I’ve been craving a big slice ‘o chocolate cake something fierce. This particular craving has been nagging at me for a couple of months, at least. Chocolate cake. Moist and fluffy. With lots of smooth and crunchy icing. Chocolate cake.
These kind of cravings hit me every so often, usually when I’m on a particularly good health-nut roll. Since summer has ended, I’ve been filling up with green smoothies almost daily, taking Parker for runs, doing free weights while binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (a new guilty pleasure I’m embarrassed to admit).
Chocolate cake. Moist and fluffy. Chocolate cake.
Now, I don’t eat chocolate cake every day, but I’m not one to deny a craving. I like to think that my body craves certain things for a reason. Sometimes I crave green smoothies because I want some green goodness. Sometimes I crave chocolate cake because I want to be hugged by a big dessert.
It’s all about balance.
I admit to keeping a box of the cheap, prepackaged, just-add-water cake mix in my pantry. I rarely use it, but I like to know it’s there. It’s a last resort, need-it-now kind of thing, since sometimes you just want/need a yummy-but-sorta-dry cake. Usually those times are at 10pm on a Saturday night after a few glasses of wine. Oops.
But other times it’s worth it to spend a few minutes in the kitchen whipping up an insanely good homemade cake. This recipe isn’t difficult, and it uses a lot of standard ingredients that you probably have in your pantry at any given moment. The extra few minutes to whip it all together pays off in the end.
While the cake itself is moist, fluffy, and packed with chocolatey goodness, the icing is really the star of this recipe. I made this for a few friends who I had over last weekend, and everyone who had a bite agreed that the icing was insane. Matt went so far to say that it was the best icing he’s ever had.
If you haven’t had dulce de leche, it’s a sweet, thick, caramel-like sauce that is made from boiling down sweetened condensed milk. As the condensed milk simmers, the water eveporates and the mixture thickens and darkens in colour.
There are recipes for dulce de leche that require constant stirring for hours on end in front of the stove. But, if you’re like me and too lazy for all that effort, there’s a quick trick that saves so much time! Simply place a can of sweetened condensed milk in a slow cooker, and cover with water until the can is completely submerged. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours (or overnight). Remove the can from the water and cool to the touch. When you open the can, its done. Easy peasy!
Combine the dulce de leche with some cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar, and you have a finger-licking frosting perfect for spreading over a chocolate cake. You don’t need a big slice of this cake to be satisfied, as it is quite rich, but the indulgence is totally worth it.
Just be sure to serve it to a crowd so you’re not tempted with it sitting in your fridge for a week, otherwise you might end up having a slice for breakfast!
|Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting|| || |
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup black coffee
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temp
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup dulce de leche*
- 4 - 6 cups confectioner's sugar (optional, see notes)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Dust them lightly with flour; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add in eggs, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract, beating until all ingredients are mixed and smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 15 minutes in their pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and dulce de leche until smooth. Add in confectioner's sugar a little at a time until consistency is that of a thick frosting.
**The reason there isn't a definite measurement for the confectioner's sugar is because it will depend on the thickness/runniness of the dulce de leche you use. If it's thicker, you'll need less, and vice versa.
***I've received some comments about the icing, and one reader actually omitted the powdered sugar completely from the recipe, and it turned out just fine! If you're running low on powdered sugar, you can omit it with great results; the frosting will just be smoother and creamier. Adding in the powdered sugar gives the icing a bit of crunch, but isn't necessary.