Friday, October 19, 2007

In Seach of the Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe....

I really hate making baked goods from a boxed mix or using premade frostings! No matter how good they taste, I get soooo turned off when I read the ingredients and see the list of chemicals, preservatives, and weird-sounding ingredients (the organic versions are not bad at all but they are $10.00/box!). Honestly, I must say, I've never had a cake that was as moist or as soft or as fluffy (Marc's birthday cake last year was close but not quite) as the boxed mix versions. This is what led to my quest in search of the best recipe for an everyday chocolate cake. The criteria: the recipe had to be super easy, the cake had to be moist and fluffy, and the icing had to be as good as the premade versions!

My first try was the Texas Sheet Cake from Cooking Light. It was very good for a low-fat version but it was neither, super easy to make (it was easy but it wasn't effortless) or what I was looking for in an everyday recipe. It was fluffy but not as moist as I would have liked it and Marc and I did not like the addition of the cinnamon at all.

My second try was the Hershey "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake recipe that was suggested on the Cooking Light message boards. It is very moist and fluffy, perfect amount of chocolate flavor and sweetness, the frosting is to die for, and the recipe is super easy - a one-bowl recipe! The perfect recipe - the texture and flavor was exactly what I was looking for - like the boxed versions but just a little less sweet! I used the one-pan cake variation and the cake was done after 35 minutes. After a tip from my mom, I sifted all the dry ingredients - I'm not sure how much of a difference that made in the recipe but I'm sure it contributed to the fluffy/moist factors!

Picture Courtesy of Cooking Light


2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.

Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.


Texas Sheet Cake
Cooking Light

Cooking spray
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup fat-free milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set aside.
Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add to flour mixture. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.

Combine 6 tablespoons butter, fat-free milk, and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in powdered sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread over hot cake. Sprinkle cake with pecans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Nutritional Information: CALORIES 298(30% from fat); FAT 10g (sat 5.5g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 3.1g; CHOLESTEROL 44mg; CALCIUM 25mg; SODIUM 188mg; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.8g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2007


Cheryl said...

Oh that must have been some fun taste trials for that. Next time you need a guinea pig let me know.

Helene said...

Thanks for sharing the recipes with us. I'm always on the search on that moist chocolate cake like in the box. I've made those cupcakes and I have to tell you it was a winner at my house. My DH that was raised on boxed cakes, loved it. If you have a chance you really have to try them.

Ana said...

Hi Erin!
I followed your chocolate cake thread at the CLBB and am glad you liked the cake!
It seems chocolate cake is always so difficult to conquer, doesn't it?!
I think I will try this recipe next time I want some chocolate cake fiz, sounds really good!
I make your "chicken nuggets" with the flaxseed meal every week and it always reminds of you!
Oh, and I love the pictures of the post below (the one you went to Paradise!) What a wonderful place, and you look very pretty!
Thanks for the nice reviews, I always check out your blog, need to post more often!
(Aninha from the CLBB)

erinlovesmarc said...

thanks Ana! I know, I need to post here more often...I've been slacking're in full renovation mode again and it seems like there are never enough hours in a day!!!! I will try to do better from now on! ;)
Thanks Ana!!!

Ana said...

Oh Erin, I wrote it wrong... I meant "I need to comment more often"!!
I am so sorry... (feeling ashamed now).
Who am I to say anything, I am totaly lacking on post for my own blog....
Really, that wasn't what I meant to post... sorry! hope you are not mad with me!

erinlovesmarc said...

lol...don't feel bad, I read it wrong, now that you mention it!!! I wasn't even mad when I first read it! Don't worry about it...miscommunications happen! :)