Every day cakes!

A cake need not be an over-the-top three-layer, frosted affair. Sometimes one wants only a simple cake for afternoon tea, or at the end of a dinner party. There are three cakes I recently baked that fit that bill. And being unfrosted, one can feel free to enjoy for breakfast!

Everyday cocoa cake. This is has been my go-to cake for impromptu baking, as well as double layered with chocolate frosting birthday cake, or times 1.8 for a 9×13” pan.


Even simpler and yet more complex taste-wise, is this chocolate buckwheat/almond cake. It’s virtually flourless with whipped-up eggs and sugar, and then melted chocolate and butter folded in along with about 1/2 c total of almond and buckwheat flours. It’s very delicious.

Chocolate buckwheat almond cake1AF000F2-A993-4A03-A284-958A42764CDD
Yield: One thin 9-inch round cake
Butter, 7 T (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces, plus extra for buttering pan
Bittersweet chocolate, 100 grams.  (70 to 72 percent is ideal)

eggs, 4 large (200 g) at room temp

sugar, 1/2 cup (100 grams)

sea salt, pinch

vanilla extract, 1 t

buckwheat flour, 
1/4 cup (35 grams)

almond meal, 1/4 cup (30 grams)

Confectioners’ sugar, lightly whipped cream and/or berries to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double-boiler (a heatproof bowl resting on a pot of lightly simmering water), stirring frequently. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mix, beat the eggs and sugar with salt until light and pale and doubled in volume. This will take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes.
Fold in the vanilla and melted chocolate mixture.

Sprinkle the buckwheat and almond flours over the batter and fold gently to combine.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.

Let cool for five minutes on a rack then invert onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and return upright on a serving plate.

Serve in wedges, dusted with powdered sugar, dolloped with lightly whipped cream and/or scattered with berries.

Almond cake

I have long been devoted to this simple yet delicious Dorie Greenspan’s almond cake, aka Swedish Visiting Cake. 0656D6B2-743C-4F91-9E83-CCEB23546C12

chocolate buckwheat cake

Everyday cocoa cake


Blueberry Buttermilk cake

Perfect in late July!


Flour AP, 240 g
baking powder, 1 t
baking soda, 1 t
Salt, 1/2 t

Butter, 8 T, softened
270 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon

eggs, 2 (room temp)
1 t vanilla extract
Buttermilk (well-shaken), 1 c / 226 g

2 c blueberries (10-11 oz)


Take out butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temp
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, conventional or convection; position rack in middle of oven
Prepare baking pan: 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper, hanging over sides of pan (to create handles). (Spray or butter parchment?)

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Break eggs into small bowl.
Measure out/weigh buttermilk

Measure sugar into mixing bowl. Zest lemon into sugar and mix with fingers to release oils of lemon. Add cubed butter and mix about 2 mins at medium high speed until pale and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour in 3 batches alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined.

Empty contents into prepared baking pan, smoothing out with spatula. Sprinkle on blueberries on top. Sprinkle on an additional 3T sugar on top.
Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden, and toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and place on rack to cool.
Very delicious still warm, perhaps with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!


Raspberry buttermilk cake: Substitute 2 c raspberries (10 oz) for blueberries; omit lemon zest, perhaps adding 1/4 t almond extract with vanilla.


Source: Gourmet Magazine Raspberry Buttermilk Cake


Baking a cake is not a big deal.  Really.  If you can bake a cake from a mix, you can bake a much more delicious chocolate cake by using this recipe for everyday cocoa cake.  You don’t even have to frost it — just sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar and serve with a beverage.

One of the problems in my view with American desserts is that they are too sweet.  Think: pecan pie.  One or two bites and your palate is weary from all that sugar.  If you use less sugar, you can actually taste the flavors.  From a cake mix box, there is no natural flavor to appreciate, so sugar is dominant.

Next time you need/want to bake a cake, check out of the library Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible or Rose’s Heavenly Cakes and bake a simple yellow cake.  You will be happy.  Here’s a good one to start.

In the meantime, if you want a project that will reward you, try this Donauwelle recipe (pictured) when you have part of two days.  It’s not difficult, just has several steps.  And it will reward you not just in taste — which is superb, like the best Vienna pastry — but in confidence as well.