Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fail Cake

Maybe this is a bad name for this cake, seeing as it is the easiest cake ever and even a slight imperfection still leads to an okay cake.  Maybe I can call it fail cake because it wards of failure.  Last year I made it for a couple of my friends before their qualifying exams and both passed all parts.  However, I failed the first time I made it because I forgot baking soda.  I almost did it again today, and I realized why.  It was listed between the cinnamon and cayenne/chili powder, though those are two things I kind of lump together and add together and don't read carefully between them.  Forgetting the baking soda is kind of a problem because that is the only leavening in this cake (though it might be Kosher for Passover otherwise?), however it still turned out okay.  But this is seriously the easiest cake ever.  In fact, it is easier than boxed cake mix.  So I had the time and energy to make another to share with my qual studying friends, and I brought the first cake into the math department and called it fail cake because, it was the failure and the good one went to my friends.

As for the actual cake, anyone who knows me, knows I love the chocolate, cinnamon, chili combo more than just about anything else.  So this is definitely something I'm into.  It's also slightly fruity from the balsamic vinegar.  It does have a bit of a kick from the cayenne.  This time instead of using 1/4 tsp cayenne, I used a 1/2 tsp of chili powder (the American kind with cumin and oregano, as opposed to the Indian kind), which made it a little more mild but a little more complex.  Also, this cake is vegan and fat free.  This does not, of course, mean that it is healthy, it has no nutritional content, it just means it could be worse.  The original had canola oil I guess, but the recipe I got it from said they missed it, made it without and it was great, so I just follow their recipe.  There is also a glaze for it, I'll include it, but I never made it.

The one warning is make sure you work quickly after adding the liquids.  Baking soda is the only leavening and it only rises once, that is when it reacts with the acid, so your only rise comes pretty much immediately.

Here you go:
Mexican Chocolate Cake (that's it's real name)
From Serious Eats
1 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I use Kosher for baking)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 (you might want to even wait a bit if you have a slow oven, as this shouldn't sit around once you've mixed it up and it comes together SUPER quickly)

Grease a 8 inch round pan

Mix the dry ingredients.  Don't forget the baking soda; I wrote it in an order so you hopefully won't miss it like I did.  Make two wells in the dry ingredients...

Now work quickly.  Add the balsamic to one well, the vanilla to the other and pour the cold water on top.  Stir until just moistened and still slightly lumpy.  Pour into pan, put into oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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