– Ben Martens

Dutch Oven Chocolate Cake

My parents came out for a visit this past weekend. While they were here, I thought it would be fun to attempt some food in the dutch oven. Now that we have an actual back yard, I can try it at home instead of only when we go camping. I wasn’t confident enough to make the main course in it, so we decided to try dessert instead. The recipe is pretty simple. Mix up chocolate cake from a box (including the oil and eggs), add chocolate chips, and line the 12” oven with foil. 6 coals on the bottom and 10 on the top for 30-35 minutes is supposed to result in delicious cake if you rotate it every 10 minutes.

After following the directions, I ended up with mushy chocolate. Part way through cooking, I thought I might end up needing more heat so I got some more charcoal started and added it in after 30 minutes. It took almost a full 60 minutes with a lot more charcoal than the recipe called for, but we ended up with a surprisingly delicious cake! A bunch of the chips fell to the bottom creating kind of a crunchy crust. There was one tiny burned spot right in the center of the oven, but otherwise, you couldn’t tell that it wasn’t baked in a normal oven. We let it cool, added some chocolate frosting, and then enjoyed it!

P.S. Next time I think I’ll probably skip the wood underneath the charcoal table, but I was just super nervous about somehow leaving heat marks in the concrete the very first time I have any kind of fire back there.

P.P.S. Wondering why I needed that table at all? Charcoal on dirt loses a lot of heat into the ground. Charcoal on the pavement would have been ok but it would have definitely left burn marks. So that table is a great way to contain the charcoal and reflect the heat upwards.

P.P.P.S. If you ever need to start charcoal outside of a grill, find yourself a charcoal chimney! In a grill I think there are easier solutions like straight lighter fluid and a match or an electric charcoal starter.