Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake

I know that I keep saying that I am not a dessert person. And that is totally true to a certain extent. For example, I would never waste calories on a store bought cookie, and I am really not a fan of candy (except NERDS and English Toffee and red licorice), but there are certain desserts that are truly delicious and completely worth it, in my humble opinion. That goes for the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that I make for birthdays.

I wish that I could lay claim to the fabulously simple recipe, but I cannot. It comes right off the back of the Hershey's Cocoa Powder box. Usually making cakes from scratch is a complicated affair with a high risk-factor, because if it is not whisked together just so, the cake will be tough and have too dense a crumb. Ideally cakes should be light, and tender and moist. And that is exactly how I would describe this gorgeous confection.

The fat in this cake is oil, which normally I would eschew in baking, except for the fact that this cake is so rich with chocolate flavor, that the butter is not missed at all. Another beautiful thing is that the batter doesn't need to be babied, and in fact, it requires beating for two full minutes. And finally, making the cake batter only requires one bowl. I don't even pull out my stand mixer for this because my little hand mixer works just fine. I always double the frosting recipe because I am a frosting person, and yes, the frosting has plenty of butter to make up for it's absence in the cake itself. The only other thing you might require is a tall glass if ice cold milk.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

2 C sugar
1 3/4 C all-purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 C cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
1 C boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to mix. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Frosting

1 stick butter, melted
2/3 C cocoa powder, unsweetened
3 C powdered sugar
1/2 C milk
1 t vanilla
Stir cocoa into melted butter. Alternately add sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk if needed. Stir in vanilla.

I always double this frosting recipe because we like a lot of frosting on our cakes!

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