Chocolate Cake for One (Or Two) (& tastes)

There was a period of time in college where I wanted nothing to do with chocolate.

Didn’t care for it. Not the sight of it, the smell of it, and especially not the taste of it.

This continued for about a year. Not wanting anything chocolate flavored or related or even tangentially connected to it. And this was way back when I worked at a candy magazine and was constantly surround by chocolates of all varieties. It was a dark time.

Thank god that’s over.

The distaste was merely a blip, a nonevent in my tastebuds’ lives. Now, blessedly, I love chocolate once more. Can’t get enough of it, actually.

My favorite way to eat it? In cake.

This cake, specifically. Perfectly portioned and easily prepared – it requires no mixer and minimal prep. I’d be inclined to call it my “Single Lady Cake” if I weren’t happily betrothed to the man of my dreams. But, since we won’t be cohabitating until the Big Day, I suppose we could still call this my “Single Lady Cake” – the one I make weekly and nosh on each day. Little by little, watching it disappear, relishing in the chocolaty flavor.

And, occasionally, sharing with Seth.

Easy Chocolate Cake For One (or Two)

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. instant coffee granules

½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup sour cream, at room temperature

½ cup whole milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray, set aside.

Set a large mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and coffee into it. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugar together – adding the eggs and vanilla, whisking until pale and thick. Whisk in the sour cream until just combined.

Working in three batches, add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, ending with the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined.

Divide the batter equally among prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched and edges just barely begin to pull away from sides.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for ten minutes before turning out of pans and cooling completely to room temperature.

Frost cooled layers with a generous amount of chocolate cream cheese frosting, recipe follows.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

4oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup cocoa powder

1 pound powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3 – 4 TBSP whole milk

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – cream the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and 2 TBSP of the milk. With the mixer on low, begin to whip the frosting until light and fluffy, increasing speed as the powdered sugar is incorporated to avoid creating a complete disaster. Add more milk if necessary until a light, fluffy, chocolaty frosting is produced.

Place one cooled layer of cake on cake stand and cover with a generous amount of frosting. Add second layer and top with more frosting, bringing it down along the sides. Smooth frosting with an offset spatula and add a swirl to the top, if desired.

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