Recipe: Filipino-Style Moist Chocolate Cake

I ALWAYS crave for chocolate. And this sealed the deal. 
When you've had Filipino chocolates cakes, you'll immediately think "this hits the spot". It has this deep dark chocolate taste and it's sweet. It's moist, dense, and every bite is just rich. Almost like having a tablea tsokolate (roasted and molded discs of pure cacao nibs used to make Filipino or Spanish hot chocolate) in cake form.

If you've had Becky's or Polly's chocolate fudge cake, you'll know what I'm talking about. Becky's Kitchen had those iconic red, white, and gold boxes. This bakeshop was in Malate, Manila and mom would bring home some boxes. It wouldn't even matter what was really inside them, we just knew it was good. Then when Carlo started courting me, when we started dating, he would bring me a box of Polly's chocolate cake (it would be this or a tin or box of Mrs. Field's cookies) every time he'd drive over to our house.

(the above 3 photos are not my photos)

Don't get me wrong. I love buying French and Italian made cakes. Patisseries and bakeshops here in Toronto are exceptional. Even eastern European cakes are delectable! Sometimes, if I need a cake fix, store-bought cakes will do but I'm never really satisfied, never truly happy. I never really enjoyed cakes that were grainy, tasting like plastic (yes, you know what I mean. Those large sheet cakes bought from a grocery and just look... made out of obligation, consumer wants just to be met). Filipino cakes just speak directly to my heart, my core. I just feel these cakes are just straight up goodness. Nothing pretentious.

Cake was clearly an integral part of our family. My mom would make cakes when I was younger and waking up to the scent of carbs caramelizing with sheet cakes, sponges and dacquoise (for sans rival) coming out of the oven. They'd make the day start out just a tad bit sweeter. Not to mention all the bowls and containers with the icings all ready to dress up the cakes. And oh! ANY excuse my mom could conjure up to have cake at home? Well.... they've all been used. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, summer break, Sunday dessert, a new puppy, the dog's birthdays, there-might-be-visitors, a viewing party,... ANYTHING. And we welcomed every excuse to have cake at home. 

Filipino-Style Moist Chocolate Cake
I used an 8x8 inch square pan to make this. You can use 2 8-inch loaf pans, use cupcakes pans, a round pan, or a 9x9 inch square pan (it will just be a thinner cake). 

You'll need the following to make this: some mixing bowls, a sifter/strainer, a rubber spatula, an offset spatula, a hand mixer, an 8x8 inch square baking pan, parchment paper, a sauce-pot, and a wire rack.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, large
1 cup milk, whole fresh milk (2% is fine, don't replace this with evaporated milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp instant coffee, diluted in 2 tsp of water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

​Chocolate Icing Ingredients
1 can (350 ml) evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (do not use dutch processed cocoa powder)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 tbsp butter, unsalted

melted butter or cooking spray for the baking tin

1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line your square pan with parchment paper and spray the tin or brush it with melted butter to allow the paper to stick to the tin.
2. In a bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and whisk with the hand mixer. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, coffee, and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated, no lumps. Continue beating while pouring the boiling water in the batter. Mix well for about 2 more minutes.
3. Pour the batter into the lined baking tin. Pop in the oven and let this bake for 33-35 minutes (if you're using a round pan, you may need to extend to 45 minutes). Use a toothpick to check the centre, if it comes out clean, you're good to go.
4. Let this cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. Flip on a plate cake and strip away the parchment paper. Let this continue to cool.
5. To make the icing/frosting, add all the ingredients in a sauce pot except for the butter. Let this cook on low and stir continuously with your spatula. Once it starts to thicken, add the butter and continue to let this cook for another 3 minutes. Let this cool for 15 minutes to further thicken.
6. Pour some icing on the middle of the cake and using your offset spatula, spread this evenly towards the edges and sides of the cake. You can add more icing on top of the cake and even out in horizontal strokes.
7. ENJOY!!! You can definitely cute yourself a slice right away. If you want it to set more, pop it in the chiller for around 10 minutes (although, the frosting may harden and it will definitely create a film).

You can keep this at room temperature for 2 (maybe even 3) days but it's definitely recommended to store in the chiller, in an air tight container and can extend to up to 5 days. Every time I make a full recipe, I store half of it in the freezer and just defrost a portion when I'm craving for another slice.

*If the frosting is too runny, you can add another tbsp of flour. This will help it hold better, especially if it's the summer and room temperature above a few degrees than it's normal gauge. 

**If you want to use the drip method, you could do that as well. Instead of transferring the cake sponge on a plate, flip on a wire rack instead and place this on a baking sheet. Pour the icing all over the cake while it's still warm. Let this dress the cake and help it with your offset spatula to form an even layer all throughout the surfaces.

***This makes a great gift as loaf cakes too or a great partner to afternoon tea. One recipe just divided into 2 loaf tins. If you wanted, you could slice the cake sponge in the middle, horizontally and add a layer of the fudge icing. 

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