When making or even when contemplating making chocolate cake, I always think of Laurie Colwin’s observation about how everyone is “searching for the one true chocolate cake.”
Finally, I got around to making her friend Karen Edwards’s version of Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. This recipe appears on p. 161 of More Home Cooking, and is based upon a recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (as revised by Marion Cunningham). Karen tweaked the recipe by increasing the flour and cocoa slightly.
I substituted coffee for the buttermilk in the recipe. The recipe was perfect for making with my son for two reasons: (1) easy; and (2) egg-free. I let my son lick the spoon when we were all done.
The finished cake was as described in the book: “a velvety, powdery feel–the result of all that cocoa.” It didn’t have the coarse crumb that some vegan chocolate cakes have. It wasn’t as moist as some chocolate cakes, but the cocoa intensity was unsurpased.
Update: I made this cake again at my son’s insistence (he wanted cake batter he could taste). Instead of substituting coffee for buttermilk, I used soymilk and a spoonful of coffee powder.
I had already made an egg-based chocolate cake (my variation of Zoe’s chocolate cake), so I was able to taste the Laurie Clowin/Karen Edwards/ Marion Cunningham cake side by side with Zoe’s cake. After being frosted and refrigerated overnight, both cakes were delicious, but I really, really liked the way that the Laurie Colwin/Karen Edwards/Marion Cunningham cake tasted. Without frosting this cake can taste a bit dry, but frosted it really is stupendous in its intense chocolate-ey-ness.