The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake

This is one of the posts recovered after a botched website move in 2013. It was originally written and published on November 26, 2012.

It all started with the Great Depression.There were food shortages that necessitated ingenuity. In this cake and case, it was good ol' Yankee ingenuity.There are no typical leavening ingredients; no baking soda or baking powder. There is a tablespoon of vinegar, though. Hmm...There are no eggs and there is no milk. There is a whole lot of oil, though. Hmm...The first time I was old enough to realize that this recipe was different than most modern-day cake recipes was the first time I had a glimpse of the genius behind the ingenuity. Or something like that.As a try-my-best-to-be-health-conscious 47-year-old, I like to take recipes apart and put them back together in a more healthful way. That's exactly what I did with this 80-ish-year-old gem. It took three tries, and the third try was the charm.I'm all about lessening sugar content when possible, and eliminating oil. Unsweetened apple sauce and pumpkin are my BFFs in that endeavor.

Here is what the new and improved recipe looks like:

???? 3 cups flour, sifted???? 1 1/3 cups sugar???? 8 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted???? 2 teaspoons baking soda, sifted???? 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted???? 1 1/2 teaspoons salt???? 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce???? 3/4 cup pumpkin puree???? 2 cups cold water???? 2 tablespoons vinegar???? 1 tablespoon vanilla

Here's how you do it:

???? Preheat oven to 350, and prepare a bundt pan, or two layer cake pans, or one big sheet pan with cooking spray.???? Measure flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder into a sifter.???? Sift those ingredients into a large bowl, and add salt and sugar. Whisk them (whisk them good) together.???? Add wet ingredients. Whisk all together.???? Pour batter into your prepared pan, and put it into the oven <strong>with your timer set for 40 minutes</strong>.???? At the 40-minute mark, test the cake with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it's done. If there is some batter residue on the pick, check it again in 5 minutes.???? When it's done, remove it from your oven (and turn your oven off unless you've got 3 pies and a huge skillet of gooey rolls on tap), and turn it onto a slightly oversized plate to cool.

While it's cooling, you're going to make ganache.

???? Get your hands on a can of evaporated milk (dairy, I know; can't be avoided yet, but I'm working on it) and a package of semi-sweet chocolate chunks.???? Pour the evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring it to a slow boil, then dump in the chocolate chunks. (The whole thing. Don't think I don't know you want to sneak chunks out of that bag.)???? Whisk until the chocolate is melted and you discover that the evaporated milk doesn't thicken the way heavy cream does. Sigh. Think.???? Find the corn starch. Measure a tablespoon into a small bowl, add a couple tablespoons water, dissolve the cornstarch, add the mixture to the chocolate mixture, which is over medium heat, and whisk until thickened.???? Then, finally, pour it all over the cake.

This is the point when you realize (if you've used a bundt pan) that there is enough ganache to fill up the hole in the center of the cake. So you fill it, and consider what to dip into it: pretzels? marshmallows? strawberries? a spoon?The verdict when dessert finally arrived? Dense, moist, and chocolatey. That's what you want in the chocolatiest chocolate cake evah, right?And you can assure yourself it's okay to eat it for breakfast because, after all, it's healthy with all that applesauce and pumpkin. (Work with me.)Makes 16 servings. (At least, it's *supposed* to. Ahem.)How do you get your healthy-ish chocolate fix?

Lincoln, Pi, and God

Gathering in Gratitude