Sunday, November 21, 2010

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake: A Choco-Loving Dieter's Dream

Back in April, I told you that there was only one chocolate cake recipe you would ever need to know and you'd be set.

But apparently... I told you all a little white lie.

You see, sometimes The Only Chocolate Cake Recipe You'll Ever Need looks in the mirror and says, "Yikes. I could stand to lose a few pounds."

And by "cake" I actually mean... my dad.  He's on a diet.

Technically, it's one he started a while back but kind of fell off the wagon for a bit.  Now he's back on Nutrisystem, and he's looking better than ever.  More importantly, he says he feels great too.

He has lost a total of 60 pounds since January 2009!

Pretty awesome.

Now yesterday was his birthday, but my stepmom doesn't really get down with the baking so I'm usually in charge of birthday treats.  And my dad loves chocolate as much as I do, so it's typically a no-brainer.

However, I knew that with the current diet restrictions, Pammy Vittles' delicious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is strictly off limits.

What's a girl to do?  

So I took to Eating Well in the hopes that I would find something yummy... without tasting like rubber.

I was a little nervous bringing something I had never tried to dinner, especially for a birthday occasion.  But then again I figured even bad chocolate cake beats no chocolate cake, so what the heck?

Well let me tell you - I did not need to worry.  I'm not dieting (although after eating all that chocolate peanut butter pie last week maybe I should be) but I can honestly say that I enjoyed this cake.

I mean, it looks a bit diminutive compared to your typical multi-layered, frosted masterpiece (I was slightly embarrassed to bring it to the restaurant) but it tastes as moist and fudgy as one loaded with fat.  My hubby and stepmom agreed, and they are both vanilla lovers so that says a lot.

Pappy Vittles, on the other hand, was entranced by the mere sight of chocolate cake - I think that it could have been sawdust mixed into melted chocolate and he still would have devoured it.

Or maybe it was just general giddiness over being the Birthday Boy?

Let's face it - you're never too old for cake & presents!

Either way, a good time was had by all.  And I now have a lower-fat & calorie* version to add to my chocolate cake repertoire... of one :)

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour (**see Ingredient Notes)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (**see Ingredient Notes)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot strong black coffee
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan with a circle of parchment or waxed paper & grease that as well.

Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the parchment/waxed paper and let cool completely. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before slicing.

12 Servings

*Nutrition facts per serving: 139 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 18 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 60 mg potassium.

**Ingredient Notes: 
1.  If you don't have nonfat buttermilk, but you do have milk, you can make your own 'sour' milk to substitute.  For this recipe that calls for 1/2 C. buttermilk, you would put 1 1/2 t. white vinegar in the bottom of a measuring cup.  Then fill up to the 1/2 C. mark with nonfat or lowfat milk.  Voila! 
2.  Don't be tempted to use regular whole wheat flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour.  The cake will be much more dense.

Recipe from


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  3. Can I make the sour milk with almond milk? Any substitute for coffee if I don't like the taste of coffee?

    1. Hi Becca - I've never tried to sour almond milk, not sure if it would work... probably wouldn't have the same tang. But I don't think it would hurt to try it? Also, the cake does NOT taste like coffee at all - the coffee just gives a greater richness to the chocolate. So I think it will be ok for you to leave it in, even if you don't like coffee. Hope this helps!


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