Chocolate Dump-It Cake

By • June 14, 2010 • 124 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, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have two layers (when I do this, I 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.
Jump to Comments (124)

Comments (124) Questions (11)

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12 days ago thi

Thanks!

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12 days ago thi

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

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

12 days ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Solid chocolate!

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about 1 month ago Maria

Could I freeze this cake already iced? Thank you!

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about 1 month 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.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

12 days 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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3 months 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.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

3 months 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!

Stringio

3 months ago Phil Adams

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

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

3 months 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.

Stringio

3 months ago Phil Adams

Thanks! 8 inch or 9 inch pans?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

3 months 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.

Stringio

3 months 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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6 months 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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6 months 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?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months 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!

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6 months ago Kate G

In the quiet of my kitchen, I am baking this cake again for my son for his birthday. Today I am making it in the daylight instead of the quiet of. The night after dinner dishes are done and kids in bed. For 9 years I have made this lovely cake and first made it for a baby shower days after hearing Amanda on NPR talking about her cookbook. Thank you for sharing your recipe and being part of our family tradition.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

What a touching note -- thanks for letting me know this, Kate. I hope your son has a wonderful birthday!

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6 months ago Chethana

What can I use instead of cider vinegar?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Any vinegar will work -- you just want acid to add to the milk.

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6 months ago tamater sammich

You could use lemon juice if you have no vinegar.

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6 months ago Chethana

Thnx :)

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12 days ago Jennell

Could you not use buttermilk in place of milk and vinegar?

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12 days ago Jennell

Never mind. I found the answer further down...

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6 months ago Radhika

Any idea how many cupcakes this same recipe would make? Also would it need any changes? Thanks in advance, would love to try this!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Not sure how many cupcakes it makes; you'll need to cut back the baking time a little -- I'd check them after 15 minutes.

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6 months ago Lauren

My mom requested chocolate cake for Mother's Day and I decided to forgo my usual go-to, from Molly Wizenberg, and make this instead. So glad I did! Extraordinarily moist, flavorful and easy to make. Loved the frosting, too. Followed the directions to a T, baked it in a parchment lined tube pan (which I bought yesterday for $2 at Goodwill) and it came out looking exactly like the photo. I served each slice with a jumble of fresh berries on top (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries), which was the perfect accompaniment. Bravo to Amanda's mom for this stellar dessert. I can't wait to make it again, and try out variations (already thinking about filling it with raspberry jam).

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for your comment -- I'll let my mom know!

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7 months ago Christine

This was a thumbs-up in our house, even among the sworn cake-haters! I'm glad to finally find a great, easy-to-make chocolate cake.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Who hates cake?!

Stringio

7 months ago Allison Stabile

What a great cake. I can't wait to make this.

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7 months ago tamater sammich

Made it, loved it...used multigrain flour, didn't have any sour cream, so used a full fat yogurt. I LOVE these forgiving recipes that make a great base for subs when you can't get to the store.
Oh, and I had no chocolate chips, and since I didn't miss them, I'll keep leaving them out when I make this in the future…mmmmm, which will be times a-plenty, I bet.

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7 months ago Karen Ferguson

wow...this looks DIVINE. My mum will love it for Mothers Day.

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7 months ago Karen Ferguson

ps. thank you for sharing your Mum's recipe, btw. :-)

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7 months ago Barb Raber

Would a 6-inch bundt pan work for this recipe?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I think it would be too small, unfortunately. You could use two 8-inch cake pans.

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7 months ago Teri B.

Just scrolled through the comments and saw that buttermilk works too. Thanks!

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7 months ago Teri B.

Is it possible to substitute butttermilk for the sour milk?

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7 months ago jenjamshap

Never mind... I see it. SORRY!

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7 months ago jenjamshap

When does the Cider vinegar come in?

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8 months ago Kari B

I have been waiting to make this , and my daughter's sweet 16 is the perfect excuse!