Maryland fudge cake

I love when I see something tasty yet simple that has me hopping into the kitchen for a little baking therapy.  A couple of days ago, I saw this recipe for a Maryland fudge cake at Food52 that immediately tempted me.  I was lured by the simple, uncomplicated process and, frankly, the plain fact that I'd end up with a fudge cake at the end of it all.  I mean, how bad can that be?  The answer is, not bad at all.
I made a small 6-inch version of the cake - more like a torte, which I always think of as relatively thin, single-layer cakes, usually made with nuts.  This cake/torte is a lot like a brownie.  It puffs as it bakes and you end up with a crackly top and a crust, especially along the edges, which are almost hard in a wonderfully dense and chewy kind of way.  At its core, it is meltingly moist and sweet.  Offsetting the sweetness, studs of toasted walnuts give the cake a ton of texture and flavor.  
This cake is easy to make, a great little simple after-dinner treat to slice up and share.  I opted out of the thin layer of chocolate frosting you can make and top this cake with.  I think it's sweet and moist enough already without it.  The cake tastes great plain, also good with a little whipped cream on the side.  Ultimately though, I recommend it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
It's so interesting to learn about regional cooking, as in the case of this Maryland fudge cake, a recipe found in a publication from the 1960's.  Also interestingly enough, I had recently seen a show featuring Smith Island Cake (Smith Island being off the mainland coast of Maryland; the cake is considered the "official" dessert of the state of Maryland).  I was tempted by it but Smith Island Cake is a far more complicated affair - featuring as many as 15 thin layers of cake alternating with thin layers of fudge!  You can probably imagine why I choose to dive into this far simpler fudge cake for the time being.  



Recipe:

Maryland Fudge Cake
Adapted from Food52

- Makes one 6-inch round cake (you can double the recipe and bake cake in an 8 or 9-inch cake pan) - 

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 6-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.  

Gently melt chocolate in the microwave; stir in espresso powder, if using.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) until pale and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl, as needed.  Add egg, beat until incorporated.  Add vanilla and mix.  Then, add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.  Remove bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour and salt.  Stir with a rubber spatula until just blended.  Lastly, fold in the walnuts.  

Scrape batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothly the top.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cake is very puffed and a cake tester inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs, not wet batter.  

Remove cake from the oven, run a knife around the sides of the cake to lossen, and let cool on a wire rack before turning the cake out of the pan.  

Place cake onto a serving plate, dust the top with a little confectioners' sugar, if desired.  Slice and serve alone, with some whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  




16 comments:

  1. I too love that fudgy texture and with nuts and chocolate..the cake has to taste heavenly!

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    1. It's a nice little treat with a scoop of ice cream. : )

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  2. It looks so scrumptious :)
    Definitely my kind of fudge cake with nuts!

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    1. The nuts do a good job offsetting the sweetness of the cake.

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  3. What a delicious looking and sounding cake Monica, I usually call cakes like this snacking cakes because from the description you have given.......I wont be able to stop eating it.

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    1. haha - making a small version is one way to circumvent over-eating... :)

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  4. This cake looks delicious, yum, yum, yum! Can I have a piece, Monica?

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    1. haha - yes, would love to share. : )

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  5. This maryland fudge cake looks so scrumptious, Monica. That fudgy texture + nuts + chocolates is making me drool. I am loving how easy it is.

    Anu
    https://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. The ease factor is big. It reminds my husband and I of a nut brownie with ice cream they serve at a place called Houston's that we used to go to a lot. : )

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  6. Coffee and chocolate together is so rich and delicious. I know this would be that perfect sweet ending. Is it really rich? More like cake or more like fudge?

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    1. No, I wouldn't say it's very rich and it is somewhere between cake and fudge - like a brownie. It's on the sweet side so I go scant on the sugar; the walnuts offset some of that sweetness. Hope that helps.

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  7. Wow - it doesn't get much better than this Monica! What a terrific recipe and I love the way you served it. Simple and delicious and beautiful too!

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    1. "Off-screen", we had it with vanilla ice cream. That pretty much makes everything better. Thanks for the kind words, Tricia.

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  8. haha yup, I don't think winding up with fudge cake is EVER a bad thing!! And I love that it involves walnuts too - I've been on such a kick with them lately!!

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    1. Exactly...and we definitely share the love of nuts. It makes so many baked good all the better, doesn't it? : )

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