Featherlight Chocolate Cake

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
30 min
45 min

10 to 12 servings

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), plus more for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder, such as Valrhona or Droste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups ice water
  • Serving suggestion: Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with milk

  • Arrange a rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

  • Butter and flour a bundt pan or tube pan. (You can use a mixture of cocoa powder and flour instead of flour, to prevent white spots on the cake.)

  • In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar. One at a time, mix in the eggs, then the vanilla, occasionally scraping down the mixing bowl.

  • Meanwhile, in another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.

  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture; then 1/3 of the ice water. Repeat, mixing after each addition. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake until springy and dry, about 40 to 45 minutes.

  • Let cool in the pan on a rack, then carefully turn the cake out. Just before serving, sift confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve with very cold milk!

  • Notes about the recipe: When I developed this recipe I was just looking for a good, reliable dark cocoa cake that could sit on the counter over the weekend and be enjoyed in slivers, craving by craving. This cake is really moist and keeps for days. I just finished one that's been hanging around the kitchen for 6 days! You could frost it with creamy white icing but it hardly needs it. My friend Lana's mom June was one of the best cooks I knew as a kid in the '60s and she did a cake by the same name, though the recipe handed down to me from her daughter is a bit different.

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