Quick Cocoa Cake


This recipe first appeared in Joy’s 1943 edition as “Hurry Up Cake.” It has the advantage of being mixed in one bowl (a bowl and a spatula will virtually be your only clean up if you use a scale to weigh the ingredients). We like to pair chocolate cakes with light, fluffy frostings, and here we use a whipped cream that is souped up with the addition of sour cream (mascarpone or crème fraîche will work too). The added gelatin stabilizes the whipped cream, preventing it from breaking down and weeping, meaning you can assemble this cake several hours ahead of time. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated.


Quick Cocoa Cake


One 8-inch, two-layer cake (serves 10 to 12)


Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70°F. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour two 8 × 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.


Whisk together in a large bowl or mix in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment:

           1½ cups (165g) cake flour or 1¼ cups (155g) all-purpose flour

           1 cup (200g) sugar

           ¼ cup (25g) Dutch-process cocoa powder

           1½ teaspoons baking powder

           ½ teaspoon salt

Add and mix for 1 minute at medium speed:

           2 large eggs

           ½ cup (120g) milk

           1 teaspoon vanilla 

Beat in:

            1 stick (4oz or 115g) unsalted butter, softened

for 1 minute at low speed. Scrape the bowl. Beat for 30 seconds at medium-high speed.

Scrape the batter into the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife, unmold, and cool right side up on the rack.


When the cake has cooled completely, prepare the topping. Combine in a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment:

           2 cups heavy cream

           1 cup sour cream

           1/4 cup sugar

Pour into a small, heatproof cup or bowl:

           1 tablespoon cool water

Sprinkle with:

           1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Let the gelatin soften for 5 minutes. Place the cup in a pan of simmering water until the gelatin is melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Whip the heavy cream mixture until it starts to thicken. With the mixer running, add the melted gelatin in a thin stream. Continue to beat to stiff but not grainy peaks.

Spread a little less than half the whipped cream on the bottom cake layer. Top with the second cake layer, and spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. Garnish heavily with:

           Fresh berries



A New Generation of JOY


In the nearly ninety years since Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking, it has become the kitchen bible, with more than 20 million copies in print. This new edition of Joy has been thoroughly revised and expanded by Irma’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott. They developed more than six hundred new recipes for this edition, tested and tweaked thousands of classic recipes, and updated every section of every chapter to reflect the latest ingredients and techniques available to today’s home cooks. Their strategy for revising this edition was the same one Irma and Marion employed: Vet, research, and improve Joy’s coverage of legacy recipes while introducing new dishes, modern cooking techniques, and comprehensive information on ingredients now available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Joy is and has been the essential and trusted guide for home cooks for almost a century. This new edition continues that legacy.


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