One day, not very long ago, I found myself without a dessert. I had poorly planned my weekly menu (which hardly ever happens), so I needed to come up with something on the fly, with the ingredients I had on hand. A quick look through my bookmarked recipes turned up Cook’s Illustrated’s best easy chocolate cake, which was absolutely perfect! It was indeed super easy to make, and I didn’t need to run out to the store for anything. Best of all, it was delicious! Even better than another everyday chocolate cake I had tried previously. (If you want a gluten-free version, you could probably just swap the wheat flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, though I haven’t tried it. I can, however, vouch for this gluten-free fudge cake by A Girl Defloured, who’s got a great name for her blog!)
1 ½ cups (7.5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. table salt
½ cup (2 oz.) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60%)
1 cup black coffee, hot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar or lactose-free whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (or grease it your preferred way).
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate; pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk in mayonnaise, egg, and vanilla. Stir mayonnaise mixture into flour mixture until combined.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares, and serve straight from the pan. Alternatively, you can invert the pan onto a plate, then invert again onto a serving platter, and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.