The Cake That Tasted Like Nothing

Ohh this cake had potential. The recipe came from a trusted cookbook. I only purposely changed one ingredient. The batter (raw eggs be damned, I tried it) was delicious. The results were baffling.

The reason for baking this cake was standard: my husband wanted a chocolate cake. I always want any kind of cake, so it was time to bake a cake.

The recipe called for two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Let’s discuss how I like to add vanilla extract to my recipes: I just dump it in until I feel like I have added the right amount. Very precise.

My stand mixer is cleverly placed directly in front of my spice cabinet, so I can dump ingredients in the bowl at will, just grab, dump, replace. No counter clutter for me! This has also resulted in me making a few simple and highly preventable errors. This time, I added a decent pour of almond extract instead of vanilla. Noticing the liquid in question was clear and not the classic amber of vanilla, I immediately stopped and resumed with vanilla extract. I tasted the batter and it was quite tasty, so I called this one no harm no foul.

Fast forward to me proudly presenting my husband a slice of the chocolate cake he specifically requested. He digs in while I cut my own slice. “What do you think?” He is thoughtful. Too thoughtful. “Well, the frosting is really good. The cake doesn’t taste like anything. Not bad,  very moist, just not like anything. “. I am instantly offended, despite clearly having asked for his honest opinion. “What,?! The batter was delicious! You must be crazy.” *Takes bite* I feel the light crumb, and the cake is indeed moist. However, my husband’s description of the cake tasting like nothing is correct. It in no way offends me, but also has zero flavor. That said, I still ate half of the cake myself. Frosting ya’ll.

The frosting was fantastic, but considering it was made out of over a cup of butter and FIVE CUPS of powdered sugar, that is a given. And plus also chocolate.

Having made this cake before, I can only assume that almond extract+cocoa =bland. If you have an insane frosting you want to try, and only need cake so you don’t just eat the frosting with a spoon, make this recipe with almond extract. It will in no way compete with or overshadow your frosting.



In summation: pay attention and maybe actually measure your ingredients, you might notice you have grabbed the wrong one before it is too late.


Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: 8 slices
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Credit=Very very slightly adapted from Nestle Classic Recipes Cookbook


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee, room tempurature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons VANILLA extract


I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman


Preheat your oven to 350°F.  The recipe calls for you to grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. I use Baker’s Joy which works wonderfully and makes less of a mess.

Combine dry ingredients through salt in a large bowl. Into the same bowl, add all of your liquid ingredients. Beat the batter until everything is combined, about 2 minutes. Divide evenly into your cake pans and bake for 28 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for several hours in the pans before frosting.

After your cakes have cooled, make your frosting. Flip one pan onto a plate/cake stand/wherever you want your cake and put a thick layer of frosting in the middle. Spread to the sides. Place the second cake layer on top and frost.