Yvonne Ruperti
Hallam Stevens

Think you need a ton of fancy equipment to make the perfect pumpkin muffin? Think again. In her new book, One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes For Delicious Desserts, recipe developer YVONNE RUPERTI — who previously owned a bakery and has appeared on PBS’ America’s Test Kitchen — shows how to create praiseworthy treats without fuss or muss.

American Way: How did you get interested in baking?
Yvonne Ruperti: I grew up lucky enough to have my great-grandmother around, and she was always doing a ton of baking from scratch. It left an impression on me — just how much she enjoyed it and how much fun it was. … And when I was 9, my mother had two magazines: Bon Appétit and Cosmopolitan. I went for Bon Appétit.

AW: Where did you get the idea for this book?
I didn’t want to have a lot of cleanup when I was baking. For years, I moved around a lot and didn’t own mixers. So, I found myself taking shortcuts, like mixing by hand. I wanted to show people you could have these great recipes — but in a simpler way.

AW: What tips do you have for busy bakers?
Read the recipe through before baking and make sure you get your ingredients, such as softened butter, to whatever temperature they’re supposed to be.

AW: Any special tools you’d recommend?
A scale. You take a bowl and just pop the bowl on the scale and then grab ingredients from your cupboard and just measure right into the scale. It saves a ton of time. And it really makes the recipe more precise because everything is measured. Use as big a bowl as you can. Also, a whisk, wooden spoon and rubber spatula.

AW: Would this type of baking be good during the holidays?
For sure, especially because [it is] so quick. This will leave you more time to spend with your guests!

Triple Chocolate Blackout Cake with Espresso Ganache
“Just like every girl has a little black dress as her go-to outfit, this is my go-to cake when I want to impress without much effort,” Ruperti says. “It’s deep, dark, moist and chocolaty with a thick candy-bar coating of bittersweet ganache. One unique note about this cake is that the batter holds up ... it can be prepared up to two days ahead of time, refrigerated and then baked. Take extra care when inverting the cakes, because they are super moist. Store refrigerated for a dense, fudgy texture, or at room temperature up to four days.”

Triple Chocolate Blackout Cake with Espresso Ganache
Evan Sung
Makes 1 (9-inch) Cake

2 ounces (55 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (240 milliliters) hot coffee
1 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces or 215 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) cocoa powder
1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) packed light-brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup (120 milliliters) vegetable oil
1 cup (240 milliliters) buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

16 ounces (455 milliliters) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ¾ cups (420 milliliters)
heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Place an oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to
350 F. Spray the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

To make the cake: Stir the chocolate into the hot coffee until it’s melted; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Whisk in the oil, buttermilk, coffee/chocolate mix, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake until just firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then invert the layers out of the pans to cool completely before frosting.

To make the ganache: In a large heatproof bowl, heat the chocolate with the cream and espresso powder, whisking gently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Chill until spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

To assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread 1 cup of ganache over the top. Place second cake on top (bottom-side up). Use 1 cup of ganache to frost the top and the remaining to frost the sides.

Recipe reprinted with permission from One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes For Delicious Desserts © 2013 by Yvonne Ruperti, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group