you don't always need a reason to make chocolate cake. in fact, i'd argue that it's almost better to begin baking for no reason at all--the purpose tends to come to you somewhere along the way...

i am by no means a fantastic cake-baker. two years ago, i spent 4 hours and shed way too many tears over a cake for my boyfriend that looked like the cake from sleeping beauty. you know the one the fairies make without magic? (flora is the sweetest old-woman fairy ever.) i could've used some magic that night in our tiny dorm's kitchen. but hey-- when at first you don't succeed, right? i decided on this recipe for a 3-layer 8" cake from this lovely blog:

for cake:
3 cups sugar
scant 3 cups AP flour
1 cup + 2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 tspn salt
2 1/4 tspn baking powder
2 1/4 tspn baking soda
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup hot coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease, flour, and line the bottoms of three 8" round cake pans. 
2. In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on medium low until smooth. The batter will be soupy.
5. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
7. Level the cakes (this is easier if they've sat in the freezer for at least one hour beforehand).
8. Stack the cakes, spreading a layer of frosting in between each cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake--for a smoother finish, use a hot knife.

i am not going to give you the play-by-play from my afternoon of baking (let's be honest-- no one really cares.) so, if it strikes your fancy to bake this chocolate cake at some point, i'm just going to assume you know how to follow a recipe. if you don't, there are plenty of baking/cooking blogs that walk you right through the entire process. little chief ain't one of 'em. 

for the chocolate frosting:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
7.5 oz  unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
12 Tbspn unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat.
2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the cream and sugar for six minutes. Be careful not to let the saucepan overflow.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter until they have completely melted.
4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
5. Let the frosting cool completely, whisking every now and then during cooling.  (You can do this step in the refrigerator to speed up the process)  Once completely cool at room temperature, the frosting will be spreadable.

as seems to be the trend with me, the cake didn't turn out as lovely as i'd hoped. nonpareils helped a little. but it did taste delicious and it gave me a reason to invite several friends over to help me eat it.



Hope said...

this looks delicious, beautiful photography, love the picture of the batter dripping down the bowl!

Kristen said...

Nigella would approve of the yummy photos!