs and hearts to decorate with tiny candy decorations in the trademark pink theme.  We enjoyed making eyes for the owl and feet for the bugs, and creating a special “VB” valentine for daddy that was sprinkled with sugar and festooned with a fistful of tiny hearts.

Nothing appeared out of the ordinary until someone pointed out that Agastya was the only little boy in a class that was full of girls and their mothers.  “Why not,” I thought.  Agastya goes to afternoon tea with me, helps me shop at our local grocery store and undertakes all manner of crafting activities.  In turn, he’s insisted that I build train tracks for him, kick ball or play repairman to the scooter on which he whizzes around.  I’ve tried to get him to agree to a doll house but we have settled instead for Tidmouth Sheds and a three-tier garage.  It’s been a give and take.

Here is the recipe for our Valentine’s Day chocolate cake that was made in the same spirit of partnership.  Our recipe comes from the back of the Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder box, one that my friend Sonal recently discovered.  This cake is the ideal chocolate cake – easy to make, with none of the fuss of extra ingredients like sour cream.  It’s slightly dry and hence perfect for devouring with mouthfuls of hot tea or smearing with cream and jam / dousing with buttercream frosting.   Extra note: children love this cake.

Basic chocolate cake

Ghirardelli ‘s Grand Fudge Cake recipe, slightly adapted

Dry ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

8 tbsp or 1 stick butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar less 2 tbsp

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup milk, at room temperature

1. Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8″ or 9-inch square or round pan.  Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and keep aside.

2. With a hand mixer on a medium setting, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Turn mixer down to a low setting, and add the egg and the vanilla, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3.  Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk after each addition.  Combine well with a spatula but don’t over-mix.

4.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake emerges clean.  Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes and upturn.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. Nothing like a chocolate cake!

    1. devikakumar says:

      Indeed! I’ve been searching for a simple recipe for a while and nothing seemed to suffice. This one uses 1 stick of butter + 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of sugar – most of my cakes follow that basic recipe with 1 or 2 eggs. I always tend to need something that’s easy to remember.

  2. How cute and adorable is Agastya! In fact, just last night I was thinking about how important it is for kids to spend time in the kitchen and learning how to cook. And especially for boys, given all the gender norms surrounding everything kitchen-related.


    1. devikakumar says:

      I know..I want my boys to grow up cooking. Cooking together is so much fun.

  3. Dalia says:

    All our children sure loved it. The baby also drooled!

    1. devikakumar says:

      You are too kind! Thanks for putting up with our experiments.

  4. What a lovely looking chocolate cake – thanks for sharing the recipe, it sounds wonderful. I do love a nice chocolate cake.

    1. devikakumar says:

      Please do try it! I can promise that you won’t be disappointed!!

  5. Karishma Sainani says:

    Hi Devika Bhabhi,
    Great blog. I don’t cook but you make everything sound so simple. Your blog is inspiring and I am going to try out a few things from here. Will let you know how it goes.

    1. devikakumar says:

      Would love your feedback! I’m sensing that you are a great cook.

  6. Rima says:

    I definitely have to try this Devika!! love chocolate and i think Agastya and you are creating such wonderful memories cooking together:)

    1. devikakumar says:

      Would love to hear how it turns out!

  7. I’ll try it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. deepika says:

    Anvika and I made the cake….! its in the oven, was telling anvika the recipe was yours…and chapala’s comment was “didi also makes cakes?!?”

  9. Awww….I love making cookies with my little boy! And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The chocolate cake sounds delicious.

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