When we lived in Singapore, mom once bought a desserts cookbook, mostly about cakes and so on. It had really interesting recipes, a few photographs of the finished dishes and in between were interwoven poems, anecdotes and the like, all to do with cooking. It was a delight to leaf through it, and the one recipe I was attracted to at once was for a Black as midnight cake. Over the years, we have made it several times. I think I've made it at least once for a bakesale at school. Mom once baked it for a New Year's Eve party but forgot the sugar. Thankfully the Cadbury's chocolate powder we had used was pre-sweetened so we had a somewhat grown-up tasting but still sweet cake. Another time one of us left out either the eggs or the baking powder so we had a dense cake, though it was still delicious.
I had forgotten about this and then recently when Bojji pestered me to bake a cake for his birthday, hit upon this as a pretty special and new-to-the-kids recipe, since what Bojji actually wanted was a cheesecake, but we didn't have Philadelphia Cream Cheese at home. Turns out it is as easy to make as I remembered, and turns out a delicious cake - light, yet moist, and large enough to feed the unnaturally large appetites of several children and grown-ups. Layered with a salted caramel sauce and icecream on the side, it is one of the few things getting us through The Great Cash Crunch of 2016!
2 cups regular flour
1 cup sugar ( if large crystals); 1.5 cups if smaller size crystals
3/4 cup cocoa ( I prefer regular Hershey's but you can go all swank and try dark chocolate powder)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup brewed black coffee ( no sugar)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Sift the dry ingredients together in the order given. Then add the wet ingredients in the order given. Mix well. Pour into 1 or 2 9 inch diameter lined or greased and floured baking pans. Pop into a pre-heated oven at 150 centigrade for 35 minutes, then crank up to 175 centigrade for another 15 minutes. If baking in 2 pans, do remember to interchange the pans halfway through the baking so they both get equal amounts of heat.
Top with a sift of icing sugar, black frosting, dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel...well you get the picture, I hope. We barely did, since it was eaten up so quickly!!!