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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown

Bribery Cake

Sometimes, you just need cake. Sometimes, you just need cake and you don't want to run to the store to get more ingredients. Sometimes, that cake needs frosting. This hits a home run on all of these counts. Sure, you can skip the frosting, too, and have the cake plain or with ice cream but ... the frosting really rocks.

I first found this recipe online (Can't remember where, or I'd give credit), but had to tinker a little bit. Reduced the sugar, added some whole grain flour... it's pretty darn tasty this version. Enjoy!

Bribery Cake

This recipe makes one 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes

Cake with frosting that is totally possible on a weeknight. Win!


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white wheat, 1/4 c all purpose)

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mild-flavored oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces

3 egg whites, at room temperature

13/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder, stirred well to remove any clumps

sea salt (large flakes), for serving

Directions Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray pan. If you are making cupcakes, line the cupcake pans with foil paper liners (the batter is quite runny, so be sure to not fill the liners too full).

For the cake: Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, cocoa, sugar and vanilla together. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir until combined.

Bake a 9-inch square cake for 35 to 40 minutes and cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.

While the cake or cupcakes are baking, make the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Cut the butter into tablespoons. Fill a medium saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the metal mixing bowl (use the mixing bowl of a stand mixer if you have one.) Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk the mixture constantly for 4 minutes. The sugar will have dissolved, and the mixture will be opaque, bubbly, and very warm to the touch.

Carefully transfer the hot bowl to the electric mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed for 4 minutes or until it’s white and fluffy with stand-up peaks and more importantly, until the mixing bowl is no longer warm to the touch.

With the mixer still running, add the butter a few small pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Beat in the vanilla and the cocoa, until fully incorporated.

Cool cake on a wire rack. When cool, frost the top of the cake or the tops of the cupcakes with the buttercream. Sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!

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