Hot fudge cake is one of my favorites to make when we want a little something sweet in the evenings, especially at this time of year. Hot fudge cake is the kind of cake that bakes on the top into a crinkly, brownie-like crust and then has a layer of "hot fudge" underneath; you don't slice it so much as you scoop it. After baking, you keep it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap and when you want to serve it, you dig out a wedge with a spoon, dribble some of the topping over it and then microwave it for a minute or so. It heats up very nicely and comes out of the microwave all steamy and cocoa-fragrant, ready for a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream or a squirt of whipped cream.
It's a nice little dessert for cold evenings, if you're not too susceptible to the ravages of sugar, that is, both in your bloodstream and at your waistline. Which is why I tinkered with this recipe from a magazine my mom gave me (that's their image, by the way; I kept taking pictures of my own cake and with my decidedly amateurish photo-taking skills, I kept coming up with images that looked like bowls of roofing tar) so that I could reduce the amount of sugar without reducing the rich, chocolatey taste. I think I was successful, so I hope you'll give it a try if you're a sugar-avoiding chocolate lover and let me know if you liked it.
By the way, this is one of those recipes that's usually baked in a 9x9 pan, but I have a family and we like a sweet treat in the evenings, and if I bake this in a 9x13 baking pan, we can have a piece for about four nights running, which is very nice indeed. If you don't want that much cake -- and if you don't, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!! -- then just cut the recipe neatly in half and use the 9x9 pan.
HOT FUDGE CAKE (lower sugar recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Splenda sugar substitute
1/2 cup cocoa powder, divided
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (1%, 2% or whole, your choice)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, Splenda, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, melted butter and vanilla until smooth.
Spread mixture into a 9x13 baking dish that's been lightly coated with cooking spray. Combine the topping ingredients (brown sugar, Splenda, cocoa) and sprinkle them over the batter. Pour hot water over all; do not stir. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cake will be jiggly when you take it out of the oven because of the fudgy "topping" underneath the baked cake.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Re-heats very nicely. Looks cute with some festive red and green sprinkles on top.
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