This chef recipe is from Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston.
There was a time, early on in my career, when I believed that if something was low in fat, it must be dry and tasteless. Then I realized that some of my favorite desserts—Häagen-Dazs mango sorbet, angel food cake, rochers (those billowy, almondy, chewy-yet-crispy meringue cookies that I discovered while bakery hopping in France)—are naturally low in fat. The beauty of this recipe is that if you don’t tell anyone, they probably won’t guess that it is low-fat. It also happens to be vegan. It tastes incredibly rich, is supermoist, and its bittersweet chocolate flavor is highlighted by the espresso powder. As a bonus, it isn’t too sweet, unlike so many low-fat dessert offerings. It is very easy to prepare and a great recipe for beginning bakers.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1. Position a rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 6-inch round cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together water, oil, vanilla and molasses. Pour water mixture into flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth and homogeneous. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in middle with a fingertip. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Then invert pan onto rack, lift off pan, turn cake right side up, and let cool completely.
4. Just before serving, dust top with confectioners’ sugar.
5. Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Makes one 6-inch cake.