Thursday, May 16, 2013

Easiest Chocolate Cake... and Chorizo and Chickpea Ragu

I love that the blogger whom I got this recipe from states that this chocolate cake is enough for two chocoholics, or  six regular people. I made this yesterday afternoon and there is only one small piece left. There were only three of us at dinner! Well there were six, but three were toddlers who were not partaking of the chocolate-coffee goodness. Although I must admit that my toddler had a small piece when he got up this morning at 5:30. (His mommy needed the cake - it was the only thing tethering my sanity to the obscenely early hour.) He stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. I've never seen him devour anything so quickly! I can't say I blame him.

This cake is so easy and so good! I was highly skeptical that a chocolate cake without dairy or eggs would turn out. But it vaulted over my expectations. Another dangerous weapon in my arsenal against 3pm chocolate cravings!

Easy Chocolate Stout Cake
adapted from mrslarkin on

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, or white spelt, flour 
1 cup granulated sugar 
7 tablespoons cocoa powder, not dutched
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup Guinness Stout 
1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee 
1/4 cup water 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar 
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set oven rack to middle. Grease an 8” cake pan.

Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

In a measuring cup, measure out the coffee, guinness and water. Stir in the vanilla and vinegar. Dump into the flour mixture and stir until almost all combined. Then add the vegetable oil and mix until smooth and silky.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Check with cake tester, which should come out very slightly moist. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.

Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve.


At baby dinner last night, I also served some non-dessert food (honest). And it was this recipe that my two friends both asked for. So, S and E, here it is!

I served this with pasta but I think it would be better over boiled new potatoes or brown basmati rice. This was a hit with my toddler and my husband too - although the other two toddlers at dinner were not as into it; it does have strong wonderful flavors! Yum.

We didn't have any leftovers, but I have a feeling this is a dish that would taste even better the next day.

Chorizo and Chickpea Ragu
adapted from Joanna Weinberg on

300g fresh cooking chorizo (or any good pork sausage, plus 4 extra cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika)
250g pancetta, chopped
1 large red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 tbsp dried oregano
400g passata (salted tomato puree)
2 cans chickpeas in salted water

In a large saucepan over medium heat saute the pancetta in a little bit of olive oil until just turning crispy. Add the onions and red peppers and saute until the onion is soft.

Meanwhile, take the sausages and cut them with a sharp knife down the center lengthwise. Peel off the sausage casing so that you have a bunch of ground up sausage and no casings. When the onion is soft, put the sausage meat in the pan and cook until cooked through,  breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon.

Add the garlic and oregano and saute one minute. Stir in the passata and the chickpeas, one can drained and one can with the water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

Serve over new potatoes, rice or pasta, garnish with some chopped parsley, and enjoy!

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