"So Basic" puts a trendy twist on your favorite dishes with our culinary producer and resident cookie man Grant Melton. Learn how to make everything from fried chicken to chocolate cake—but better—with Grant’s pro tips and tricks, by subscribing here.
Baking is divisive. Either people love it (like me) or they hate it (like Rach).
To help all the haters come over to my side, I love coming up with recipes that speak to some of the things people hate about it:
- Measuring (try my No-Measure Cake)
- The actual “baking” part (hello, No-Bake Strawberry Shortcake)
- Too many ingredients! (not anymore with these 2-ingredient desserts)
- It takes too long (enter my desserts that only take 60 seconds to make)
Long story short, I’m always coming up with desserts that are just as satisfying as they are simple.
In the video above, I also dish out a few helpful tips that you can apply to almost any chocolate cake recipe.
1. ADD ESPRESSO POWDER
The first is the addition of a little bit of espresso powder. The espresso powder does not add a coffee flavor, but instead boosts the chocolate flavor by highlighting its richness. (It's much like adding vanilla extract to a chocolate cookie.)
2. ADD WARM WATER
I also add warm water to the cake batter. This is to help the cocoa powder "bloom." I could look up an exact definition for bloom, but I’d rather just explain to you how it was just explained to me. Think of cocoa powder like ground coffee. It tastes fine on its own, but it tastes way richer, more flavorful and, well, chocolatey when it’s mixed with warm water.
3. ADD A RICH FROSTING
If you wanted to serve this cake naked, with just a dust of cocoa powder over top, you totally could. But I love frosting, so I also wanted to share with you how I make my go-to 5-ingredient chocolate buttercream. It’s luscious, creamy and super-rich. Oh, and when I make it, I make quite an embarrassing mess, which you just have to see to believe!