Here is a picture of the birthday cake I made for my daughter last year.
I was rather proud of myself – I’d never made a tiered cake before. And it was all from scratch: chocolate cake layered with chocolate fudge and a vanilla buttercream frosting. My daughter had begged me for a chocolate cake and I delivered. And then she tasted it. And she didn’t like it. All she ate was the pink frosting. It turns out that she doesn’t like dark chocolate (at ALL) and I didn’t know that the recipe I’d used would be so richly strong. She felt bad about it, but I can’t blame her. Dark chocolate is definitely one of those tastes you either like or you don’t. (The adults enjoyed it, and at least she loved the vanilla frosting, which is her favorite part of a cake anyway.)
Fast forward to now. Her birthday is next month and she still wants a chocolate cake. I didn’t want a repeat of last year so I’ve been scouring blogs and websites and cookbooks for chocolate cake recipes. I decided I’d do a test run on any recipes I thought would be good (secretly hoping I’d have to make several – ha!).
There are so many choices for chocolate cake methods. You can use cocoa powder, unsweetened or semi-sweet baking chocolate, or Dutch processed cocoa powder (which is super dark, so I ruled that out immediately). Many recipes included coffee, which sounds delicious to me, but I didn’t think that would be good for her.
For my first attempt, I used the “Devishly Moist Chocolate Cake” recipe from The Cake Book. And, unfortunately, it looks like I won’t have to do any more trials. It was delicious! Not too dark tasting and the title didn’t give it justice – it was super moist.
I paired it with the chocolate frosting recipe that I found on Baked Bree. Soooo good. I prefer to eat it this way:
And the most important part? What did Jordan think of it?
Especially with the frosting. It made the cake “better” (according to her). (I thought it was awesome even without frosting.)
Another way to know it was an awesome recipe? This is the cake the very next day:
I originally checked out The Cake Book from the library. Needless to say, I now own a copy.
(Makes one 9-inch cake. The recipe called for a 9×3 inch round pan, but I only have a 9×2 round pan so that is what I used. The batter filled the pan a little too much, so next time I will not use all the batter in my pan and make a cupcake or two.)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup natural (unsweetened) cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1/3 cup whole milk (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1.Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×3-inch round cake pan (if you have one, a 9×2-inch if you don’t). Dust the pan with flour and set aside. (I cut a piece of parchment paper to set in the bottom of my pan, then grease and flour that. It helps with removal.)
2.Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and, using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until blended. Add the vegetable oil and mix a few seconds, until the dry ingredients are crumbly.
3.In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and until blended. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract until blended. With the mixer at low speed, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Gradually add the boiling water and mix just until blended and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
4.Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
5.Invert the cake onto the wire rack or cutting board and cool completely.
For the frosting:
2 sticks of room temperature butter
2 ½ cups of powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
Cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually add the cocoa powder (be careful – it’s very messy. GO SLOW!) Add the cream to get the consistency for spreading. Add the vanilla. Frost your cake as desired
(I didn’t frost this cake, I left the frosting on the side, so I’m not sure how much you will officially need. This recipe will probably be more than enough!)
The recipe said “keeps at room temperature for up to five days”. Yeah, right. Like it’ll last that long!