Recipe and Story: Food Processor Chocolate Cake
Most food processor owners don’t know how versatile their machines really are. Making cakes is something the food processor does extremely well and extremely fast. In the 1980s, Abby Mandel developed a technique by thinking out of the box. And an entirely new method of making cakes was born.
Instead of creaming the butter and sugar with the metal blade and then adding in eggs, the traditional mixer method, she turned everything topsy turvy and processed the eggs and sugar first, then added the butter. Any other liquid was added next, and finally the flour was blended in with a few very quick pulses. This method has stood the test of time, and I often use it to great satisfaction.
In my book Food Processor Cooking Quick and Easy, I have several cake recipes, and one of my favorites is Kentucky Chocolate Cake. It’s a moist chocolate cake baked in a sheet pan and frosted with an ultra creamy and smooth chocolate icing. I make both the cake and the icing with the food processor.
Food Processor Kentucky Chocolate Cake
- Food processor
- 13 x 9 x 2" baking pan
- 2 cups sifted cake flour 7 ounces
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped or broken into coarse pieces
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 ounces - at room temperature, cut into 6 pieces
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 ounces, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and dust lightly all over with all-purpose flour. Knock out excess flour.
- For the flour, sift more than you need onto a square of waxed paper and spoon lightly into dry measuring cup. Two cups should weigh 7 ounces.
- Put the flour into a medium bowl, add the baking soda and salt, and whisk together thoroughly, about 30 seconds, to combine well and to aerate.
- Insert metal blade into the work bowl and add the broken up chocolate.
- Pulse 3 times for about 1 second each, then process continuously until chocolate is finely chopped, about 1 minute.
- With the machine running, pour boiling water through the feed tube and process 30 seconds. Scrape work bowl and process a few seconds more. Mixture should be smooth and chocolate completely dissolved. If necessary, process a few seconds longer.
- With the machine on, add the ice water through the feed tube and process 5 seconds.
- Add the buttermilk and process 5 seconds.
- Transfer liquid to a 2-cup measure with a pouring spout (scrape it thoroughly out of the work bowl) and let cool completely.
- Do not wash the work bowl. Re-assemble bowl and metal blade. Put the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the work bowl.
- Process for 1 full minute. Scrape the bowl and add the butter pieces.
- Process until smooth, another 1 minute.
- Add the chocolate liquid and process for 10 seconds. The batter will be very thin.
- Scrape the work bowl well and add dry ingredients on top.
- Now here’s the important part. Pulse 4 times in all, very rapidly, a fraction of a second each, only as long as it takes to say on/off, to incorporate the flour. There will probably be a few specks of flour sitting on top of the batter and on the sides of the work bowl. The point is not to over-activate the gluten or the cake will be tough. So go easy.If all the flour has not been incorporated, use the plastic scraper to stir it into the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. It will level itself.
- Let stand on your counter top 5 to 10 minutes to give the flour particles time to absorb the liquid.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and the edges of the cake pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake
- Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
- Run a small sharp knife around the sides of the cake to release, and cover with a wire cooling rack. Invert the two and lift off the cake pan. Cover the cake with another wire rack and invert again to cool right side up.
- For the frosting, put the chocolate into a small metal bowl and set the bowl into 1-inch of water in a medium-size skillet over medium heat.
- Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula as the chocolate melts. (Be sure no droplets of water accidentally get into the chocolate or it will seize and not melt properly).
- When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the heat and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.
- In a clean work bowl with a clean metal blade, add the sugar, butter, vanilla, and 1 egg and process for 2 minutes, stopping machine 2 or 3 times to scrape the work bowl.
- Add the remaining egg and process 30 seconds. Add the melted chocolate.
- Process 30 seconds. Scrape the work bowl and process a few seconds more. The frosting should be very smooth and creamy and the sugar should be completely dissolved
- Process a few seconds more if necessary. The frosting may be too soft to spread at this point.
- Let stand a few minutes for frosting to set and process a few seconds more. Use the frosting as soon as it is of spreading consistency.
Frosting the Cake
- Cover the cake with a serving platter and invert.
- Remove wire rack. Cake is now bottom side up and has lines on it left by the wire cooling rack.
- Tear 4 strips of waxed paper about 3 inches wide and about 15 inches long and slide them under the edges of the cake to keep the platter clean as you frost the sides of the cake.
- Scrape all of the frosting onto the cake.
- Use an offset metal spatula to spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake, making a thicker layer on top.
- Carefully remove waxed paper strips. Let stand until frosting is set before serving.