Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cake of the Week: Dark Chocolate Cake

It's rather shocking to me that I have not yet blogged about chocolate cake. My family is all about your standard chocolate layer cake. Sure other cakes are good, but if it's your birthday? Chocolate layer cake. If I ask what they want me to make? Chocolate layer cake. If I had to limit myself to one kind of cake for the rest of my days (God forbid!!!)? Chocolate layer cake. 

When I was abroad, sweating it out in Niger, I had my mom email me the recipe for this cake to make for a classmate's birthday. Now, mind you, there really isn't much chocolate in Niger. So you can imagine the kind of withdrawal I was in (Nutella is delicious, but you can only eat so much Nutella on baguettes...sometimes I just want a gosh darn chocolate chip cookie!!!). I kid you not, I actually cried over this cake when it was done - it just tasted like home in the
 absolute best way possible.

And the recipe we use is one of the easiest out there. To find it, just buy a box of Hershey's Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened). The recipe is on the back. You really can't go wrong. 

Except for this time I kind of did...I bought dark chocolate cocoa powder, instead of the normal semi-sweet. Now, dark chocolate sounds like it cannot possibly be a bad thing (and I'm not saying that there is anything bad about this cake) but it's just not quite the same as my go-to chocolate layer cake. It's denser. If you make the semi-sweet recipe, the cake is lighter, and you can cut the layers in half to make a truly spectacular 4-layer cake.
So here is a richer, darker version of my favorite cake:

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake Recipe
    2 cups sugar
    1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13×9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

“Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.