Category Archives: Food Photography

My Favorite Chocolate Cake + Food Photography Tip

I am not a baker. Actually, I don’t think of myself as a cook at all. I LOVE to eat the results of great cooking and great baking. But, often, I’m cooking for just myself, and spending an hour or so in the kitchen to make a meal or bake a cake seems like a lot of effort to feed one person. Not to mention, I DO NOT need to eat an entire cake!

But I do have moments in which I want to bake something awesome. Yet I don’t want to bake that something awesome from scratch (I sorta kinda hate keeping all those ingredients stocked). So what do I do? I doctor a boxed cake mix. And I’ve gotta say — there’s a lot you can do to boxed cake that is super easy and makes for super delicious cake.

Today, I’m sharing my absolute favorite doctored-box-cake recipe. I like to call it Death by Chocolate. But let me tell you — it’s one ridiculously yummy death. And as long as you don’t make a habit of eating this stuff regularly, it really won’t kill you. Everything in moderation, right?

Heather-Rae-Murphy-Photography-Chocolate-Cake

Death by Chocolate

1 Devil’s Food Cake mix

1 package of chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup warm water

4 eggs

2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix the cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, vegetable oil, warm water, and beaten eggs in a large bowl. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer (because, seriously, you don’t want to spend your entire day mixing cake — unless of course you’re looking to build the arm strength of your one good arm). Once everything is well mixed, add the chocolate chips. I use the mini chocolate chips because I think they spread throughout the cake better than the larger ones. It’s like tiny morsels of chocolate surprise! (And when the cake is warm, they are all kinds of gooey goodness.) Fold in the chocolate chips (this time, use your arm power — if you use the hand mixer, you might break up the chocolate chips). Now, transfer all that goodness into a WELL greased bunt pan. I use a vegetable oil cooking spray to grease the pan. I spray to the point of over-spray because there’s nothing worse than your cake getting stuck in a bunt pan and falling to pieces (ok, there are plenty of things worse, but I like hyperbole). Bake for 50-55 minutes. Take out and let sit for at least an hour and a half before transferring to a plate.

Now that you have the cake, why not add some topping? Honestly, this cake is so good it doesn’t need frosting. But I like to drizzle a little chocolate sauce over the top to make it look pretty. Want to know my secret to super easy, yummy chocolate sauce? Dark chocolate frosting out of the can! Yep. Scoop about two tablespoons of frosting from the can into a glass measuring cup. Microwave for 10-15 seconds. The frosting will be perfectly liquid and ready to pour. Pour from the measuring cup over the cake. And you’re done!

I added raspberries to the top this time because I had them in the fridge, and I think they’re pretty. Next time I think I might actually make a raspberry sauce to drizzle over the cake. How good would that be?!?

Food Photography Tip:

Here’s a quick tip to help with your food photography. When you’re in a hurry (as I was — I had friends coming over for a paint party!), set up an area super quick for photos with two white foam boards and a window. White foam boards are awesome when it comes to styled images. For these images, I wanted a super simple shot of the cake. I usually prefer more styled shots when shooting food, but I was in a hurry. And this works perfect when in a pinch!

I have a skylight in my dining area that just happened to be throwing a good amount of light at that moment. So I pulled out one of my dining chairs, positioned it under the skylight, and put a white foam board on top of the chair. I set the cake plate on the board. I used a second white foam board (also propped up on a chair) as a white background. I snapped a couple shots, put my props away, and continued setting up for my party!

I realize not everyone has a skylight. You don’t need one. It just happened to be convenient at the time. Simply set up your boards near the most convenient window with a good amount of light shining through, and you’re good to go!

Like this recipe or the super simple food photography tip? Please feel free to share!

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