True confessions, I am a chocoholic. Not going to deny it or try to change it. And apparently it’s somewhere on a gene that a couple of my granddaughters have inherited. Molly first made this recipe for Jasmine’s 10th birthday last fall. It was Zaya’s 4th birthday when I visited in April and it was what she wanted too, except with blue frosting. No problem. Until the 10 year old started searching for “Frozen” cakes online and the cake got fancier by the minute, since Grandma’s a baker. So I toned it down a little (actually a lot) and gamely tried my hand at a fancy cake. I’ll spare you the photo and just say if Pinterest needs any shots for the “FAIL” section, I have them. The birthday girl, however, was thrilled with it and quite upset when I started to cut into it at her party.
The cake and frosting were great, even if the design execution was iffy. The cake is moist and easy to make, the frosting is smooth and creamy. Jasmine wanted fondant so it would look perfect but I nixed that, having never touched fondant for any reason, always opting for flavor over looks. This is a very thin batter so it’s easy to mix by hand. That nifty little gadget in the photo is a Danish dough whisk, very useful for projects like this. While there is coffee in the batter you don’t taste it in the finished cake. It just does its thing, whatever that is, with chocolate and makes it even better. It rises a lot while it bakes so leave plenty of room. Fill muffin tins or cake pans only about 2/3 full. If you make this into a small bundt or layer cake you’ll have some extra batter for a few cupcakes unless you modify the quantities.
— Joan, 10 May 2019
- 2 cups (396 grams) sugar
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (64 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (130 grams) canola oil
- 1 cup (227 grams) milk
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup (227 grams) strong hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour pans or line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Stir in oil and milk. Mix in eggs and vanilla, then carefully mix in the hot coffee. This is a thin batter — see the photo above — but that’s why it’s so moist.
Fill pans or cupcake liners 2/3 full. This rises a lot in the oven so leave room. Overfilling will only make a mess and cause the cupcakes or cakes to sink as they cool. Make a few cupcakes with any batter left after filling cake pans.
Bake cupcakes 20-25 minutes, cakes 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Use a wooden skewer or sharp knife to test for doneness. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate cream cheese frosting:
- 1½ cups (340 grams) butter, softened
- 8 oz. (227 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups (128 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 cups (566 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- milk as needed to thin
Mix cocoa powder with about 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Beat together butter and cream cheese till smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar/cocoa and mix until smooth, then begin adding the rest of the powdered sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add milk a tablespoon at a time if needed to thin to desired consistency, or add more powdered sugar to make it stiffer. Leftover frosting can be refrigerated in a covered container for a couple of weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.