Everyday Chocolate Cake


It’s Valentine’s Day! Happy day of love and mushy stuff!

In the off chance you’re reading this right now and you have NOT bought the person in your life a card or maybe some chocolates, stop reading and go do that. Trust me on this, it’s not worth showing up empty-handed.

As for me, we started the morning in rough shape. The kids almost missed the bus and there was frantic yelling and scrambling to get out the door. I always feel terrible after mornings like that, I hope a few minutes on the bus with their friends helps them forget the chaos of getting out the door.

I’ve spent all week navigating school delays and cancellations all while helping three children write valentines for three different classrooms. We’ve made two ‘mailboxes’ to collect said valentines, bought party supplies for three different class parties and in between shoveling our driveway three times a day and keeping tabs on kids who disappear into the snow for hours on end, I’m thinking simple and easy is where its at for our own family celebration.

Our family Valentine’s Day tradition mostly revolves around food. I usually make the kids pancakes tinged pink with food coloring before they’re out the door to school and then make a favorite dinner for all of us later that evening. It’s typically pretty kid-friendly; things like homemade pizza or spaghetti are usually the top two requests. I do like to surprise them with a special dessert, which is crazy because they’re already way too hopped up on sugar, but it’s a tradition!

This year I made an easy one-layer chocolate cake. This one-bowl cake was prepped and in the oven in 15 minutes. You can use a loaf pan or a 9x9 square cake pan for this recipe, it will just modify your cooking time a little bit. This cake is the perfect canvas to make your own. I’ve included a frosting recipe, but you could skip that part and dust the cake with powdered sugar and eat it with a pile of raspberries. A dollop of whipped cream would be amazing too, or if you have a bunch of kids like I do, slather on the frosting and go crazy with sprinkles. It’s the day of love, anything goes.



Everyday Chocolate Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

·         1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

·         1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

·         1/2 cup granulated sugar

·         1 large egg

·         1 cup buttermilk

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

·         3/4 cup cocoa powder

·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder

·         1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat your oven to 325°F. Spray a 9x9 cake pan (or loaf pan) with cooking spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the 9x9 cake for about 30 minutes or a loaf cake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan.


·         2 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted and slightly cooled

·         2 cups powdered sugar (soft if lumpy)

·         1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

·         Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)

·         1 tablespoons cream or whole milk (optional)

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments. After each 30 second interval, use a spoon to stir chocolate until completely melted.

In the bowl of a food processor combine butter, melted chocolate, sea salt, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are smooth. Add a splash of milk if the frosting is too thick. Pulse again until smooth.

To assemble the cake, use a knife to spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Garnish with sprinkles and cut into small squares. Serves approximately 12 slices.