We all know them. They’re the people that refuse to drink red wine if it’s served in a white wine glass. Truffle Oil. And they’d never, ever be caught dead buying an off-brand at the grocery store. These epicurean elitists with their snobby tastes are as ubiquitous as they are frustrating.
I don’t consider myself one of these people. Yes, my instincts tell me to choose extra-virgin olive oil over light olive oil, but I’d think twice about dropping dough on something as pretentious as truffle oil. I may make my own vanilla extract, but I’m a sucker for ketchup. I make Marshmallows from scratch, but I’d pick up a Twix bar before snagging a Toblerone.
So imagine how conflicted I was going over this chocolate cake recipe. Here’s the context—I got a text from my mom proclaiming the cake as the easiest and tastiest cake she had ever made. Ever. Only six ingredients and one bowl. Here’s the catch: the cake’s chocolate flavor comes exclusively from Hershey’s chocolate syrup. While I may not be a cocoa connoisseur, we’re talking about Chocolate-flavored syrup. If you look at the ingredients listed on the bottle, cocoa comes after High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn syrup, sugar, and water. This bastardized chocolate is about a genuine as Tiger Woods. If I’m making chocolate milk, that’s one thing, but this is baking—the big leagues. But if it’s good enough for my mom, and Ina Garten, then it’s good enough for me.
I made the cake without too many hitches. The recipe calls for the contents of a 16-oz can of Hershey’s syrup, which is actually 11 fluid ounces. Shaw’s didn’t have the can, so I just bought the bottle and measured out 5 too many ounces of syrup. Don’t make my mistake; the taste was great but the cake was much too dense and brownie-like.
All in all, the cake was incredibly easy and pretty tasty. While I don’t think it beats my ultimate chocolate cake recipe (made with Guiness stout), it certainly was delicious. One of my suitemates said it was the best chocolate cake he’d ever had. So that’s good. Another claimed it was too sweet (probably due to the excess of syrup).
The ganache was nice, but I cut the semi-sweet chips with unsweetened (3 oz unsweetened, 9 semisweet) for a more intense chocolate flavor. In all honesty, I might’ve preferred a simple powdering of confectioner’s sugar cut with cocoa powder. This would’ve been lighter and easier.
Next time you decide to make a chocolate cake, leave your inhibitions at the door and try this recipe. Its simplicity is enough to make the entire thing worthwhile.