I don’t know what my deal is. Every once in awhile, I find myself in the process of trying to learn to do something that I had before found difficult. The example of this from last year was bread. Prior to my crusade for homemade bread I had had some limited sucess with making bread from scratch but that wasn’t enough for me. So I checked dozens of books out of the library and got to work. And, for a few months there, we were swimming in homemade bread.
Moving on, this year, I decided that I had to know how to make a good cake from scratch. I checked out lots of books again. But I found the best recipes in a book called The Cake Book by Tish Boyle. This is a great book. Of all the recipes in the book that I tried, we liked the following recipe for chocolate cake and frosting the best. This is yummy, y’all. And really it is not that much harder than a cake from a mix. The prep work is the time consuming part. The actual mixing of the cake takes about 5 minutes with a standing mixer.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers
Makes 2 9-inch cake layers
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream, room temp.
1 T. vanilla extract
10 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup corn oil
1 1/4 cups ice-cold water
1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch cake pans. Dust the pans with flour.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs until blended. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract until blended. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the melted butter and oil togther at low speed. Add the cold water and mix to blend. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix for another minute, until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
5. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes.
6. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.
Store at room temp., wrapped in foil for up to 5 days.
Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temp.
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla extract
1. Melt the chocolate. (I do this in the microwave at half power in one minute increments, stirring well after each minute.) Cool until tepid.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the buter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and beat at medium speed until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the cooled chocolate at low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase speed to high and beat until slightly aerated, about 1 minute.
Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 hours, or refrigerate for up to a week; bring to room temp before using.