Chocolate Cake

Our favorite chocolate cake!


Pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans in the following way.  Place one of the pans on top of a piece of parchment or waxed paper.  Trace around the bottom with a pen, or slide a scissors around the bottom to score the paper.  Cut out and repeat. 

Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray.

Place the prepared paper inside.  Smooth out any air-pockets and seal around the edges. 

Spray and flour the paper and edges.   Shake out any excess.  Set aside. 

   

Cake

In a medium bowl stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a small microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute.  Stir then microwave an additional 30-60 seconds. 

Stir until completely melted.  Set aside.

Measure the milk and set aside. 
Measure the water and heat in microwave until boiling 1-2 minutes.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter 3-4 minutes with the whisk attachment. 

Add the sugars.  Beat another 3-4 minutes. 

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. 

Turn the mixer (1)off and add the melted chocolate.  Mix until combined.   With the mixer running add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the milk.  Keep alternating until it is all added.  Beat on medium/high speed for two minutes. 

Remove bowl from mixer and gently stir in the boiling water until the batter is smooth. 

Pour into prepared pans.  Bake 30 minutes.

Test to see if it’s done by gently touching the middle of the cake. It should spring back, but just barely.  If it sinks it needs a few more minutes.  If it is firm, it’s overdone.  Remove from oven and set on cooling racks.  Gently run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides.  Let cool (2)10 minutes.  Run the knife around the edge again. 

Flip the pan over and release the cake onto a cooling rack.  Remove the parchment or waxed paper.  Cool completely. 


Assembly

Frosting
:
Chocolate Buttercream
or Oreo Frosting


Cut each cake round in half with a serrated knife.

Place one halved round on a serving tray and generously coat with the buttercream frosting. Don't get too close to the edges, the top layers will push it down a bit.

Continue with the cake and buttercream layers. Frost the top and sides. Clean the serving tray.


Or...Do the same with the Oreo Frosting

 


Problems

Flour
The cake should bake pretty flat. If it is domed there is too much flour. If it sinks there is not enough flour.

Over and Under-Baking
Cakes are easy to over-bake. The center should spring back only slightly. It will continue to bake when you remove it from the oven, so don't wait until it's firm before removing it from the oven.
If it sinks in the center after cooling it was under-baked.

Removing from Pan
Don't take the cake out of the pan right away. It continues to bake when it's removed from the oven and needs this additional time. Also it's likely to fall apart if it's removed too soon. Don't wait longer than 10 minutes however or it can become stuck to the pan and be difficult to remove.

Leveling
If the cake isn't leveled it is likely to lean and not look as good.


Chocolate Cake

½ c (4 oz) unsalted butter (at room temperature or slightly cold)
1 c (6.5 oz) light brown sugar packed
1 c (7 oz) sugar
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla
5 oz unsweetened chocolate squares
2 c + 2 T (10.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 ½ t baking soda
1 ½ t baking powder
1 t salt
3/4 cup (6 oz) milk
1/4 (2 oz) sour cream
1 c (8 oz) boiling water

Pans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans in the following way.  Place one of the pans on top of a piece of parchment or waxed paper.  Trace around the bottom with a pen, or slide a scissors around the bottom to score the paper.  Cut out and repeat.  Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray and place the prepared paper inside.  Smooth out any air-pockets and seal around the edges.  Spray and flour the paper and edges.   Shake out any excess.  Set aside. 

Cake
In a medium bowl stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
In a small microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave an additional 30-60 seconds.  Stir until completely melted.  Set aside.

Measure the milk and set aside. 

Measure the water and heat in microwave until boiling 1-2 minutes.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter 3-4 minutes with the whisk attachment.  Add the sugars.  Beat another 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until eggs are incorporated.  Turn the mixer off and add the melted chocolate.  Mix until combined.   With the mixer running add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the milk and sour cream.  Keep alternating until it is all added.  Beat on medium/high speed for two minutes.  Remove bowl from mixer and gently stir in the boiling water until the batter is smooth.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake 30 minutes. 

Test to see if it’s done by gently touching the middle of the cake. It should spring back, but just barely.  If it sinks it needs a few more minutes.  If it is firm, it’s overdone.  Remove from oven and set on cooling racks.  Gently run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides.  Let cool 10 minutes.  Run the knife around the edge again.  Flip the pan over and release the cake onto a cooling rack.  Remove the parchment or waxed paper.  Cool completely. 

Chocolate Buttercream

1 pound unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
12 oz semisweet chocolate
4 extra large egg whites
1 c sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
¾ t salt
1 T vanilla

Cut the butter into 2-3 tablespoon pieces.  Bring to (1)room temperature or slightly colder.

In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate for one minute. Stir and microwave an additional 30-60 seconds and stir until smooth.  Set aside to (2)cool.

Put an inch or two of water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  In a large bowl add the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt.  Whisk well.  Place over the simmering water and whisk constantly.  Heat to (1)160 degrees (about five minutes)  The mixture should be doubled in volume and frothy.  Remove from heat.  Beat on high speed for five minutes until stiff peaks form.  Reduce speed to medium and add the butter one piece at a time until each is incorporated.  Add the chocolate and vanilla and beat on high an additional minute.

Cover and store at (2)room temperature until ready to use.      

See Chocolate Buttercream for notes on this one.

Notes
1. If the mixer is running when the chocolate is added it will splatter onto and stick to the sides of the bowl. It will be harder to mix in later and some of it will be wasted.
2. Don't take it out of the pan right away. It continues to bake when it's removed from the oven and needs this additional time in the pan. Also it's likely to fall apart if it's removed too soon. Don't wait longer than 10 minutes however or it can become stuck to the pan and difficult to remove.
3. If the cake isn't leveled it's likely to lean and not look as good.


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© The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie 2014