Trail Chef: Black Canyon Cake

Kick-off Memorial Day weekend with this decadent dessert.
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Kick-off Memorial Day weekend with this decadent dessert.

Who wouldn’t want to cap off a long day with something savory and sweet? Don’t let the limitations of a camp kitchen keep you from the art of fine baking. With a bit of practice, anyone can master this scrumptious recipe.

Black Canyon Chocolate Cake

(Molasses works best in this delectable dessert if you don’t mind carrying a tiny Nalgene.)

1/4 cup sweetener

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.5 tablespoons powdered milk 

1.5 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 cup powdered sugar

At Home

Combine dry sweetener and chocolate chips in a zip-top bag, unless using molasses. Also pack flour, cornstarch, and baking soda together. Leave other ingredients separate.

In Camp

Mix powdered milk with 1/4 cup cold water in a non-stick saucepan. Add sweetener and chocolate chips and melt over medium heat. Remove and stir in oil, then flour mixture. Pour into a non-stick skillet pan lined with parchment paper and bake. We recommend the Outback Oven; baking time is about 40 minutes after the thermometer reaches bake. Or you can bake the cake above coals or a fire. Just make sure to rotate the pan periodically, so all parts get heated evenly (you can also ensure even-heating by placing the cake pan inside another pan that's lined with 1-inch-deep pebbles, which distribute heat. Both pans then go atop a fire or stove). If not using a backcountry oven, it also helps to cover the pan and put coals on top, to apply heat from above. Bake until a fork comes out almost dry. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 3.