Cakes in a Box
I bake cakes for you. Sometimes, I write.

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1am thoughts and a recipe for chocolate cake

I have been sick for almost a week, but because I am a giant baby, it has felt like an eternity. Illness breeds hyperboles, and I am not above making them. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been this sick, and it’s been accompanied by a sore throat are chills, aches, and major congested everything. Y’all, I don’t remember what it’s like to breathe with my nose. 

I guess this isn’t the best segue into a recipe for a chocolate cake, so I’ll write a little more before I get there.

I turned 29 two weeks ago, and man, is there anything less eventful than turning 29? I’m waiting for the mid-life crisis that comes with hitting 30—I hear that’s what happens, at least. 

My birthday this year was a quiet day for the most part, spent in the sun on a hike with the love of my life, got some tacos, got some cream puffs, got some Italian food. It was very laidback, very low-key, and while it was nice, there was something about this birthday that made me very aware of the fact that I’m no longer “young” and it was a little disheartening. 

I feel like people make it a point of pride when they say that they’re too old to celebrate their birthday. Like, “Oh, I’m too old to make a big deal out of it.” I have never understood this. You get ONE day to celebrate your birthday, to celebrate you—and that’s everything about you! Even if you’re kind of a dick, you get to be celebrated! 

I know this sounds conceited, but I love reading birthday messages because it’s such a nice reminder of the people in life are in my life. It’s so easy to live day after day without any real appreciation for yourself, and to be reminded of why you are great is nice. Birthdays are the ultimate treat yo’selfs (this is a weird tense but I stand by it). 

Anyway, this year, Mr. Cakes in a Box baked me a cake. His first! And it was honestly so good. Please appreciate a photo of the beautiful crumb coat of his cake, because I really can’t believe he managed to pull this out of his ass. The man’s FIRST TIME, and he comes up with a moist, rich, and delightful chocolate cake. 


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I will say that his decorating could use a little work, but you know what will really speak for itself? The fact that we finished his damn cake. The entire thing. And we hardly touched the one I made for myself. I went with a malt chocolate fudge cake with espresso fudge sauce and chocolate swiss meringue buttercream… and we ate maybe two slices. 

Anyway, no matter how you feel about birthdays, Ima tell you this: YOU. DESERVE. A. BIRTHDAY. CAKE. And let it be a chocolate one. 

Here’s my favourite chocolate cake recipe. I’m not gonna talk you through it this time. I’m tired. It’s 1:30am now. Enjoy.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe
Makes one three-layer 6″ cake

Ingredients
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ cups flour
1½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1½ cups brown sugar
¾ cup sour cream
5 tbsp vegetable oil
¾ boiling hot coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp salt

Method
1. Preheat to 350°. Prepare three 6″ cake pans with butter and cocoa powder.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder into bowl; then whisk to combine.
3. Whisk egg, egg yolk, brown sugar, sour cream, oil, vanilla, salt, and coffee in separate bowl until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes before inverting cake layers onto rack to cool completely.

Joyce Ng