February 14, 2011

Winning Hearts & Minds Chocolate Cake


The other night, Casey and I had a discussion about chocolate cake. He seems to think that the best part of chocolate cake is the frosting. I disagree. I think the CAKE in chocolate cake is the best part. I’m actually one of those people who scrapes the frosting off chocolate cake and leaves it to the side of my plate. Does that make you think less of me? I hope not… It’s just too much chocolate for me to take! I always make sure to give Casey my extra frosting. This is love.

winning hearts & minds chocolate cake

This cake is the perfect compromise for both of us. A cake that needs NO frosting because it’s moist, delicate, fluffy and oh so fudge-y. Frosting on top of this cake would be absolutely insane. I do believe that a light dusting of powdered sugar spruces it up and makes it cute!  Slightly sweetened whipped cream makes is decadent but somehow even lighter! Who would have thought that was possible? See the heart on top? I made this sweet little cake for our Valentine’s Day last year and in the course of a few days that cake disappeared hunk by hunk from the kitchen counter. It’s no wonder Molly decided to serve this cake as her wedding cake. Hope you win some Hearts & Minds this Valentine’s Day! XOXO

And we’re off!

Gather your fancy pants ingredients. Don’t skimp. Get the good stuff!

the good stuff

Melt the chocolate & the butter together. Add in the sugar & let the mixture cool, slightly.

sugar sugar

Now it’s time for the eggs! Add them in and mix well! Then add your flour. Super easy alert!


Pour the batter into your buttered/parchment lined pan. Now bake!

into the pan

Let the cake cool and then invert it!

outta the oven

When the cake has cooled, you can dust it with powdered sugar.

Here’s my little heart template I cut out of parchment.

powdered sugaring

Say hello to one of the best/easiest chocolate cakes you’ll ever make.

the side

It definitely won my HEART and MIND.

Winning Hearts & Minds Chocolate Cake

Serves 8 (or two people in my case!)

(recipe from Molly Wizenberg)

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) best-quality dark chocolate
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) unsalted European-style butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.

Finely chop the chocolate with a serrated knife and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth, dark, and utterly gorgeous. (don’t you just love Molly’s writing?)

Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. (I usually set the timer for 20 minutes initially, and then I check the cake every two minutes thereafter until it’s done. At 20 minutes, it’s usually quite jiggly in the center. You’ll know it’s done when it jiggles only slightly, if at all.) Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward.  Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools.

Serve in wedges at room temperature with a loose dollop of ever-so-slightly sweetened whipped cream.

  • Vanessa

    YUMMY! I like a small amount of frosting on my cake but this…..hats off to you Tracy!

  • heather

    Ditto on scraping off cake frosting as the norm, ditto to this cake needing no frosting, ditto to the easy alert, and ditto to it being one of the best cakes around. It was the first thing my (now) fiancée and I cooked “together” while living thousands of miles apart when we began dating. It won us over so much, and has such a special place in our hearts, that we will also be baking pans and pans of this cake for our wedding in Autumn. Love your sugar heart here.

    Cheers and happy Valentine’s Day,


    • Tracy

      That makes this recipe much sweeter! *sooo cute!* How many cakes do you have to make for your wedding?! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

      • heather

        Haven’t nailed down the exact number of guests yet, but we’re expecting 150-175, for which we’d plan about 20 cakes, maybe a couple more. We froze some cakes a while back to test how they held up to that plus the thaw, and it was quite successful. So I guess that’s a good tip — they freeze well, wrapped tightly in plastic, then foil and then a freezer zip-top bag!


  • Jaclyn

    there’s nothing better than a super-simple, super-delicious chocolate cake! and i’m totally with you, i hate an overly-frosted cake. sure, they’re pretty, but i feel like i need a root canal after eating even a tiny piece. i like the idea that less frosting means i get to eat a bigger piece of cake. mmmmm gluttony.

  • kickpleat

    Obvs we’ve got the same taste buds – i love cake more than frosting, for sure! And this is my most favorite cake ever. I should make it again as it’s been a long, long time. So good with a barely sweetened whipped cream!

  • KosherCorvid

    I like frosting on some cakes, but I tend to go light on it. It is definitely not the best part, nor should it be. If the frosting is the best part, you need better cake. That said, I wouldn’t say no to a peanut butter ganache on a dark chocolate layer cake.

  • Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl

    I usually favor the frosting but with this recipe, you could convert me. Yum!

    <3 nearsightedowl.com

  • deepa

    oh not much flour here, i love gooey flourless (or nearly flourless) cake. yum.

    I like frosting but I don’t judge you 😉

  • Katrina

    This cake looks fabulous!

  • Jess

    looks decadent and beyond sinful, so perfectly valentine’s day.
    triple chocolate cake balls

  • Dana

    We are of the same mind. Frosting is gloppy in my opinion and almost always overly sweet. I’m glad to know that the cake deserves all the rave reviews!

  • Michelle

    This looks delicious. My husband is a frosting fanatic. He’d love it if I left mine piled on the side of my plate. 🙂

  • Jessica

    YES. I’ve made a very similar cake before, and it was so crazy decadent. Usually I’m not big on chocolate cake (I know..), but this is a different story! The powdered sugar heart is a great touch.

  • JennD@Worlds Best Information

    OMG…surely its have MIND BLOWING delicious TASTE…..I would definately TRY this feel SAD that I got it after VALENTINE…..I like idea of HEART SHAPE….This would be mine next valentine SURPRISE. Thanks a lots….

  • flovocasa

    This cake is awesome! I baked it yesterday for the office and surprise, surprise after 20 minutes it was gone 😉 I used raspberry flavoured dark chocolate and the taste was amazing!

  • Jheri

    Insanely delicious. It reminds me of this cake I used to get from a little shop near where I went to college. It was called decadent chocolate cake and this is very close to that cake. This was soooo good.

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  • Raquel

    I’m doing your cake right now.. the thing is I’m really wondering how long is a moment… You m ention it a couple of times there and i don’t know how much is that!!! 🙂

  • Lisa [With Style and Grace]

    I love how simple, yet beautiful this cake is! Perfect for a last minute Valentine’s day dessert.

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  • Alice

    Should this cake be refrigerated?

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