Friday, November 6, 2009

Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake

My sister-in-laws cake w/ only powdered sugar.

All gussied up! Pretty neat, aye?
My sons 1st Birthday Cowboy cake w/ Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing.
I doubled the recipe and used the Wilton Horseshoe cake pan.

I did it again. I offered to host a celebration on a weeknight even though I am already struggling to manage my insane schedule. Why? Why do I do these things to myself? Why do I promise to bake cakes and entertain people on a Thursday night when I can barely muster up the strength to cook dinner every night for my family after a long workday? I know why. It's because deep down inside I really like entertaining and celebrating events with family. In fact, I used to go nuts planning parties and celebrations. Planning menus and decor weeks in advance was the norm for me. And then I woke up. Err.... well…and then I had a baby. Now I am lucky if we have coffee and napkins in the house for guests. And heaven forbid someone should want to drink something other than water or seltzer-HA! Like most parents, I just don't have time to be the mini-Martha I once was. Truth be told, I don't even miss the old girl. Having a baby often forces people like me to slow down, but it's a welcome change of pace. I’m glad I don't have the time to run myself as ragged as I used to. Grant it, I had more time to run around but that just meant I had more time to make myself crazy with planning. Nowadays, I still entertain (waaaay less), but it's a simpler kind of entertaining. Having kids gives nuts like me the perfect excuse to slow it down and keep it simple. When I remembered on Tuesday night that I promised to make a cake for my sister-in-laws birthday, I didn't stress. The old me would have researched a recipe way in advance and made sure I had the best Valrhona cocoa powder on hand. The new me was on solo baby duty (hubby was in Boston for Biz) and I simply was not willing or able to go crazy. But the new me had in the bag. Armed with Hershey’s cocoa powder in the pantry and my awesome go-to Quick and Easy Chocolate cake recipe, a last minute birthday cake was possible.

This recipe is one that you will want to keep on-hand for birthdays or any special occasion. I came up with this recipe after testing a gazillion chocolate cake recipes for my sons 1st Birthday party. This recipe is a delicious, quick and simple cake that you can throw together in minutes. This cake is made using canned pumpkin and oil in place of butter which makes it quite healthy. It’s so yummy it doesn ’t even need icing (and good thing because I was out of butter and cream cheese). One of my tricks for keeping it simple is skipping the icing and simply using a stencil and powdered sugar or cocoa powder to create a cute picture on top of the cake. My sister-in-law loves butterflies but go ahead and use a heart stencil for Valentines day or a turkey stencil for Thanksgiving. People will think you are a genius. if you really want an icing, a simple Chocolate Ganache rocks, just pour it right over the top. Done and done!

Happy Birthday Jessica!

P.S. Read-on for a new list of Fun Finds!

Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake
Serves 8

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (my fave is Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder-delicious!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (to be honest I was out so I omitted it)

*Powdered sugar or Cocoa Powder for top of cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Melt chocolate in microwave until melted (each microwave is different but I had to melt mine for 45 seconds, stirring once halfway through). Cool slightly.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl. In another larger bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate to blend. Sift dry mixture over wet mixture (if you don't have a sifter you can use a whisk to combine the two). Whisk batter until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and shake pan to smooth.

3. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer can pan to rack and cool cake completely. Release pan sides from cake. Place cake on plate.

To make cake in advance:

Allow cake to cool completely. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and store at room temperature. Dust with powder sugar or cocoa powder right before service.


A good cake pan will take you far. Perfect for this cake as well as your fave holiday cheesecake. I Love, Love Love this non-stick 9-inch Spring Form pan by Analon.

Want a fun Cake Stand like mine? I purchased mine at Marshall's but check out theses awesome ones by Esty seller StyleGarden and at Target.

In need of a cute holiday hostess gift? How about a bouquet of adorable Holiday Silicone Spatulas. My fave is the Gingerbread man.


  1. Aww, I have a Griffin too, but he's 15 and can look me in the eye without standing on tiptoe. Or a chair. Your little man is awfully cute. Something about those mythological creatures......every one that I've met has a tiny sense of magic around them.

  2. oooooh another recipe with pumpkin! cant wait to try it!

  3. I knew I could count on you! I'm looking for something to bring to the Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow & something Bella could help me make. This cake is perfect. And it has pumpkin in it whoo hoo! I'm a happy girl, woman, mamma, lady.

    Thanks & Happy Happy Thanksgiving. ♥

  4. Thankyou so much for your fab cake recipe - I made it for my boyfriends birthday and tried it with organic spelt flour and organic cacao powder. I could not find tinned pumpkin puree so made my own. Absolutely delicious.