Pamela’s Simply Rich Chocolate Cake

We don’t eat many sweets in our house, ever since initiating what Natalie calls our “great dietary refinement” (in 2007).  However, birthdays and special celebrations call for a delicious chocolate cake, which has half the sugar of most cakes.  Our friend Maria requests this cake for her birthday every year.  Here is Natalie about to blow out candles on a single-layer version on her 15th birthday.

Pamela’s Simply Rich (vs. Sweet) Single or Double-Layer Chocolate Cake (or 24 Cupcakes)

No need for fancy tools or electric beaters:  a big bowl, a big spoon (a wood one is nice), measuring spoons, a measuring cup, cake or cupcake pan (unbleached cupcake papers will make clean-up easier).  Recent discovery: I have gotten into the habit of using my heavy-duty whisk for beating cakes.  I love how it feels.  If you want to make a single layer cake or 12 cupcakes, simply cut ingredients in half.


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup of sugar

2/3 cup cocoa

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup cooking oil (I use walnut or olive oil)

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2/3 cup buttermilk (or I often substitute plain yogurt or plain kefir)

Mix dry ingredients.  Add butter, oil and water, beat for 2 minutes with electric beater or 100 times or so with a wooden spoon.  Add vanilla, eggs and buttermilk (yogurt or kefir); beat an additional 50-100 times (depending on how strong your arm muscle is).  Pour into buttered and dusted (with flour) round cake pans (1 pan if making a single layer).  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 or so minutes (when a toothpick or sharp knife comes out clean after poking the center of the cake).  Cool and then turn on to a plate.

For frosting a double layer cake or 24 cupcakes:  Soften (put out on counter) a stick of good organic unsalted or slightly salted butter and then drop into a good sized bowl, stir in at least ½ cup of cocoa (more for dark chocolate flavor), stir in 2 cups of powdered sugar, a small teacup of water (enough for stirring to your desired consistency), and 1 tsp of real vanilla.   For single layer cake or 12 cupcakes: Cut all ingredients in half.

Whoever is lucky enough to walk through the kitchen after the cake is frosted gets to lick spoon or bowl — 🙂

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