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Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake

Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake

This month’s crazy cooking challenge is chocolate cake. The assignment is to go out into the blogosphere, find a chocolate cake posted on someone’s food blog, and make it. I knew the instant I saw this cake from Not so Humble Pie I wanted to make it … how could you resist anything called “Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake”?

I was a little afraid to mess with the recipe because I could tell she obviously knows a LOT about baking, but I did make a few modifications to “healthify” this cake … I cut down the sugar a bit and instead of water I used a good heavy stout beer (What’s a chocolate cake without beer, after all? I am such a goof.) I substituted plain yogurt for half of the oil. I used whole eggs instead of egg yolks. And I used part white whole wheat flour. I know everyone goes on and on about using the “right” kind of flour in a cake, but personally I think whole wheat flour adds moisture and depth to baked goods.

Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Not so Humble Pie

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup stout beer (or boiling water, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant expresso powder or crystals
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and set a baking stone on it. (If you don’t have a stone, the cake will survive don’t worry. Just be prepared to trim any uneven tops and make sure the cake gets an adequate amount of time in the oven to fully cook.)
  2. You’ll need two 9″ or two 8″cake pans for this cake. Spray the pans with non-stick spray oil and then sprinkle with flour. Swirl the pans around a bit to coat the bottom and sides with flour. (Or I suppose you could use parchment paper … I am a green fanatic so I don’t like using anything “disposable” where I can avoid it.)
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Stir until combined and then slowly add the stout beer (or water) while whisking. The mixture will bubble up a bit while the baking soda reacts with the cocoa. Once it’s all mixed well, heat the sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Then remove from the heat and let it stand for at least 10 minutes.
  4. While you’re waiting on the chocolate mixture, go get yourself another beer (because you just poured most of it into the cake!), then pour the oil and vanilla and yogurt into a large bowl and get your mixer ready.
  5. After 10 minutes has passed, stir the espresso powder into the chocolate mixture, then add the chocolate mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed for about 20 seconds. With a minimum amount of beating, add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk, then mix in the flours. The batter will be fairly thin.
  6. Divide the batter fairly evenly between the two pans and place in the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (for 9″ rounds. Add 5-7 more minutes for 8″ rounds) until the center of the cake springs back when you touch it.  (I waited till the toothpick came out clean … which took about 10 – 15 minutes longer than she mentioned …)
  7. Allow to cool completely then wrap the cakes tightly and place them in the refrigerator to chill before assembling.

I still wanted to do the ganache on the top and the chocolate mousse filling like she did, but I wanted a healthier version of both, so after much trial and tribulation, I came up with my own versions of both. (You have no idea how hard it was to make the mousse! … the first recipe I tried called for gelatine, which made these disgusting blobs of slimy goo in the mousse, so I threw it down the drain … the 2nd one I made was better, but way too sweet and didn’t have enough depth of flavor … so I ended up making my own personal mocha Nutella version, which I think is just about right to go with this cake. Honestly, though, you could skip all the trouble of making ganache and mousse and just sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar … it’s pretty dang good all by itself.)

Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake

To assemble (if you choose to assemble):

I just want to say … these steps are totally optional. You may totally skip the pain if you are a baking klutz (like me).

  1. Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand.
  2. “Frost” the bottom half with the chocolate mousse.
  3. Place the 2nd half on top of the mousse’d up cake. Watch it slip and slide around a bit and ooze down the sides. (Sigh … why couldn’t it be as beautiful as HERS?)
  4. Frost the top half with the ganache. If your ganache has cooled too much while waiting sooo long for the stupid mousse to get done, warm it for 30 seconds in the microwave, stir again till it’s nice and smooth, then spread it on the top of the cake.
  5. Now what I did was take my whipped light cream and docorated with that and a strawberry. The problem with the whipped light cream is that it fades REALLY fast, so do this RIGHT at serving time. A better way to eat this cake is to skip the whipped cream, and just top it with fresh berries and then drizzle with red wine or berry liqueur. Oh man THAT is gooood!

Dark Chocolate Mocha Ganache

  • 4 squares (43 g) of 60% dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons good quality dark cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fat free half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl along with the Kahlua and cocoa. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then take it out and stir. Is the chocolate melted? If not, put it back in the microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir again. If the chocolate is melted, stir in the half and half and the vanilla.

Lowfat Mocha Nutella Mousse

I don’t know that this was meant for a cake filling … or maybe I just didn’t let it chill long enough … if you prefer, you can skip this step and just make a double batch of ganache … or I also thought that the Yoplait chocolate whipped yogurt might work well here … just a thought …

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 2 teaspoons good quality dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of the ganache you just made
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon French Vanilla cappucino powder
Beat the egg white at medium or high till soft peaks form, then sprinkle the cream of tartar on while still beating until the peaks are firm. Add the remaining ingredients, beating to mix. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours until it’s firmed up.
Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake


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Click here to see all the other great chocolate cakes in this month’s cooking challenge

This recipe was also shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat TuesdaysTalent Show TuesdaysMidweek Fiesta, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyFabulous Valentine’s Ideas, a Valentine’s Day Blog Hop, Recipe of the Week, and Gooseberry Patch Pies & Cakes.

25 responses

  1. Yummy!!! This is a sinful Cake! It looks beautiful!

    February 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm

  2. Looks and sounds delicious! I also tried to healthify the recipe I did somewhat. But my switching applesauce from oil was a far cry from what you did!

    February 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm

  3. The name of your cake is dead on…it looks so dark and chocolaty it does look sinful! In a delicious kinda way!:) (Visiting from the CCC…I’m #60)

    February 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

  4. I had my husband look at all of the challenge cakes and asked him which one looked the best… thinking he’d scroll right down to my cake. But no he picked your cake LOL. This does look amazing, nice job Ann.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm

  5. Jenny

    This looks so delicious! Good job!

    February 8, 2012 at 3:58 am

  6. So pretty! Love the strawberry on top. The cake looks moist, dark and delicious; thanks for sharing!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

  7. Midnight sin indeed! Wow!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

  8. Oh, that does look mighty sinful:) I love the strawberry heart. So pretty!

    February 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

  9. Jennifer | Mother Thyme

    This looks absolutely delicious! A great selection for the Crazy Cooking Challenge!

    February 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

  10. Love all the changes you make and your cake looks gorgeous.

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my Crazy Cooking Challenge entry: Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake

    Cook Lisa Cook

    February 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  11. Your cake looks so good! I like how you made it healthier and I think the Nutella Mousse sounds really good. Stopping by from CCC#45.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  12. It’s cool if I just invite myself right over right? I mean you did save me a piece right? I am drooling. You are a rock star.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:50 am

  13. Ann

    Thank you everyone! Of course I saved you a piece … come on over:)

    February 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

  14. This is an awesome cake and a sure winner! Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful week!
    Miz Helen

    February 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

  15. I am all over a chocolate cake that decadent!!!! It looks amazing and I bet it tasted even better:-) Thank you for sharing on Trick or Treat Tuesday!!!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm

  16. What a great lighter version of a decadent cake! It looks wonderful.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  17. Amy

    oh !!I am going crazy by looking at it!! So delicious!!!

    February 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

  18. Wow, this looks devilishly good! Thanks for linking up to my v-day blog hop!:-)

    February 12, 2012 at 1:03 am

  19. That looks wonderful!

    February 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

  20. Pingback: Chocolate Mousse, Yogurt, & Banana Bread Trifle « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  21. I have no words for how good this looks. The filling is making me drool! Your pictures are amazing!

    February 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    • Ann

      Thank you so much Corey! It’s a crazy good cake.

      February 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

  22. Ann, how did I miss this during the CCC? I’m now drooling all over my keyboard. Pinned and added to my “must make” list. And with beer in the cake and Kahlua in the mousse, what’s not to want! Sinful is right!

    May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    • Ann

      It is such a good cake! You’re going to love it … and I bet yours turns out WAY prettier than mine LOL

      May 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

  23. I always love to try different kinds of chocolate cakes and this one never disappoints me. It looks really good and mouthwatering! I love how the chocolate surrounds the sides of the cake.

    July 10, 2012 at 3:33 am

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