Then I found a recipe that looked right. I tried it. The texture was exactly what I had been looking for. With a few tweaks for flavor’s sake, I eventually landed on a version of the recipe that I thought was The One.
I celebrated and bragged and happy-danced and boasted for several weeks. This resulted in a whole lot of eye rolling from my friends (whatever, hookers, this is my equivalent of running the Boston Marathon) and a whole lot of “buy one more pound of cocoa and I’ll strangle you in your sleep” from Husband.
Then I was faced with another issue: frosting. I couldn’t release My Precious without an equally delightful frosting. Though I know I may not have many followers in this camp, I’m not a fan of traditional buttercream (you know, the sugary birthday cake variety that gets a crunchy crusting after a day or so and is so sugary sweet it literally gives you a toothache). I experimented with a few chocolate buttercreams but wasn’t wowed. I then tried my hand at a whipped ganache but was perplexed with the issue of refrigeration – it being made from cream. Refrigerating (which I thought was necessary, though maybe I’m wrong) resulted in a stiff truffle-like layer sitting atop the cake. I experimented with recipes using cocoa and some using melted chocolate. Then a saw a recipe that included cream cheese and sour cream and I thought - why not?
So now, without further ado (maybe a little ado… mental drum roll please), I present to you ‘Suck It, Betty Crocker’ Chocolate Cake.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
Grease and flour baking pan(s) and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together oil and sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in buttermilk and coffee until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Batter will be very thin.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s)* and bake per the following or until the cake no longer jiggles in the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. DO NOT OVER-BAKE.
Cupcakes: Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray with cooking spray. Fill paper lined cupcake tins half full. Bake 12-15 minutes. Makes approximately 36 cupcakes.
8-9” Round: Fills three pans. Do not try to fit all of the batter into two. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Bundt or 13×9 Pans: Fill pan 2/3 full. Use excess batter to make cupcakes. Bake 30-40 minutes.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan – do not allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans or they will be difficult to remove. If you need to handle the cakes beyond turning them out, use waxed paper as the cake will stick to your hands.
*Sorry about the extra batter issue. My math skilz are not good enough to reduce the recipe.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sour cream
Melt chocolate chips over a double-boiler or by microwaving and stirring in 30-second intervals. Set aside until cool to the touch, stirring occasionally.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt then set aside.
Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed with an electric for 3-4 minutes or until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar mixture and beat for about a minute or until thoroughly incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate and sour cream and continue to mix at medium-low speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Add powdered sugar - 1/4 cup at a time - to thicken if necessary.