Oh, you know me, I love a flourish. Sometimes it’s a rose crown on a bundt cake or a ruffle of gossamer apples topping a tart or maybe, just maybe a crazy swirl of toasted meringue on anything! But, sometimes simple is best. A summer snack at the lake, a slice of cake in a lunchbox or a midnight treat with a glass of milk. Those are the cakes we’ll make at the last minute, after a long day of work, just because we want a treat and cake makes everything good. Odette Williams wrote Simple Cake, a book about those cakes; the simple ones that are pure joy. Her book is filled with lots of delicious cakes and simple toppings that are great for a special occasion, but just as good if nothing in particular is going on. This simple chocolate cake is elegant and warm and makes me want to eat all the cake.
I baked Odette’s Simple Chocolate Cake in a pullman pan, because I like the clean shape of the slices. I combined two of the whipped cream flavors she suggested for the cake to create a Vietnamese coffee cream, which was just the right balance of sweet and bitter. I went at the cake with a giant star tipped piping bag and then backed away and realized it needed something quiet and sleek. I just spread the whipped cream over the cake and smoothed the edges. I’m in love with this cake, it calms me. The dusting of cocoa was for drama (I just can’t help myself) and more contrast of flavor.
Simple Chocolate Cake
From Simple Cake by Odette Williams
Simple Chocolate Cake Recipe – I baked the cake in a 9 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4″ pullman pan (the one linked to is larger than that, so make sure you get the right size or the cake will be a different shape, which is not a bad thing.) Set the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes. Odette has a great guide for various cake pan sizes, for each cake recipe.
Vietnamese Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee or espresso
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Whip the cream, coffee and condensed milk on medium-low speed until it is very soft peaks. If you over whip the cream it will not be smooth and will look grainy.
Spread the whipped cream over the top and smooth the edges.
Dust with cocoa powder
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee or espresso
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- Whip the cream, coffee and condensed milk on medium-low speed until it is very soft peaks. If you over whip the cream it will not be smooth and will look grainy.
- Spread the whipped cream over the top and smooth the edges.
- Dust with cocoa powder.