Chocolate Dump-It Cake

By • June 14, 2010 • 84 Comments


1,559 Save

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 cup Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup 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.

Comments (84) Questions (10)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

about 1 month ago Kari B

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

Default-small

about 1 month ago Kelly D

Planning on making this as a 50th birthday cake for hubbie this week, as a layer cake. Sounds like two 9-inch pans is the way to go/this recipe makes the correct amount of batter for that? One poster says 27 min - any other tips re: timing? (I have a convection oven - never sure whether I should use it for cake baking or not. Thoughts?)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Convection will decrease the cooking time so unless you're confident about testing for doneness, then I'd keep the convection off. If you have a tube pan, the cake bakes best this way, and you can cut it into layers, but if you don't, two 9-inch pans is the way to go. I haven't tested the timing for this, so I'd start checking after 20 minutes, just to be safe! Happy birthday to your husband! I'm honored that you're baking this cake for such an important birthday!

Default-small

about 1 month ago sarah patton

Best chocolate cake I've ever made. I used to use the one on the Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa box but that one sometimes comes out gooey and oily (calls for oil.) Frosting is divine. It seized up a bit but was still workable. I used creme fraiche because I live in Europe and right consistency for sour cream is hard to find. Also can't find unsweetened chocolate but I used bittersweet and a little less sugar - cake consistency was great.

Image

about 1 month ago Pat in SoCal

On a day when I really needed everything to come together the first time this cake took the cake! It went together PERFECTLY. Twp 9" round pans baked for 27 minutes and were perfect. Frosting glossy and easy to use. I don't even care what it tastes like at this moment...although I'm sure it will be ymmy. It looks gorgeous and I needed a good presentation piece for MIL 92nd birthday dinner. Thanks!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Anyone who lives to 92 deserves a good birthday cake -- glad it turned out, and hope the dinner was fun!

Photo_on_2012-09-09_at_15.37__2

about 1 month ago crunchygooey

I have neither tube or bundt pan - any idea if this will work in a round cake pan? Thanks - love love love this site!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, it will work -- you may need to bake it for slightly longer, and the outer perimeter may get a little overbaked, but it will still be good! My sister often divides the dough among two 9-inch cake pans so that you get two layers with out having to cut one cake into two layers. Doing it this way also allows the cake to cook more evenly. So glad you like the site!

Photo_on_2012-09-09_at_15.37__2

about 1 month ago crunchygooey

Delicious and surprising - kind of like a light and fluffy brownie. Not too sweet with just the right amount of salt. I made one 9" round and 12 cupcakes. Both turned out nicely but I do wish I would've lined the bottom of the cake pan with parchment because it did stick a bit. I used buttermilk instead of vinegar and milk and served it with a big dollop of whipped cream. So good. Will try the ganache next time...and there will certainly be a next time!

Default-small

about 1 month ago Mulzee

This cake just changed my life. I'm not kidding. It was everything I wanted from a chocolate cake. I had to substitute a couple of the ingredients but still remained more or less close to the original recipe. I used a bundt pan and dusted with cocoa and it came out perfectly. I did not have malt vinegar readily available so I substituted for 1 tablespoon lemon juice, it seemed to work just fine. Also, I couldn't find unsweetened chocolate at my grocery store (I was shocked), so I used cocoa powder with a little extra butter added as advised. This cake was delicious once it was made but even better the day after. Definitely recommended to add strawberries for decoration and deliciousness. Thank you for this recipe!

Open-uri20130318-29669-7xbmf3-0

2 months ago Nancy Quattrone-Payne

Lisa if you do use a bundt pan use cocoa instead of flour for dustng, looks better with a chocolate cake

Default-small

5 months ago Lisa Poe Taylor

Will this work in a bundt pan? If size is about the same are tube and bundt pans interchangeable?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

5 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, it should but I'd butter and flour the bundt pan very well, and don't let it cool in the pan or it'll stick.

Default-small

7 months ago Annie Slocum

Can you bring the frosting back if it starts to seize up? I have only added about 1/2 cup or more of the sour cream.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Keep adding the sour cream (assuming it's at room temp) and whisking. I find the icing sometimes seizes early on and then relaxes as you incorporate the sour cream. I whisk pretty briskly. Good luck!

Default-small

7 months ago Annie Slocum

That advice worked perfectly! Thank you! Would you refrigerate this cake if you were serving it tomorrow? Made today? Loved the velvety texture of the sour cream frosting!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I do refrigerate it, and then bring it to room temp before serving. So glad the frosting worked out!

Default-small

7 months ago kbehroozi

I've also re-warmed it and mixed briskly and gotten the frosting glossy and spreadable again.

Default-small

7 months ago nicole kaplan

made it today, many changes and still lovely. i used 2% milk and 2% greek yogurt to replace the sour cream. the frosting was quite lovely with the yogurt.
for the cake mixt, i added 1/3 of the choc mix into the dry ingredients, started to whisk and then slowly added the remaining chocolate and then the milk mixture. no lumps this way. also for the frosting, i melted the chocolate 2/3 in the microwave so it's not super hot but still hot when it finished melting by stirring. i then added half of the yogurt and whisked with gusto immediately. then i whisked in the remaining yogurt. this way you don't have a melting issue with the yogurt or a chipping issue with the cold dairy hitting the chocolate

Default-small

9 months ago gillian

This cake sounds delicious. I live in a hot and humid climate. Will the cake and icing withstand the heat? Any suggestions? Thanks!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

9 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

In the summer, my mother would often make the cake the day before and refrigerate it -- then let it sit out for an hour before serving.

Default-small

about 1 year ago newkiwi

One of the cook's commenting said she made this recipe as cupcakes. Is there a formula for adjusting bake time?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

9 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I don't have a formula, but I'd start checking at 10 minutes, and simply use the cake test: insert a toothpick in the center of the cupcakes and it should come out mostly dry.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Devi

Could I substitute buttermilk for the milk and vinegar? If not, what milk is best? Thanks.

Image

about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes, I've used buttermilk and it works well.

Open-uri.4355

over 1 year ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

Food52 is my favorite cooking blog. Where other blogs and magazines' January features are terrifying looking green juices and weeks of "detox menus", Food52 gives us chocolate cookies and chocolate cake! Here's to a new year of cooking adventures!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

We do like our chocolate and butter around here. Thanks for your note!

Default-small

over 1 year ago Bonnie Hamby

My daughter and I made this together today. We have only ever cooked boxed cakes:0) More labor intensive but well worth the time spent together and the AMAZING taste! This is now a new Thanksgiving tradition for us.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you gave this a try! Happy Thanksgiving.

Default-small

over 1 year ago LinnyBee

Hi...I'm in the UK and new to the various types of flours here. I was told to use self-rising flour for most cakes but I don't know if that will work for this one. Do you have any suggestions? Also, chocolate chips are not generally found in stores. Can I substitute chopped chocolate and if so how much? Many thanks!

Img_0007

over 1 year ago Kt4

I see it's been a while since you posted your questions but I'll give it a go for you anyway... Self-rising flour has baking powder [or maybe it's baking soda?] already in it. You should only use this kind of flour when a recipe calls for it specifically, or if you know how to alter the leavening agents called for in the recipe to compensate. Using "all-purpose flour" is usually what's called for.
Absolutely yes, chopped chocolate can be used in place of chips. I go this route when I want to use a 'specialty' chocolate and often make the chunks larger.

Next time, try posting your questions in the question/answer area of the recipe instead of here in the comments. Answers are usually given there within a couple days [though it can take longer during holidays].
Cheers & good luck,

Default-small

over 1 year ago Jolinda

Do you think you could use Cocoa Powder as a substitute for the 4 oz dark chocolate?

Image

over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You definitely can. I've done that on vacation when I had cocoa powder and didn't want to buy dark chocolate, too. I think I added another tablespoon or so of butter, and be sure to strain the cocoa powder really well before you add it to the melted butter, or you will have a lumpy mess on your hands. (hard experience...)

Smallsyshi

over 1 year ago mayuchico

Hi. the batter came out very lumpy. I should not mix too much, shouldn't I? Is it normal? Or did I do something wrong in the process?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Let's figure this out -- was it smooth before adding the dry ingredients? Did you add the dry ingredients a little at a time? I find this is very important -- otherwise, the batter will get lumpy because the wet ingredients can't absorb the dry ingredients quickly enough. Also, what implement did you use to mix the dry ingredients into the batter. I sometimes use a big whisk, which helps break up the flour as it mixes in.

Image

over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Mayuchico, I've made this cake a bunch of times and the same thing happened to me today. I think i let the wet ingredients cool off too much before adding the milk and eggs. I ended up straining it into a large bowl and pouring it into the cake pan from there. Fingers crossed that it doesn't come out tough!

Smallsyshi

over 1 year ago mayuchico

Amanda, I thought I added the dried ingredients a little at a time, but maybe didn't do enough. I will try better. Thank you!

Smallsyshi

over 1 year ago mayuchico

drbabs, thank you for the comment. I felt relieved a bit I was not the only one:) I think the wet ingredients wait too long too before egg and milk. My son loves this cake, so I will try again!

Image

about 1 month ago Pat in SoCal

Adding wet to dry is usually an easier way to avoid lumps. It does take another bowl...but that's no big deal. And I suggest using a big bowl so you can wisk with abandon!

Default-small

over 1 year ago wwitbeck

Hi, My batter seems a little soupy.. Is that normal or will I just have to find out in 40 minutes??
Thanks

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Should definitely be soupy. And this cake bakes in 32 minutes in my oven -- so make sure you check it before 40. Let me know how it goes!

Default-small

over 1 year ago wwitbeck

Hi, My batter seems a little soupy.. Is that normal or will I just have to find out in 40 minutes??
Thanks