Did you know that today is Chocolate Cake Day? I had no idea this celebration existed, until a few days ago when I read it somewhere and thought to myself: what a great excuse to eat a big piece of chocolate cake!
I don’t think this recipe for a rich, fudgy and syrup-drenched cake is originally from Peru, but it’s hugely popular in Lima, and I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t eaten this addictive cake at a birthday party celebration once or many times. Street vendors, restaurants, cafes, corner stores…they all sell this decadent homemade confection, too tempting for anyone to resist it.
My mom learned how to bake it many years ago, when my children were born. She used to go to cooking classes when she visited us in Lima, and she soon became an expert in Peruvian cuisine. She then taught me the recipe, which I then passed to Amelia (our cook), and everybody at home was happy having this delightful cake very often.
The preparation is simple, and you don´t even need a mixer to make it. What is somewhat time consuming is the fudge, which has you slaving away over the stove, stirring the milks with the cocoa until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan. Then you have to wait until it´s cool enough to handle, but don’t worry about wasting your time because the result is spectacular.
For me, every moment is a good moment to have a big chunk of chocolate cake, besides birthdays and other celebrations. I love to have it with a big glass of cold milk, or a cup of coffee, and some of my favorite moments to indulge are:
1. When I´m happy
2. When I´m sad
3. When I´m angry
4. When something wonderful happens to me
5. When I´ve had a bad day
6. When I´m hungry
7. When I´m not hungry but I´m craving something sweet
8. When I can´t sleep
9. When I have to work and I´m procrastinating (mainly thinking about chocolate cake!)
10. When I’m watching a movie
Well… as you can see, I have endless excuses! What excuses do you have?
- 3 cups cake flour
- 8 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup cocoa
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 1 can unsweetened evaporated milk
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Grease a ring baking pan and cover the bottom with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a big bowl sift flour, cocoa, coffee, salt, baking soda.
- Make a well in the center and add oil, milk, vinegar, vanilla, eggs, and sugar. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Pour in the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour. Let cool.
- Put water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves and cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add vanilla essence and cool.
- Stir cocoa in hot water until dissolved. In a saucepan put evaporated milk, condensed milk and cocoa, cook over medium-low heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat and add butter. If it´s too thick, add a little milk to it.
- Slice the cake in three layers.
- Pour some syrup on every layer.
- Spread fudge on the first layer, cover with another cake layer. Repeat.
- Frost the cake with fudge and sprinkle with toasted nuts or almonds.