Monday, May 4, 2009

Cocoa cake

Such a dilemma!
What to do with all that wonderful cocoa. Union Bakery in South Pasadena sells this kilo bag for $20. It will make a life time supply of mochas. (one teaspoon plus two teaspoons sugar, mixed with a tablespoon hot coffee, add more coffee and milk to taste)

Or, a number of delectable cocoa cakes.
A cocoa cake is an unusual creature: it's a cake without eggs, without much fuss, and the topping seeps through to the bottom of the pan as it bakes, creating a marvelous mess of cocoa goo. Hershey's must have popularized it. I grew up eating my grandmother's version (she even shipped it off to me in college, where, I confess, I hoarded it all to myself). When I served it to my husband, he recognized it as what his mother calls, Black Magic on Halloween. Ah those Brits: they do have a way with naming their desserts!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a brownie pan.

  • Mix one cup flour with 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder.
  • To 1/2 cup of milk add 2 tbls melted shortening; mix into the dry ingredients.

You will have a stunningly unappealing dough. Smooth it, stretch it out across the bottom of your brownie pan.

  • Mix 5 tblsp cocoa with 1 cup brown sugar. Sprinkle this on top of your cake dough.
  • Gently pour 1 1/3 cup hot water over the sugar mixture; place in oven

Bake 40-45 minutes--the topping will have sunk to the bottom, and the top of the cake will be a dark crinkly brown.

Dollops of Cool Whip make a delightful contrast. Try it, and tell me what you think.


  1. Ok. I'm going to try it this week. It sounds fantastic. Should I invest in that particular cocoa? Is it truly superior?

  2. I never knew it was so easy to make a cafe mocha! Thanks. And don't get me started on British names for stuff, food or otherwise.

  3. Petrea: I never know what's too obvious to post, so, I'm glad it worked!
    Susan: Swing by, I've literally pounds of the stuff.
    Margaret: This brand is indeed superior. Hey, it's "Brute", like my men.