Have you ever needed to get a dessert together and felt really stressed for time? Here’s a solution: my go-to, one-bowl chocolate cake recipe. It has two easy hacks, which means you can mix this up and have it baking in the oven in about five minutes. It also happens to be one of my favorite cakes because it’s so versatile. Just dust it with powdered sugar and it’s lovely. You also can make a quick chocolate ganache to drizzle over the top, or fully frost it with your favorite vanilla buttercream or cocoa powder icing.
Chocolate espresso cake
1 box devil’s-food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream or vegan sour cream
4 large eggs
½ cup avocado oil or neutral vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
powdered sugar for decorating.
Optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts
Place oven rack on the middle shelf and preheat your oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, water and espresso powder and mix until well combined. You can mix this by hand but it’s a thick batter, so for speed I suggest using a hand mixer, which will take about 2 minutes.
Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla by hand. If you’d like to add nuts, add them at this time. Lightly grease a Bundt or tube pan. Pour the batter in using a rubber spatula and smooth the batter so that it is level in the pan.
Place the cake in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before turning out onto a large plate.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving. The easiest way to do this is with a mesh wire strainer. Place 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into the strainer, and tap gently until you reach your desired amount.
Optional chocolate ganache
1 cup heavy cream or 1 can coconut cream (do not substitute with half-and-half or milk)
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (if you want to make this recipe vegan, I recommend California Gourmet chocolate chips)
1 pinch sea salt
Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
Place a medium-size bowl that is a little wider than the saucepan on top, so that it sits a few inches above the simmering water but is cradled by the saucepan.
Pour cream and chocolate into the glass bowl and stir until it combines.
Spoon the ganache over the cake while it is warm; it will solidify if left to cool. If it gets too hard to spoon out, place the bowl over the simmering water to warm it up again.
Once the ganache is on the cake, you can sprinkle chopped nuts, sprinkles or small candies on top of the frosting. If you don’t use the ganache recipe for this cake, tuck it away for a later date. PJC
Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.