Saturday, February 11, 2006

I make chocolate cake

It's the 11th of the month, and I still haven't tried a new recipe that I haven't wanted to fiddle with. But for the first time in close to a year, I made my absolute favorite chocolate cake recipe and it was yummy. I frost it with Nigella Lawson's all-purpose chocolate frosting with a big splash of rum. She recommends dark rum, but I use whatever's on hand, and one of these days I'm going to try the vanilla vodka that's been sitting on my counter since Christmas 2004. But I digress; we were discussing cake. It's very moist, not too sweet and always satisfies my rare cravings for chocolate cake. I found it on the back of a box of Hershey's cocoa several years ago, and then a few weeks afterward saw it featured on "Martha Stewart Living," thereby cementing my belief that this is truly the best chocolate cake recipe out there.

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 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 8 or 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. (I don't have wire racks, but I hear they work well)Cool completely.

All-Purpose Chocolate Frosting
(originally from How to be a Domestic Goddess, only slightly modified)
6 T unsalted butter (I use the whole stick, because having 2 T left over is annoying)
4-5 oz chocolate (I like dark, and also I don't have a scale, but it's a little more than a half cup)
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 c powdered sugar (sifting is for suckers, but if you're into it...)
little splash of vanilla extract
big splash of booze (rum is good, as is Bailey's or Kahlua)

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Stir together to blend, and then add a spoonful to the eggs. (Don't worry, the heat from the chocolate and butter will kill any "bad stuff" that the eggs may have) Slowly add the butter-chocolate mixture to the eggs, stirring all the time. Once combined, add the powdered sugar and then beat for a few minutes with either a hand or stand mixer. Add the vanilla and alcohol and incorporate. Let it stand and cool.

Once cool, this amount will adequately frost the cake above. If you like a lot of frosting on your cake, increase this recipe by one-half.

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