Recipe: Moist spelt chocolate cake

Dry ingredients (and a few others).
Dry ingredients (and a few others).

I had grand visions of making a wonderful and exciting cake for our Friday group seminar (whoever gives the previous seminar brings cake the next time), but (a) life happened and (b) I was a bit worried nobody would like it. Plus, (c) I was curious to try a cake recipe that was actually written with spelt flour in mind. This one happened to require no specialty ingredients, and was billed as “moist,” which I took to mean “does not require frosting (particularly when served at 10:30 am).” My one reservation was that the recipe called for boiling water to be added to the batter at the end. I was afraid this would cook the eggs, but decided to give it a shot, albeit with 3/4 cup of warm water instead of 1 cup of boiling water. (I made this adjustment because I was using medium eggs instead of large, so I figured the cake might fall apart if I added all the water.

Batter without the added water: definitely too dry (it's a very thick, cookie-dough-ish consistency).
Batter without the added water: definitely too dry (it’s a very thick, cookie-dough-ish consistency).
Batter with the added water: thinner than normal cake batter. I think there should be a happy medium somewhere.
Batter with the added water: significantly thinner than normal cake batter. I think there should be a happy medium somewhere.

Did the risk pay off? Well, it’s just about the moistest cake I’ve ever made! Not the best structural integrity (it tended to stick to the pan and serving utensils), but it held together reasonably well. The flavor was good, neither too rich nor too sweet, and the wholegrain flour gave it an extra bit of complexity without seeming like an apology for being cake.  I misjudged the number of cupcakes I needed to make, so my cake overflowed its pan a little bit. It also sank in the middle; combined with the sticking-to-the-pan issues, this means I wouldn’t use the recipe for a layer cake. Next time, I’d try reducing the amount of water to 1/2 cup. My research group seemed to think it was okay, so I guess I’ll keep the recipe in mind for my future non-vegan chocolate cake needs.

Not quite sure why the weird shape formed on the top there...but it turned out moist and tasty!
Not quite sure why the weird shape formed on the top there…but it turned out moist and tasty!

Moist Spelt Chocolate Cake

Yield: 1 9″ x 13″ cake (or 1 8″ x 10″ cake + ~6-8 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Food.com.

2 c raw or granulated sugar (brown will clump)
1.75 c spelt flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1 c thin plain yogurt or milk
1/2 c butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c boiling/hot water

Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking pan. Heat oven to 350 F/175 C.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, yogurt/milk, melted butter, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (or stir until well combined). Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost if desired.

Serving suggestion: pretty good plain with tea! But I can see it going well with a chocolate or other flavored frosting (raspberry, orange, coconut, mint…), and/or vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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