Invite your kids to help make this chocolate cake


A Dutch-processed cocoa powder gives this chocolate cake enhanced flavor and color.

A Dutch-processed cocoa powder gives this chocolate cake enhanced flavor and color.
Photo by: Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP



America's Test Kitchen



This chocolate sheet cake requires that you use Dutch-processed cocoa powder. What exactly is that? A process called Dutching, which was invented in the 19th century by a Dutch chemist and chocolatier named Coenraad Van Houten, raises cocoa powder's pH level, which gives the cocoa a fuller flavor and deeper color. Dutch-processed cocoa (sometimes called "alkalized" or "European- style" cocoa) is the best choice for most baked goods. Using a natural (or "unalkalized") cocoa powder results in a drier cake. Follow this recipe with your kids. 


The recipe for chocolate frosting calls for just three ingredients, but they are transformed by the microwave and refrigerator. Don't use salted butter in the recipe that makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes or one sheet cake. 






Servings: 15 


Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes (Inactive time: 1 hour, plus cooling time) 




Vegetable oil spray 


1 1/2 cups sugar 


1 1/4 cups all- purpose flour 


1/2 teaspoon baking soda 


1/2 teaspoon salt 


1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips 


1 cup whole milk 


3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder 


2/3 cup vegetable oil 


4 large eggs 


1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


Milk chocolate frosting (recipe follows) 




  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Spray bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray. 


  • In medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. 


  • In large saucepan, combine chocolate chips, milk and cocoa. Place saucepan over low heat and cook, whisking often, until chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. 


  • Turn off heat. Slide saucepan to cool burner and let mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes. 


  • Add oil, eggs and vanilla to saucepan with chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. 


  • Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth, making sure to scrape corners of saucepan. 


  • Use rubber spatula to scrape batter into greased baking pan and smooth top (ask an adult for help because saucepan will be heavy). 


  • Place baking pan in oven. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. 


  • Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and let cake cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. 


  • Use icing spatula to spread frosting evenly over cooled cake (see photo, right). Cut cake into pieces and serve. 






    Makes about 2 Cups 


    Prep Time: 5 Minutes 


    Cook time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time 




    1 1/3 cups milk chocolate chips 


    1/3 cup heavy cream 


    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened 




  • In large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and cream. Heat microwave at 50 percent power for 1 minute. Stop microwave and stir with rubber spatula. Heat in microwave at 50 percent power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave. 


  • Add softened butter to chocolate mixture and use whisk to stir and break up large butter pieces. Let sit until butter is fully melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth. 


  • Refrigerate frosting until cooled and thickened, about 1 hour. 


  • Use electric mixer to beat frosting on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 30 seconds. 


    Nutrition information per serving: 456 calories; 253 calories from fat; 28 g fat (11 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 86 mg cholesterol; 159 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 32 g sugar; 6 g protein.



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