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Fabulous and Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake from Life’s a Feast

Fabulous and Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake

by Barbara Kiebel on April 7, 2014

This post isn’t really about a simple chocolate cake so much as it is about the person behind the cake. For all of the naysayers who might think it crazy that real relationships can be built through social media, I would offer up to them my kinship with Jamie Schler, the talented writer behind the blog Life’s a Feast. We’ve known each other for years (I wish I knew how many but I would guess 5 or 6), starting with chatting on Twitter and finding mutual blog love to having conversations on Skype and dreaming of the day I get my butt to a national IACP conference which Jamie always makes…and she is coming from France!

We both have two kids; her boys both a bit younger than my girls but still the travails are always identifiable. We also both have dogs we adore, her beloved Marty who has been having his share of old age problems and my sweet Abbie, who is fading fast. The anticipated loss of our beloved pooches has us both knowing intimately how the other is feeling; doggone why do they have to touch our hearts so strongly and yet leave us so soon?

We’ve found common ground for discussion around blogging, family, friends, food and yes, dogs and in those years I have come to know Jamie beyond just a casual tweet; I consider her a real friend. One big difference between us? Jamie is a passionate writer; the type who lives for writing; curses the days when it is not easy and relishes those days when the words flow uninterrupted by thoughts that squelch the perfect verb or a brain that refuses to yield the sweetest and most appropriate adjective. Jamie, like many artists, suffers for her craft when I just suffer because I have to do it at all! I am not a food blogger because I feel called to write; not one teeny, tiny, itty bitty bit. I write so that I can share my passion which is quite simply the foods I love to cook. Jamie is a writer who shares her passion through food. I am a foodie who shares my passion through writing. There is a difference. Truth be told; if I could just focus on cooking and baking and photography, there are days I would love nothing more than leaving a sentence as simple as ‘Here it is; hope you enjoy.’ Jamie is segueing on one front to just the opposite, realizing her passion can cover more than food and is bravely forging ahead with plans to realize those unknown worlds.

Plated Stories

jamie-ilvaOne of her efforts in that vein is a newer project called simply Plated Stories. Jamie and her good friend Ilva Beretta have joined their individual creative efforts into Plated Stories; a blog that combines the talents of both women. Jamie is a freelance writer specializing in food and culture living in Nantes, France and she does the writing for Plated Stories. Ilva is a food photographer living in Tuscany, Italy. Her blog is Luculliandelights.com and her portfolio is at ilvaberetta.com. She photographs Plated Stories.

In addition to their individual efforts for the blog, the women also hold small and intimate gatherings for food bloggers who are craving guidance in their own work and who look to both Jamie and Ilva as experts in the areas of writing and photography. I can not deny that I long for a chance to attend; they have held attendance at some amazing locations in Europe.

As new as their combined effort is; the praises are rolling in. Plated Stories recently received a prestigious award from the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) for the Best Photo Based Culinary Blog and now they have been nominated as a finalist in Saveur’s fifth annual Best Food Blog Awards for Best Writing. Why I am not included for Best Boozer is beyond me!

If I’m honest, I prefer the IACP award process; the winners in those categories are chosen by a panel of judges. Not so with Saveur. While Saveur does ask for nominations; they include their own opinion of the best in the final list of nominees and the final decision on who wins is left to voters. Which finally gets you to the point of my post today. I would love for you to consider voting for Jamie and Ilva in the Best Writing category; two truly talented and inspiring creatives that I think are most deserving. Take a moment to read one of Jamie’s storied matched with the beauty of Ilva’s photos and see  for yourself what others are recognizing; this is truly a deserving pair!

As a reward for your efforts; I offer this cake! So simple and delicious on it’s own, Jamie accompanies it with a just a drizzle of chocolate. I love chocolate but prefer it mixed with something ‘not chocolate’ and this frosting was perfect. The cake has a slight amount of  cinnamon in it. Adding a cinnamon buttercream frosting made it a bit more decadent but sometimes decadent is good. I plan to give it to a neighbor for her birthday and this will be her first experience with food  blogger food; you know where the cake has two slices sort of wedged back in place. :)

So, for me, please go vote (of course for Plated Stories!) and then? Let them eat cake!

Fabulous and Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake from Lifes a Feast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Serves 6-8
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Scant ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup warm milk
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • Chocolate curls for garnishing cake
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Oil and line with parchment paper either one 9-inch round cake pan or two 7-inch (18 cm) round cake pans. (I had a graduated series so mine are one 8-inch round and the top is a 6-inch round).
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamo together in in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the warm milk, the oil, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. For a smooth, lump-free batter, pour about a quarter of the liquid ingredients into the well, and using a whisk with small, brisk circular movements, mix with just enough of the dry until you have a thick, smooth, lump-free batter in the center. Add some more of the liquid, pull in a bit more of the dry ingredients and briskly whisk again until your batter is smooth.
  5. Continue until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into your batter, add any remaining liquid and mix a final time.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s) and bake for about 30 minutes (for one 9-inch round pan and depending on your oven) until the center of your cake or layers is just firm to the touch, completely cooked through. The cake should start to pull away from the sides of the pan just after it is removed from the oven. Adjust your time depending on the size of your cake pans; My 8-inch one needed 25 minutes and the 6 inch one about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove to racks, let cool for about 10 minutes, then slide a sharp knife blade around the edges to loosen, turn the cake out onto racks, peel off the parchment paper, flip back upright and let cool completely. Serve as is with a dusting of confectioner's sugar or a drizzle of chocolate or layer it with frosting.
To Make the Cinnamon Frosting:
  1. Beat the butter In the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon milk and beat on high speed until the frosting is spreading consistency. If the frosting is stiff, add a few more drops of milk, beating after each addition. Frost the cooled cake and garnish with chocolate curls.
  2. This recipe makes enough to frost two 9-inch layers or 24 cupcakes so you might have some leftover. I love it on graham crackers!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Juan Carlo October 15, 2014 at 1:30 am

It looks simple and delicious that will surely fit to a mini party. The cinnamon at the top of the cake is amazing and will add sweet smell to the cake.
Juan Carlo Most Recent Post: Book Your Tasting Experience at Juan Carlo

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2 Creative Culinary October 15, 2014 at 8:45 am

Yes it is all those things!

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3 Laura @ Adirondack Weddings Magazine April 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Speaking of props, here is another great one! What a fabulous mint green cake stand, and an even more spectacular cake. This is gorgeous. It could easily be a wedding cake–we’ve noticed that many couples are forsaking 7-tier monstrosities in favor of reasonably-sized lovely creations like this one.
Laura @ Adirondack Weddings Magazine Most Recent Post: ADK Cream Puffs with Homemade Chocolate Sauce

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4 Creative Culinary May 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

My kids better be thinking that way when the day comes. I sort of feel like this…have a small ceremony and money for a house or blow it all on a big party? I would take the house down payment; hoping I taught them well. Of course your magazine probably wouldn’t cover that wedding! Even if I make the cake. :)

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5 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking April 9, 2014 at 8:44 am

What a wonderful collaboration this cake was! It’s absolutely stunning. Perfect for choco-holics like me!

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6 Creative Culinary April 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I still long for the day she and I actually collaborate in a kitchen. Forget blog conferences, couldn’t GE just host a bunch of bloggers and let us all cook together? :)

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7 Fun Games Girl April 8, 2014 at 6:47 am

Wow Wonder full & big Cake…always facing lots of problem and this cake baking difficult task for me always……but you easily make it because you are very talented baking master…
Fun Games Girl Most Recent Post: Kimmy Fashionista

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8 Liz April 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

My vote has already been tallied! What a wonderful tribute to a stellar blogger. Your cake looks fantastic…and it’s one my family would adore!

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9 Carol Sacks April 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

A really lovely, heartfelt post, Barb. And, that cake looks divine!

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10 Holly April 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Barb, is that the cake stand from One Kings Lane?? It is gorgeous!! To stop myself from buying things there I simply delete their email before opening it. I’m not quite ready to hit “unsubscribe” because I know I’ll find something I’ll love from there. So far I have an entry way bench and a foyer table– how have I missed out on these baking accessories? So pretty!
Holly Most Recent Post: Apple Cake for Passover

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11 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Yes it is! I have a porch bench and a few more prop things than I care to mention. All absolutely necessary items. :)

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12 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme April 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

I just adore Jamie’s writing and Ilva’s photography! It is without doubt some of the best in the blogosphere and I have happily cast a vote in their favor. Oh, and the cake…absolutely divine.
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Easy Peach Turnovers

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13 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Thanks Lana…for everything; voting for two deserving contenders and your sweet comment about this delicious little cake.

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14 Jamie April 9, 2014 at 6:43 am

Thank you so very much, dear Lana! That means a lot to me <3
Jamie Most Recent Post: An Easy Wonderful One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

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15 nancy buchanan April 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

Beautiful post and cake Barb, though I think I disagree with you on your writing talents! But I am like you – there are many days when I’d love to simply post – “hope you enjoy this” – and in fact I may just start doing this from time to time!!!!
I’ve been thinking a lot about cakes lately so I think I definitely need to bake this one… after I go and vote of course!!!

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16 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:56 am

It’s such an easy and moist cake and really good; quick or not! Oh I can write. I think. Maybe not. But I don’t love it. :)

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17 Jamie April 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

Oooh I really appreciate your vote, Nancy! Thank you!
Jamie Most Recent Post: An Easy Wonderful One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

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18 John@Kitchen Riffs April 7, 2014 at 10:30 am

The awards where one votes are nonsense, IMO. It’s certainly valid to run a competition to see who is the most popular, but that doesn’t automatically translate to “best.” That said, I’ll go vote! Jamie is good people. Great recipe, super read — thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: The Twentieth Century Cocktail

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19 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

I agree John which is why I wanted to support two who I think truly deserving. I’m just most surprised (and delighted) that the contenders don’t include the same old, same old blogs that have big traffic but aren’t necessarily stellar pieces of work. I’ve always pushed that a committee or editors should do the choosing but then the reality is that these sites want the mega hits a public voting process brings so I daresay it will never happen.

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20 Jamie April 9, 2014 at 6:46 am

John, I could not agree with you more! And happily Saveur finally realized this and have not only given their voice in who the finalists are rather than just tallying nominations but they are also awarding an editor’s choice winner for each category. That said, I really do not like harassing friends for their votes but for something like this I have little choice.

I really do appreciate your vote! Thank you and thank you for your very kind words!

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21 Abbe@This is How I Cook April 7, 2014 at 9:16 am

Beautiful story about Jamie! It will take me awhile to check out all those blogs but it seems they have a great variety. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to Europe for a class? In my dreams! In any case, this cake is dream worthy! Looks great, Barb!
Abbe@This is How I Cook Most Recent Post: Flourless, Gluten Free, Passover Fudge Cake and My Passover Menu

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22 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

That is my dream Abbe; or well, just to get about ANYWHERE is my dream. Your house even. :)

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23 Pat April 7, 2014 at 8:04 am

This is a beautiful cake, Barbara….and a very interesting story on your friend, Jamie.

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24 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

Thank you Pat and I’m happy to introduce my readers to Jamie; she’s one of the very best!

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25 Jamie April 9, 2014 at 6:47 am

(blushing)… and so are you, Barb.
Jamie Most Recent Post: An Easy Wonderful One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

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26 Renee - Kudos Kitchen April 7, 2014 at 7:55 am

Lovely post, lovely cake, lovely ladies! I’m also glad you found just the right cake for that perfect cake stand! I’ve been waiting to see it all decked out with something delicious :)
Renee – Kudos Kitchen Most Recent Post: Sriracha Roasted Chickpeas

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27 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Thanks Renee! I’m looking for my next adventure with it; thinking something later in the spring with strawberries HAS to happen!

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28 Ilva April 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

What a friend YOU are Barbara, Jamie is very lucky to have you close! I really hope that we will meet you in Washington next year (IACP) or why not and even better, at one of our workshops?! Thank you for the wonderful PR!
Ilva Most Recent Post: Do me a favour….

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29 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

Either or…would love and you are most welcome Ilva; the two of you make a fine pair!

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30 Paula April 7, 2014 at 6:56 am

What a beautifully written tribute of your friendship with Jamie and of her collaborative work with Ilva. Wishing them much continued success both with the Saveur nomination and Plated Stories.

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31 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:48 am

Thanks Paula; I would be able to do the same for you if the time comes you need a friend to support an effort of yours!

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32 Jamie April 7, 2014 at 2:45 am

I truly think Ilva and I need to hire you to do our PR. You are truly an amazing friend and believe it or not, a marvelous writer. Your words here have me welling up… but the words about our friendship (and pups) is more than true. I get such joy out of others baking the recipes I have on my blog (especially my favorite recipes and this chocolate cake is the most-baked cake for my family that is on my entire blog) but nothing thrills me more (as a devoted writer) than knowing that others read my words and stories with joy and emotion. Thank you for all of this.

And thank you for voting and for sharing the Saveur link. We are so honored and excited to have been selected as a finalist.
Jamie Most Recent Post: Cocoa Espresso Almond Passover Sponge Cake (gluten free)

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33 Creative Culinary April 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

You are too sweet; maybe the thing is that I can write but I just don’t love doing it. Which can be good since I also never suffer over it; mine is definitely just typing out a stream of conscientiousness which can often result in a little or a lot and some made up words in between! Here’s to you and Ilva!!

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