Jan’s Chocolate Celebration Cake

This isn’t the most stunning morning-after photo of what was (and still is) a delicious chocolate cake-the light was far better last night than it was when I nibbled it with my coffee in the early morning light. But it’s a simple, delicious cake that could become your go-to if you have frequent birthday cake obligations.

This weekend was the first two of a week of family birthdays (which wraps up with mine on Friday), and because one of them was my sister, and I knew her favourite part would be blowing out candles with her grandkids, a double chocolate, quick to bake single layer cake that could be served straight from the pan and accommodate plenty of sprinkles seemed like just the ticket.

And look at that ganache!!

This particular cake comes from Oven to Table, a cookbook by my friend Jan Scott, who took home the gold for best single-subject cookbook at the Taste Canada awards last night. Whoo hoo! Jan has three boys, and so plenty of birthday cake experience. I personally love a cake that doesn’t need to be fussed over or elaborately adorned,

The formula is very similar to our family’s go-to Died and Went to Heaven Chocolate Cake from Eating Well magazine (lots of chocolate cake batters are similar!), and I wouldn’t change a thing- it’s moist, chocolatey, not too sweet. And I love her sour cream ganache – 2 cups of chocolate chips (Jan called for milk chocolate chips, but I used semi-sweet because that’s what I had), melted in the microwave, with a cup of sour cream whisked in. The result is not too sweet, and tangy from the sour cream – a great alternative to buttercream, which tends to be over-the-top sweet. And it spreads like a dream!

Sprinkles are entirely optional, of course, but we could all use more sprinkles these days. Make sure you scatter them over the frosting right after you spread it, so they stick. Happy days!

Jan’s Chocolate Celebration Cake

AuthorJulie

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil (or 1/4 cup each melted butter and oil)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coffee, cooled (instant is fine)
1 tsp vanilla
Frosting:
2 cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 cup sour cream (not fat free)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

1

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment or spray it with nonstick spray.

2

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the oil and/or melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

3

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is springy to the touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

4

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla, if you're using it. Spread over the cooled cake. (If it's too thin, refrigerate until it firms up a bit.) Sprinkle with sprinkles right away, if you're using them. Serves 12 to 20.

Category

Ingredients

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
 1/2 cup cocoa
 1 tsp baking powder
 1 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp salt
 1/2 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil (or 1/4 cup each melted butter and oil)
 2 large eggs
 1 cup buttermilk
 1 cup coffee, cooled (instant is fine)
 1 tsp vanilla
Frosting:
 2 cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
 1 cup sour cream (not fat free)
 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment or spray it with nonstick spray.

2

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the oil and/or melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

3

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is springy to the touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

4

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla, if you're using it. Spread over the cooled cake. (If it's too thin, refrigerate until it firms up a bit.) Sprinkle with sprinkles right away, if you're using them. Serves 12 to 20.

Jan’s Chocolate Celebration Cake
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20 comments on “Jan’s Chocolate Celebration Cake

  1. Lianne Shaigec
    October 26, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Julie, your cake looked simply perfect ….I plan to make it soon for my sisters bday ….two question did you use just the oil or the oil/butter mix.? I if I have to make it a day ahead …should I bake & frost the day before or bake a day ahead & frost it the next day when I plan to serve? Thx L

    • Julie
      October 26, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      I used all oil, because that’s what I typically do with my similar chocolate cake recipe. Either is fine- using half of each would probably impart a slightly more buttery flavour, but oil is excellent for a moist cake!

  2. Lianne Shaigec
    October 27, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Thank you for the speedy response …I’ll use all oil, a moist cake Is essential.

    • Julie
      October 27, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      I think either version would be as moist – I’m just saying that oil isn’t a lesser option – it has always been my go-to!

  3. Anita
    October 27, 2020 at 10:25 am

    fabulous! thank you. I am always looking for butter alternatives (in buttercream and cakes) since the price of butter has escalated this year.

    • Julie
      October 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      It sure has… and I always have plenty of oil! Sometimes I worry about running out of butter!

  4. Carolyn
    October 27, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    I think this is the big 5-0 for you this year? Hope your b-day on Friday is awesome and you celebrate in the biggest and best way you can. I think all of us celebrating a big one this year gets a do-over next year (or whenever all of this is over)! Thanks for making this world a better place.

    • Julie
      October 27, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Yes!! so crazy!! I think everyone does get a do-over next year. Lucky to be cozy at home though – can’t complain! xo

  5. Carol S-B
    October 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Mmmm, lovely recipe. This will be on repeat for sure!
    My usual go-to is the good old 1 2 3 4 cake or poundcake, never need to take out a recipe book (it’s that common, variations are in most cookbooks) and you can riff on the theme endlessly.
    However, a nice pourable batter like this is sometimes just the thing. Aren’t sheet cakes lovely?
    Thank you for posting and thanks to Jan for sharing (I so enjoyed your collaboration with her on *Gatherings* a couple of years ago), nice to know her *Oven to Table* is acclaimed, too.

    • Julie
      October 27, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      It sure is! And yes, a nice pourable batter is always good to fall back on. Thanks for always leaving such kind, thoughtful comments!!

    • Leila
      November 4, 2020 at 2:06 am

      What is a 1 2 3 4 cake?

      • Carol S-B
        November 11, 2020 at 3:15 pm

        Hi Leila– It’s a basic pound cake.1 2 3 4 is one way to remember the ingredients’ ratios. Here’s a list of ingredients, including a sketch of the method.
        ONE cup of butter. TWO cups of sugar. (I’m skipping 3 for the moment). FOUR eggs. (beat these ingredients together mercilessly).
        Here’s where you add flavouring (a teaspoon of the best vanilla, if you’re making it plain… variations abound).
        Now add ONE cup of milk alternately with the following, stirred together slightly: THREE cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, one teaspoon baking powder.
        Bake in a large, greased and floured, bundt pan, or two loaf pans greased and floured. Or two dozen cupcakes. For bundt or loaf, bake 350 fahrenheit for about an hour (test with a toothpick for doneness). For cupcakes, 350-375 degrees, for about half an hour.
        Easy to remember, right? and no recipe book needed.

  6. Synlover Too
    October 28, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Finding your site on my news feed VERY late last night made me happy – & I’ll take all of that I can get.
    What a perfectly easy, luscious looking cake – and yes – we sure do need sprinkles in this troubling time . LOTS of them!!!
    As none of my friends are bakers I make all of the bd cakes, my own included. At least that way I’m guaranteed to get something I like. If left up to them I’d be eating one of those half-dried out, nasty, store -bought things!!
    Plan on baking this Thurs nite as it’s MY birthday on Friday too! So – from 1 “almost a witch” to another, have a very happy – almost Halloween – birthday!

    • Julie
      November 2, 2020 at 9:31 pm

      Oh cool!! Happy birthday to you too!!

  7. Lianne Shaigec
    October 28, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    This cake really delivers in all departments …chocolatey & moist . The icing is a literal dream to make, spread & eat.. Thx for sharing . This is going to be my go to chocolate cake to take to family gatherings and potlucks.

  8. Rita pamplin
    November 2, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Julie I have the same 9x13pan! I often wonder how old it is……I have had it about 50 yrs and did by it in a second hand shop ???

  9. Long
    November 4, 2020 at 1:14 am

    Love this recipe. I’ve tried other chocolate cakes from this site but this one is by far my FAVORITE. The cake is so moist and delicious with a great texture. In my opinion, it’s the perfect chocolate cake. I don’t have any of the problems other’s have mentioned. I’m sure the problems are not with the recipe but it’s that something is being done wrong. Make sure to measure your ingredients correctly.

  10. Julie
    November 6, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Hmm.. I haven’t seen any comments from people having problems with it?

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