It was a wonderfully romantic story – a chocolate cake recipe posted on Food52 reconnected lost family members as a reader came across her mother’s name and recipe and left a comment, wanting to learn more about her mother’s mother. She wound up triggering a slew of comments and reuniting several family members in the process. See how food brings people together? How could I not make Belle Foley’s Chocolate Cake?
I must say I’m enamoured with simple mix-together chocolate cakes, especially those that call for boiling water and baking soda stirred together and added to make a runny batter. It reminds me of the cakes our neighbours used to make, and my mother in law, back when she made cakes. This was about it.
All the ingredients are tossed into a bowl and mixed or beaten (save the boiling water and soda for last).
You’ll need a high-sided 9″ round pan – there’s too much batter for a standard one. Cover the bottom with parchment. (It looks like enough to make two layers.)
Because the batter is runny, I wrapped some foil around the bottom of my removable-bottom pan. Glad I did.
It’s dark and moist and domed – not too sweet, just the way I like it.
I served mine in wedges with a dollop of chocolate mousse, rather than whipped cream or frosting. It needs no decorating.
Belle Foley’s Chocolate Cake
With thanks to Food52 for passing it on
2 cups sugar
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa
3 heaping tablespoons soft butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a high-sided 9-inch cake pan (or springform pan) with a round of parchment; don’t spray the sides. Wrap the bottom in foil if it has a removable bottom.
In a large bowl, mix or beat together the sugar, cocoa, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and flour. Stir together the boiling water and baking soda and add it to the batter. It will seem runny, but don’t worry.
Pour into the pan and bake for 35 or 40 minutes or until done, when you can bounce your finger off the top and the cake feels springy. (Those are Belle’s instructions). Mine took closer to 45 minutes.
Remove cake from oven and let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before depanning. (I love this word – depanning.) Cut warm, generous slices and serve with big splops of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.