Chocolate Dump-It Cake

By • June 14, 2010 147 Comments

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Author Notes: My mother has many specialties, but her Chocolate Dump-It Cake is most beloved in my family. She kept this cake in the fridge, and it is sublime even when cold. I wrote about this cake in my second book, Cooking for Mr. Latte, but wanted to celebrate it here on food52, as well.Amanda Hesser

Serves 10

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.)
  3. When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky – if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it’s ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Taste some! It’s good.
  5. When the cake is cool, cut it into two layers. Lay the top layer, top-side-down onto a cake plate (or whatever serving platter you like). Spread with icing. Top with the bottom layer, setting the bottom-side-up. This will give you a straighter edge (see photo of finished cake). Ice the top, sides, and center. (If you like a lot of icing, use 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups sour cream). My mother uses any leftover icing to make flowers on top. She dabs small rosettes, or buttons, on top, then uses toasted almond slices as the petals, pushing them in around the base of the rosette.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate Cake|Chocolate|Cakes|Desserts

Topics: Cake

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Comments (147) Questions (11)

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about 1 month ago Olypeninah

Not worth the hype, not that good.

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about 1 month ago Michal Rymon Marom

The vinegar made solids in the milk. I'd suggest adding it seperately to the mix.

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about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi Michal -- yes, the milk gets lumpy, but that's ok, it's supposed to! It breaks up once it goes into the rest of the batter.

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about 1 month ago Stu Naegele

That got truncated somehow. It should say I live in Colorado at 5400'.

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about 1 month ago Stu Naegele

I live in Color Having read some of the comments I decided to be proactive regarding high altitude modifications. They are always approximate, so I punted, and the cake is remarkably beautiful and not overly dense. Here's how I modified the recipe : decreased sugar to 1 3/4 c.; increased flour to 2 1/4 c.; increased water and milk by about 1 T or a little more per cup of each; decreased baking powder to 3/4 t. and baking soda to 1.5 t., and I baked the cake at about 375 instead of 350. There are scientific reasons for each of these modifications, but they're always expressed as a range, e.g., "decrease sugar by 2-4 T per cup." That's quite a range, but as I said I guessed, and it worked out fine. Now, at 7700' that's an entirely different ballgame. AT 10,000' I don't know how they bake anything at all. My two cents.

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about 1 month ago Casey227

I cannot agree with the sworn devotees of this recipe... That frosting was just too strange for my taste.

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about 1 month ago Peter Gray

What did they used to say in the old Rome? De gustibus non est disputandum? I, on the other hand, loved the frosting. It produced clean chocolate taste and classy moderate sweetness. Of course it may have been the chocolate too; I used the recommended brand although Valrhona probably would have been even better.

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3 months ago Peter Gray

I'm on 35 minutes already and the mixture has risen but the middle is a bubbly soup! Are you sure about the water??? The mixture, when I was pouring it, was way too loose for a cake dough.

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3 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes -- totally sure about the water; have made this cake dozens of times. If your oven temp runs low or if it wasn't fully heated when the cake went in, it could affect the baking time. Give it another 10-15 min. Let me know how it turns out!

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3 months ago Peter Gray

You are right; it did turn out pretty good, as described (although it took close to an hour to finish). One comment: when you say 2 cups of flour, these are loosely poured and leveled cups, right?

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3 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad it turned out! Here's how I measure flour: I use a fork or whisk to stir and loosen the flour. Then I spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it with a knife.

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4 months ago Mildred

Sorry, this is Mildred again. The list of ingredients does not show "water" but the first paragraph directions show water along with the chocolate and butter in the saucepan. So water and chocolate -- I thought they do not mix well???

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4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi Mildred, I know -- they usually don't but the butter seems to help them get along. It's ok -- promise!

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6 months ago newkiwi

Sounds like a cake pan ad to me. Just sayin'

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6 months ago tamater sammich

Wot I thought! ;)

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6 months ago Jussy

I love this recipe! I bought great testing cake pan (from a fantastic website http://homegadgetsdaily... ) , and made this cake. It came out awesome. Thank you for great recipe!

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6 months ago mw

Cake fell.
Altitude = 5280 ...or ... Convection = on
Either way / Fail.
BUT, I am going to frost in the morning because this is for a b.day.
Suggestions welcome.

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6 months ago JaneyNYC

Has anyone ever added sugar to the frosting? I felt like mine had a little too much "tang" (and I don't think I used too much sour cream)... but I'm worried the sugar may alter the consistency. Thanks in advance!

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about 1 month ago Kate

I added powdered sugar and the frosting came out great. I did not care for the sour cream and chocolate chips alone. Too tangy as other reviewers stated. With powdered sugar, the frosting was amazing.

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7 months ago hilary13

I have made this cake many times...it is a family favorite. Today I tried it with cup4cup flour, and it didn't rise, the texture was...rubbery? I've used cup4cup a lot as a substitute in regular flour recipes, and again, this has never happened. Perhaps the baking powder was stale? Any one else tried this substitution? Any thoughts?

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9 months ago Lee

I am an inexperienced baker of cakes, especially at this 7700 ft elevation. I tried this recipe and, while the flavor was good, the cake itself was thick and heavy. Yes, the ingredients were fresh. I thought it tasted like Duncan Hines' Devil's Food cake mix (which I like). Maybe that thick, heavy quality is the way it's supposed to be. . . ??

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9 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's a very moist cake but I wouldn't describe it as heavy. I'm wondering if a little more leavening might help -- but I'm just guessing because I don't know much about high elevation baking.

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10 months ago thi

Thanks!

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10 months ago thi

For the unsweetened chocolate, is it powder or solid chocolate?

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10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Solid chocolate!

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11 months ago Maria

Could I freeze this cake already iced? Thank you!

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11 months ago tamater sammich

I'm pretty sure I froze this cake. Most cakes I double up, and freeze, with or without icing. Important to let it cool off completely, so you don't have ice crystals all over it . Sometimes freezing dries baking, but a few moments in the microwave seems to 'nicen' it up.

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10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I would not freeze it iced. You can freeze the cake base, no problem, but I'd then thaw it and ice it.

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about 1 year ago Lesley

This cake was delicious! It was delicious and got better after a few days. I had to stop myself from devouring it all. I didn't make this frosting, so I can't comment on it. I am making this again, without a doubt.

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about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you liked it -- hope you'll try the frosting sometime; it's a winner for both ease and taste!

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about 1 year ago Phil Adams

Could I make this cake in layers instead, or a sheet (13x9)? If so, what size would work? Thanks!

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about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Sure -- my sister does that. She uses 2 cake pans and simply divides the batter between them. They will bake more quickly and they won't have a hole in the center, like you get with a tube pan, but this approach works perfectly well. Not sure about a sheet pan however.

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about 1 year ago Phil Adams

Thanks! 8 inch or 9 inch pans?

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about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I would do 9 inch but if you only have 8 inch, that would be fine, too.

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about 1 year ago Phil Adams

Thanks, Amanda! I'm going to make it Thursday night for my colleagues at work on Friday. Looking forward to trying this recipe.

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over 1 year ago amanda hollingworth

Im struggling with cups and grams as when I tried to convert, the measurements seem to be different depending on whether it's flour or sugar or liquid...Help

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over 1 year ago tamater sammich

Amanda, I'm wondering if you know; you can 'google' (I use Duck Duck Go) for measurement conversions. The websites are free. I'd give you a link, but I now have my own little metric-imperial conversion calculator. It's invaluable to me. It's easy to use, does liuid & dry measurements, and costs $16.00 at Lee Valley. That's Canadian, but am sure you can find one.

Amanda Hesser, maybe you can sell these great little things in your online store?

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over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Good idea -- we're actually about to start selling a book of conversions (nicely designed and handy!). Agree that a calculator would be nice, too. Thank you for the idea!