Chocolate Cake with Grandma’s Chocolate Frosting

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This chocolate cake is very basic chocolate cake, something that my mom used to make when I was a kid. It is not as soft as a sponge cake, and not as rich and gooey as a brownie, it is somewhere in between, and a very standard cake texture for Danish cakes.
My mom used to bake a whole pan filling the entire oven for cake fundraisers and similar when I was kid, she would decorate it with colored icing, usually a landscape with a rainbow. The rainbow pieces always got sold first :). Sometimes, she would use Grandma’s frosting, which is richer than icing, and not too sweet. I love it, and it reminds me of being a kid.

Cake Ingredients (recipe translated and adapted from God Mad Let at Lave, a basic Danish cookbook)

  • 200g sugar ( 7 oz)
  • 150g soft butter (about 1.5 stick) (if using unsalted butter, add a little salt with the flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • 50g melted chocolate
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar*
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 200g all purpose flour (7 oz)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • *Note: Vanilla sugar is often used in Danish recipes, it is powdered sugar with some vanilla seeds in. The sugar absorbs the flavor wonderfully. You can make this by scraping vanilla seeds into some icing sugar and keep in a patent jar, or you can simply substitute liquid vanilla essence about 1 to 1.

Method

1. Grease a cake pan (9×13 inches or a little smaller, 9×9 is probably too small) and preheat oven to 175 C.

1. For this one, an electric mixer gives the best result.  Mix the softened butter with the sugar until smooth.

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2. Add one egg at a time and mix after each.

3. Add the melted chocolate, and vanilla (if using). The add the instant coffee.

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4. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, flour and orange zest.

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5. Scrape everything into you pan and spread in an even layer.

I used a 10x14 pan, and it was definitely too big, making them come out as bars more than cake

I used a 10×14 pan, and it was definitely too big, making them come out as bars more than cake

6. Bake for 45 min or so, less time for a bigger pan. When I toothpick inserted comes out clear it is done, start checking around 2-30 min mark in using a 9×13 pan.

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7. Let cool completely before frosting.

You can eat it without frosting too, use icing sugar frosting or any other kind of favorite frosting. Below is Grandma’s frosting, and you need about 2 portions for this cake.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (unsalted)*
  • 1- 1.5 tbsp pasteurized egg or egg substitute (or 1/2 egg)
  • *Note: The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of melted butter, and 2 tbsp of melted solid coconut oil. I don’t see coconut oil in the stores here in the US, and besides it has very high level of saturated fat. It was used for frying a lot when I was little, but I am not even sure you can get it easily in Denmark today. Vegetable shortening might be a better substitute than butter if you keep it around.

Method:

1. Mix everything together, it should create a shiny, not too thin frosting.

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2. Spread on your cake and enjoy!

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Due to the eggs and dairy in this one, it doesn’t keep for that long, but as long as you are using pasteurized eggs I personally don’t think you need to keep the cake in the fridge.

Of course, growing up we just used eggs, and no one seemed to get bad even if we ate it a few days later.

The cake and frosting are both very easy and fast to make, and a sure crowd pleaser. It is easy to double and bring along to an event.

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