Every once in a while, something extra special is called for after school. I’ve found snack cakes to be just thing: they are indulgent but not over-the-top fancy, and can be cut into small pieces. Reasons to celebrate? Perfect spelling test scores, finishing science projects, not fighting with siblings while waiting for the bus, and sometimes just getting to Friday night.
Adapted from Hand Made Baking: Recipes to Warm the Heart
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or natural)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hot coffee or boiling water
- ¼ cup Dutch cocoa powder
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 6 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
DirectionsFor the cake
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust the pan with flour; tap out the excess.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the sour cream, oil, egg, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee (or water) and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 27-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out just a few stray crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely, removing parchment paper.
For the frosting
- In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the boiling water, stirring until the cocoa has dissolved.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium liquid measuring cup or microwave safe bowl, and microwave until the chocolate is has melted, stopping every 20 seconds or so to stir the chocolate. Stir until creamy and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix on low until combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add the confectioner’s sugar. Mix on low again until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and mix on low until combined. Add the cocoa mixture and mix again on low until combined. Scrape down the sides and use a spatula to finish mixing.
- Spread the frosting on the top of the cooled cake, and decorate with sprinkles if desired.
- Cut into small squares and serve.