Chocolate

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple, almost paleo recipe that includes shredded coconut, whole almonds and almond butter, vegan chocolate chips or chunks. This is a great healthy almost clean baking cookie for special diets that you can make. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This is a public service announcement to all readers of this blog: I am no longer cool. Though I’m not sure when it happened, I can confidently express to you, with little qualm or uncertainty, that I have officially lost the cool factor. 

One could argue here that I never really was cool, and to be honest, this is entirely possible. After all, how cool could my former bench-warming, unibrow-having, choreographed-dancing self actually have been? Regardless, I am 100% positive that I am officially out of the loop.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

I gauge most of my coolness against my sister. At 15 years old (that makes me 13 years her senior?!?), my sister, Cheney, dances circles around whatever level of awesome I once thought I had. What she lacks in years she makes up for in a kindness, wit, and strong will that suggests her world view and degree of wisdom is not limited by her numerical age.Within the past few months, Cheney has taught me how to use Snapchat, kept me posted on the Tayvin/Caylor ship, explained to me what “shipping” even is, and helped me navigate the murky waters of shoulderless shirts. On top of that, this chick is well versed in Star Wars trivia, knows every lyric to the “Grease” soundtrack, and has a collection of Kate Spade handbags that this mama is jealous of daily. She’s just so cool. 

These days, teenagers are growing up in an age full of vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and everything-in-between food products. My sister can eat gourmet popcorn and avocado toast with the best of them, and she has definitely taste tested her fair share of kombucha and acai bowls.  Me? I grew up on tub margarine and Yoo-Hoo, and had to Google the spelling of kombucha just a second ago, so that’s pretty much the level I’m at.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

A few months ago, Cheney came to me professing to have found the best paleo chocolate chip cookies, and I was pretty interested. Not because I’m anywhere close to being a clean eater (I wouldn’t know a good paleo cookie if it sat on my face), but because I strictly adhere to the “No Cookie Left Behind” mantra. So we baked.

The results were surprisingly delicious. My husband, even less educated in the food realm than I, said that they “didn’t taste like a healthy cookie” which is code for “these cookies are awesome!” I’ve since made the paleo chocolate chip cookies for some of my foodie friends and they all had similar responses. 

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

 

The recipe I’m sharing today, coconut almond chocolate cookies, is a spin off of that recipe. You can certainly modify the ingredients slightly to meet your dietary restrictions, but I feel pretty good about eating these bad boys even if they’re not perfectly paleo. The chopped almonds and shredded coconut add an incredible amount of texture to every bite of this sweet and rich chocolate cookie. The coconut oil and unique blend of flours keep these cookies moist and almost cake-like for days after baking, and because the ingredients are less processed than most, I feel pretty good about downing one or two with my morning coffee at breakfast.

To summarize this blog post, I will say the following: I am not cool, my sister is rad, and coconut almond chocolate cookies are pretty much manna from heaven. I’ve got a long way to go in becoming even an ounce as awesome as my worldly little sis, but I’ll work my way there one cookie at a time if I have to. Give these little treats a try and let me know how you like them!

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

PS, can we talk about Aimee’s chubby little arms and knee rolls!? Drool.

 

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Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut almond chocolate cookies are moist cookies that can easily be adapted to meet a range of dietary preferences.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy free chips, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup of almonds, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the almond butter and beat for another minute. Add the extracts and egg and beat for one minute, scraping the bowl as needed. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and almonds.
  4. Scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls of dough on to a parchment or baking mat lined sheet pan. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies no longer appear wet in the middle. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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Recipe Adapted From: Texanerin

Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

Banana coconut chocolate cream pie Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a buttery, flaky pie crust filled with a cream filling of coconut cream, banana, and chocolate. This is a southern style pie with different custard fillings made from whole eggs and yolks. Add sweetened flaked or grated coconut and semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips / bar and sliced bananas for this layered pie! Read about how to make it on thewoodandspoon.com

This is more than a banana coconut chocolate cream pie. It’s a celebration pie.

Today marks the first day of the 36th year of my husband’s life. Birthdays, along with with Christmas, Auburn game days, and Friday morning donut runs, are a big deal in our house. While I probably say “I love ___” too frequently on this little bloggie, I really do love birthdays.

Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

I love birthdays for the cake and the candles and the confetti. I love picking out the perfect card and wrapping gifts in paper printed with ice cream cones or dogs wearing shoes. I love the pop of a champagne bottle and the clinking of bubble-filled glasses and the exchange of smiles and laughter from across a dinner table. I love a celebration.

But, really, shouldn’t we all? Don’t we all have someone or something worth celebrating? Even if not a husband or a birthday, surely we all know of a life or a day that deserves special recognition- someone or something that is worth a slice of pie or a handwritten note or a small token of love and gratitude.  Wouldn’t our days on earth feel so much more remarkable if each one had a celebration of sorts? If we found joy in the ordinary and extraordinary moments alike?

I want my life to be marked by celebration. I want to be known for the joy and love and frosting that comes with celebrating life’s moments. Sharing love and appreciation for our days on earth and the people we spend them with is a gift and it’s one that I want to open and reopen and recognize as often as possible.

Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

 

Today’s recipe, banana coconut chocolate cream pie, is a mash-up of my husband’s favorite desserts: pudding, chocolate, and pie. Celebrating Brett is a lot like celebrating the life we’ve been given together, so this pie feels a lot like home. It’s basic, really. Just a few bananas sliced on the bottom of a pie shell, topped with creamy layers of chocolate, coconut, and whipped cream. It’s nothing fancy, but banana coconut chocolate cream pie is a perfect fit for my super Southern man-friend’s taste buds, so I’m overjoyed to make it for him.

I challenge you to celebrate something today. Even if not with banana coconut chocolate cream pie, celebrate in some way. Share a toast or a word or meal in honor of something or someone and call it a party. And if no one has told you recently, I feel pretty certain you’re worth celebrating too. So here’s to you.

Banana coconut chocolate cream pie

 

Click here for my recipe for perfect pie crust!

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Banana Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

Banana coconut chocolate cream pie is creamy, simple, and perfect for when you can’t pick just one pie flavor.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe for Perfect Pie Crust (See Link Above)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 22/3 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut (You can use unsweetened in a pinch)
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large banana

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out pie dough and into a standard 9″ pie pan. (Note: this recipe will not fill a deep dish pan). Crimp edges and blind bake your crust in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges and bottom of crust have turned golden brown. If your edges brown before the bottom is baked, make a pie collar from aluminum foil to protect them from further cooking. Allow to cool completely prior to filling crust.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt, whisking to combine. Slowly add the milk. Turn heat to medium temperature and stir constantly until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened substantially. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly drizzle in a small amount of the cooked mixture into the beaten egg yolks, whisking all the while. Once about a cup of the mixture is incorporated, pour all of the egg yolk mixture back into the original saucepan and place back on the heat. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes while continuing to stir.
  4. Add the butter and vanilla, stirring until incorporated. Pour half of the cooked pudding mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the coconut. In the remaining half of pudding mixture, stir in the chocolate and heavy cream until incorporated. Allow to cool slightly at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  5. When ready to assemble the pie, arrange banana slices evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Top with the chocolate mixture and smooth over the top evenly. Spoon the coconut filling on top of the chocolate filling and smooth. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Notes

  • To blind bake a pie crust, either use pie weights or place a piece of parchment paper inside of the pie crust and fill with 1-1/2 cups of dried beans. This will weigh the pie crust down and prevent it from puffing. If you do not have access to either of these options, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.
  • This pie is very adaptable! If you prefer all coconut, remove the chocolate and cream and double the amount of coconut. Same goes for the chocolate.
  • The oatmeal cookie crust from my oatmeal cookie banana cream pie would work splendidly. Give it a shot if you don’t prefer traditional pie crust. Recipe in the archives.
  • Refrigerated or a frozen pie crust can be substituted.

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S’mores Cheesecake

S'mores Cheesecake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a campfire inspired cheesecake that comes out without cracks or dry edges every time. A graham cracker, butter and sugar crust and a simple chocolate filling made from melted bars or chips. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath in the oven to get a smooth and creamy cheesecake. Top the whole thing with toasted marshmallows and more graham cracker crumbs for a summertime favorite cheesecake.

Spring is officially in the air. The trees are blooming, everyone has a sinus infection, and our little corner of lower Alabama is slowly turning into a muggy, rain forest-esque area that ensures I am constantly frizzy and a little sweaty. Spring, in my mind, is the pre-party for summer when my diet will primarily consist of fresh produce, frozen beverages, and anything made on the grill. These last few weeks before full-on summer mode make me want to reminisce on the deliciousness that ensued during the fall/winter months and celebrate it one last time. Today, we will do just that by way of s’mores cheesecake. 

S'mores Cheesecake

Now don’t get me wrong- summer and I get along really well. What’s not to love? Longer days, flip flop weather, and the fact that I get to wear white everyday without any judgment from more fashionable onlookers is reason enough for me to celebrate the warmer months. But once summer hits, I’m going to be rolling out all of my favorite fruit-based desserts and it’s really an injustice to forget little beauties like s’mores cheesecake. So let’s take a look, shall we?

This cheesecake, with its creamy chocolate innards and buttery graham cracker crust, is topped with a handful or two of marshmallows and a rich, chocolate ganache that seductively whispers, “come hither.” I love the texture of this cheesecake- smooth, fluffy, and not too dense. Bonus points for the fact that I have never ONCE had this cheesecake develop an unsightly crack or crevice on the top. The crust is sweetened with brown sugar and seasoned with a heavy-handed douse of salt because, if you ask me, sweet and salty is still in. Chocolate cheesecake, graham cracker crust, and melty chocolate ganache practically begs for some festive little marshmallows, thus- s’mores cheesecake.

S'mores Cheesecake

Before we dive head-first into fish tacos, strawberry daiquiris, and giant slices of watermelon, let’s celebrate the right now with this s’mores cheesecake. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. 
S'mores Cheesecake
 
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S’mores Cheese

This s’mores cheesecake has a buttery graham cracker crust, a rich and creamy chocolate filling, and is slathered with a chocolate ganache before being topped with toasted marshmallows.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 11/2 sleeves of graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the cheesecake

  • 11/2 pounds (3 blocks) of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the ganache

  • 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream

Toppings

  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 sheets of graham crackers, crumbled

Instructions

To prepare the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor to crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined to a wet sand consistency.
  3. Pat crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

To prepare the cheesecake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start a kettle or pot of boiling water on the stove top for the water bath. You’ll need about 3 quarts of water. Wrap your springform pan with crust baked inside securely with aluminum foil. I triple layer and make sure there is no room for the water bath to leak through the pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and cocoa powder, beating an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla, and beat until smooth and no lumps remain, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overbeat.
  3. Using a rubber spatual, push your cheesecake batter through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Pour this mixture into your prepared springform pan.
  4. Place your springform pan into a pan/dish slightly larger than the springform. I use a 10″ round cake pan, but any oven-safe dish with sides will do. Pour water into the water bath pan until the water level reaches almost halfway up the sides of the springform.
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The filling will barely be set but will still jiggle slightly if jostled in the oven. Allow to rest in the oven with the heat turned off and the oven door propped open slightly (I use a wooden spoon) for an additional 30 minutes. Then, transfer the springform pan to the fridge and allow to cool for at least 4 hours or overnight, if possible.
  6. Once cheesecake is cool, remove from pan and prepare the ganache. Microwave the heavy cream on low heat just until it begins to lightly bubble. Remove from microwave and pour over top of the chocolate chips. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Allow to cool slightly- if your ganache is too thin, it will drip down the sides of the cheesecake too quickly. Spoon the ganache over top of the cheesecake and smooth out gently with a spatula. Once you get close to the edges, push the ganache out gently, allowing little trickles of chocolate to cascade down the sides. Allow ganache to set up slightly. Extra ganache will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  7. Top with graham cracker crumbs and and a sprinkling of marshmallows. Toast with a torch or under a low-heat broiler until golden brown.

Notes

  • Cheesecake will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, but marshmallows should be toasted just before eating.
  • Do not overmix your cheesecake batter. Overmixing can cause cracks and holes in your cheesecake.
  • Be sure ingredients, particularly the cream cheese, are room temperature. If they are too cold, clumps will form and you won’t have a smooth and creamy cheesecake.
  • Feel free to adapt this cheesecake! You can opt out of the marshmallows for a double chocolate cheesecake, or layer in peanut butter cups before baking for a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. The world is your oyster!

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Recipe Adapted From: Miette

No-Churn Mocha Brownie Fudge Ice Cream

no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com
Pickles and ice cream- the stereotypical pregnancy craving foods. I will validate 50% of this theory because ice cream has definitely been on my radar lately. In fact, if I had to sum up my pregnancy cravings in one food, it just might be today’s recipe: no-churn mocha fudge brownie ice cream. Yeah, I know, it’s a mouthful. But so is this ice cream, so you’re gonna want to stick around for this one.

At the time of writing this, I am 26 weeks pregnant and just days away from entering my third trimester. According to the pregnancy app on my phone, the baby that I’m currently growing is approximately the size of a green onion. Let’s pause here for a minute, because I really need someone to explain this to me.

Pregnancy Woes

How can a green onion cause even small features like my nose and chin to feel bloated? And what about all this heartburn? Does requiring an Alka-Seltzer after eating nothing more than a slice of toast sound like the mischievous workings of a green onion? I don’t think so. Whoever is coming up with these food/baby comparisons (and I’m thinking it’s gotta be a man) should consider modifying this method of measurement and stick with something that is a little more gentle on a mama’s heart. I don’t want to look at the scale and see that I’ve gained X number of pounds, only to be told that my baby is the size of an avocado pit. That is just rude.

no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com

Mocha Brownie Fudge Ice Cream

But let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about ice cream.
I’m a huge fan of making ice cream the old fashioned way but sometimes you just ain’t got time for that. This no-churn ice cream recipe comes together pretty quickly, requires zero stovetop cooking, and BONUS: BROWNIES. I decided to take easy street on this recipe by using Ghiradelli box brownies, but you could certainly make yours from scratch if you’d like and we will all pat you on the back for being an overachiever.

Making the Ice Cream

We start the ice cream making process by baking up a small pan of good ‘ole boxed brownies with the chic addition of a little bit of espresso, just because. Incidentally, if your toddler eats half of the brownies before you even get started- don’t worry. There will be plenty.
no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com
Once the brownies are cooled and diced, we whip up the rest of the ingredients. Here’s where you will win for being an overachiever: use homemade whipped cream. It’s better that way.  no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com
Add some reserved brownie mix, a bit of Kahlua (because we’re all grown ups here), some hot fudge, and POOF- ice cream.
The hardest part of this process is not actually making the ice cream… it’s waiting for your ice cream to set up in the freezer. You can do like I did and set aside the unfrozen leftovers in the fridge to feed your man friend for dessert. My husband, always the sophisticated palate, said the unfrozen mocha ice cream was “the best thing I’d ever made.” Really? The best thing I’ve ever made is unfrozen ice cream with boxed brownies chopped up in it? [Shakes head]
no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com
The terrific thing about this method of ice cream making is that it’s super adaptable to a number of flavors, and start to finish, this process can take less than an hour. Magic. So give no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream a try. I hear green onions really dig ice cream so if you need me, I’ll be camped out by the freezer. You know, for the baby.
no-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple ice cream that requires no maker or machine. It's whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, flavored with brownie mix and filled with dark hot fudge sauce and bits of brownie pieces. Find the recipe for this creamy summertime favorite, best no churn ice cream on thewoodandspoon.com
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No-Churn Mocha Brownie Fudge Ice Cream

No-churn mocha brownie fudge ice cream: rich, smooth, no-churn mocha ice cream laced with fudge and brownie pieces.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the brownie pieces

  • 1 (20 ounce) box of dark chocolate brownie mix, divided
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg

For the ice cream

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup hot fudge sauce, melted and cooled slightly

Instructions

To prepare the brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray an 8″ metal baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Measure out 1-1/4 cups of brownie mix, sifting out any chocolate chips, and set aside. This will be used later in ice cream.
  3. In a bowl, stir together oil, water, and egg until combined. Add the instant espresso and remaining brownie mix, stirring to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are barely set and the center still looks barely underbaked. Brownies will continue to cook once taken out of oven. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the ice cream

  1. Cut brownies into 1/2″ squares. Set in freezer while preparing other ingredients to keep cool.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, coffee liqueur and 1-1/4 cups of the reserved brownie mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the cold, heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Once combined, fold in the remaining whipped cream. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of the brownie pieces until well combined.
  5. Spoon the brownie ice cream mixture into a standard loaf pan until about 1/3 of the way filled. Drizzle in a bit of hot fudge and drop in a few brownies pieces as well. Repeat this process until the loaf pan is filled.
  6. Allow to set up in a freezer for at least 6 hours.

Notes

  • For a stronger brownie flavor, you can use all of the reserved 1-1/2 cups of brownie mix in the ice cream.
  • The addition of the coffee liquor helps to keep the ice cream smooth and from freezing too hard. If you don’t care for the taste, try adding another type of liquor in its place. If you’d prefer not to use alcohol, be sure to set the ice cream out a couple minutes prior to eating to maintain good scoopability.
  • If you do a really good job about folding your ice cream together gently, you will likely have a cup of the mixture that will not fit in the loaf pan. Feel free to set this aside or freeze in another container.

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Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is the best recipe for a one bowl, soft, moist and fluffy chocolate cake recipe. This cake is made with dark dutch process cocoa and a little espresso coffee powder. Made with oil not butter. This is the best chocolate layer cake recipe you will find and it is so easy! Makes a one layer or layered cake recipe. Find out some helpful tips and technique for making perfect cakes every time on thewoodandspoon.com

Everyone has a go to recipe. It’s the one you’ve made so frequently that you’ve nearly memorized it.  It’s the one you carry with pride into a party and it’s the one you submit to the church cookbook at the end of the year. 

A word on this. Who are the people that are still submitting recipes for gelatinous salads? Are we still eating these things? Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the 1950’s. Unless you’re pouring up that jello mold because you have plans to recreate that scene from “The Office” where Jim puts Dwight’s stapler in a bundt pan of Jell-O then please, let me urge you to reconsider. Maybe it’s my years of working at hospitals or the emotional scarring I’ve endured from having a husband who would rather eat a pudding pack than have a slice of homemade cake, but let the record show that if you bring me Jell-o, or any other food that wiggles in such taunting audacity, we are no longer friends.

I have very few recipes that I’ve created all on my own that I think are really solid, but many to boast of that other creative minds have come up with. One is for chocolate cake. When I first learned about how cool food blogs were, I was testing recipes for my wedding cake. I came across Rosie Alyea’s blog Sweetapolita and fell in major like with her chocolate cake recipe. I have yet to find another one, or even a modification of this one, that tastes better than it currently stands: dark, rich, and incredible fluffy. It’s the recipe I use for everything from wedding cakes to everyday trifles. And because every recipe deserves a fair trial, I have made a pros and cons list:

Pros

  • It’s a one bowl recipe
  • It uses oil instead of butter, so no waiting for butter to soften 
  • It uses dark cocoa powder so no need to chop up bars of chocolate
  • Is easily adaptable to make more or fewer layers
  • Stays fresh for days after baking
  • Freezes well when wrapped in Saran Wrap and foil

 

Cons

  • You will love this cake and subsequently try to eat it all before you’ve even frosted it. Then, when you show up with a tiny one layer cake instead of the 3 layer cake you promised, your friends will ridicule/judge you on account of you eating all of some poor kid’s birthday cake. As a result, you won’t be invited to birthday outings with your friends any longer and everyone will hate you. So basically, if you want to be invited to parties and not be shunned by everyone you’ve ever known, don’t bake this cake. You’ve been warned.Chocolate Cake

This is pretty much all you need to know about this recipe, however, I wanted to share some more tips on cake baking. I haven’t been baking long, but as a self-taught, amateur baker, I know that freebie tips on cake baking are worth their weight in gold. So here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Use room temperature ingredients. The ingredients in most cake recipes will emulsify together better when not at extreme temperatures. So what do you do when you forget to set your ingredients out in advance? Set your eggs in a cup of warm water to quickly bring to room temperature and feel free to nuke milk in the microwave at a low temperature in 10 second intervals till it’s no longer ice cold. As for the butter: consider slicing it into tablespoon pads and resting at room temperature while you set out the rest of your ingredients, or, nuke in the microwave for 8 seconds per side of butter.
  2. Use parchment paper. Yes, it can be a pain to cut out rounds of parchment, but I use it every time. Why? Because the only thing more annoying that cutting out parchment rounds is baking a beautiful cake only to have chunks of it remain stuck to the innards of your pan. If you’re feeling really aggressive, you can purchase pre-cut rounds of parchment online and they make life so much easier. Just do it.
  3. Do not overmix. If you read a recipe that says “mix just until combined”, do just that. Overmixing your batter will cause your cake to be chewy and dense… not usually what we’re going for.
  4. Make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh. If you open your cabinet and the baking soda says it expired in 2009, throw it out. I’m talking to you, Mom.
  5. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, don’t fret! I sometimes will use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every scant cup of milk when I need a quick substitute for real buttermilk. Works like a charm.
  6. Don’t overbake! Toothpicks cost like, $1 at the store. And I’m pretty sure you can steal them from hostess stands at most chain restaurants. So keep some on hand and when the cake looks just barely firm in the middle and is no longer jiggling in the pan, test it. Moist crumbs should come out. If it’s not done, set the timer for one minute and try again. And in the midst of all that checking, try not to open and close the oven too much. You’ll end up with a  cake crater big enough to put your face in. On second thought, this isn’t such a terrible outcome so do whatever you want. No judgement here.
  7. Allow to cool a bit in the pan before flipping out on to a cooling rack.

 

For more on chocolate cakes, check out my Instagram here — typically chocolate cake overload. I’ll be sharing some decorating how-to’s in the near future so stay tuned!

 

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Chocolate Cake

This recipe for chocolate cake is rich, moist, easy to make, and the only recipe you’ll ever need for chocolate cake.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 21/4 cups (270 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 21/4 cups (450 gm) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (60 gm) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 21/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 21/4 teaspoons corn starch
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs (180 gm), room temperature
  • 11/4 cups (300 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (180 mL) black coffee, hot
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
  • 11/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8″) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, loosely combine all of the wet ingredients and these to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for just shy of 2 minutes, scraping the bowl (and bottom of bowl!) twice throughout.
  3. Pour equal amounts of batter in to all 3 pans. Carefully place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is just barely set and toothpick comes out of cake almost clean. Allow to cool in the pans and on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then remove from pans to continue the cooling process. Cake will stay fresh for several days if covered, or, for one month if wrapped well in saran wrap and frozen in freezer.

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Recipe Adapted From: Rosie Alyea