Yes, Chocolate is Good for You!
(okay, okay in moderation that is!)

So here’s the deal about chocolate – first of all, it’s actually been reported to boost your immune system.  Yep, that little cacao bean (the source from which chocolate is derived) is full of antioxidants which play a key role in supporting a healthy system.  The truth is, the deeper the color chocolate, the more antioxidants.  So go for that dark chocolate, as the lighter milk chocolate doesn’t offer the same benefits.  A good tip here: any recipe that you may have for milk chocolate, go and switch to a more robust flavor by substituting for the darker chocolate.  Milk chocolate is diluted, and thus negates many of the healthful benefits!

Looking for more reason to love chocolate? Read our article about chocolate truths. Give Chocolate a Break

Here, we give you two of our most favorite recipes for incredible cakes. Enjoy!

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and Frosting
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and Frosting
This super-easy, one-bowl layer cake is the perfect dessert for any gathering of chocolate buffs.

Ingredients for the cake
Unsalted butter, softened, for pans
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Step 1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep); dust with cocoa. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Step 2. Divide batter between pans. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, faceup, to wire racks. Let cool completely.

Step 3.  Spread 2 cups chocolate frosting onto top of 1 cooled layer. Top with remaining layer; frost top and sides with remaining 2 cups frosting.

Cook’s Notes: Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic, stored at room temperature or refrigerated overnight. Frosted cake can be refrigerated overnight.

Ingredients for the frosting
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup creme fraiche, or sour cream

 

Directions
Step 1. Sift together sugar, cocoa, and salt.

Step 2. Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually add sugar-cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Pour in chocolate in a slow, steady stream. Add creme fraiche; beat until combined.

Cook’s Notes: Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 5 days; bring to room temperature and beat before using.

Sour Cream-Mocha Bundt Cake
Sour Cream-Mocha Bundt Cake
This rich and delicious cake not only holds up for days–it gets even better. Baked with both instant powdered and brewed espresso, it boasts subtle coffee flavor. Sour cream in the batter ensures a moist texture and enhances taste.

Ingredients
Filling
1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake
3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (5 ounces) very finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (61 percent cacao)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Lightly whipped cream, for serving
Candied Lemon Zest, for serving (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Step 1. Make filling: stir together cocoa, espresso powder, and granulated sugar.

Step 2. Cake: In a small bowl, mash together 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon cocoa; generously brush a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with mixture. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk brewed espresso into remaining 1/2 cup cocoa and espresso powder until smooth; whisk in sour cream.

Step 3. With a mixer on medium-high speed, beat remaining 3 sticks butter with granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with cocoa mixture in two batches. Beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in chopped chocolate.

Step 4. Transfer one-third of batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of filling, avoiding edges. Repeat, then finish with remaining one-third of batter, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then turn cake out onto rack; let cool completely, at least 2 hours.

Step 5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve, with a dollop of whipped cream and some candied lemon zest.

 

*All recipes reprinted from: www.marthastewart.com