Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chocolate Cake - Best Ever!

I have been very sick with bronchitis and pneumonia, and after a doctor visit yesterday and a whopping dose of everything, I had a spurt of energy, so I sanitized myself and hit the kitchen.  Yesterday David's girlfriend Amanda and I baked a cake.  We chose a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Better Homes and Garden's 9x13 The Pan That Can, called Our Best-Ever Chocolate Cake.  Instead of using their recipe for Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting (we are not the sour icing type), we made basic cocoa icing from the recipe on the Hershey's Cocoa box. The icing recipe makes too much, so I'm giving the recipe, halved. This cake is moist and soft and terrific, and I'm not wild about chocolate cake.  The icing is wonderful as always.
You can tell when David has been hitting the cake. He doesn't like the edges.

3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) real butter, room temp (I use salted)
3 eggs, room temp
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Medal)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla (I use real vanilla - make my own)
1-1/2 cups milk (no milk, so I used half and half)
By the way, it is a MORTAL SIN to used low fat milk in baking, so I probably reserved myself a spot in Heaven for using half and half milk. Same goes with baking with fake sugar or fake butter, or to skimp on the salt.

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for a half hour.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, set pan aside.  (I used canned spray veg oil.) Preheat oven to 350F (glass calls for 325F).  Do NOT turn on the convection oven fan for bready items, as it results in Sahara Desert dry cakes and breads. Experience speaks!

In medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Because I like a soft textured cake, I stirred with a whisk, then sifted the dry ingredients one time.  

In a large bowl (I used my fabuloso Kitchen Aid Mixer) beat softened butter on medium to med-high speed for 30 seconds.  Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well mixed (3-4 minutes). Scrape sides and blend another 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low after each addition until blended before adding more.  Beat on med-high an additional 20-30 seconds after everything is blended and then spread into prepared pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes, testing with a toothpick to the center.  If it comes out dry, it's ready.  Place pan on wire rack until completely cooled, then spread icing on top.

I made cupcakes with this same recipe. If you want cupcakes, this recipe makes 30 big cupcakes (I should have split them further into 36, some were oversized) in regular-sized cupcake tins, using Christmas liners in May because that's how I roll.  Less baking time needed - 25 minutes  at 325F worked for me.  Keep an eye on things!

(This recipe is one-half of the one on the Hershey's box.)
1/2 stick real butter, softened (I use salted)
1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk (I use half and half)
1/2 tsp vanilla (I use real vanilla, homemade)
3-4 T corn syrup added to the mix will make the cupcake tops look shiny.

Stir cocoa into softened butter. (Never soften butter for icing in microwave - it changes the integrity of the butter, making a runny icing.) Alternately add powdered sugar and most of the milk, beating on medium until it is spreading consistency.  Add remaining milk if the icing seems stiff.  Finally, add vanilla and corn syrup, mix again.  Makes perfect amount of delicious soft, fluffy icing for a sheet cake or a truckload of cupcakes.

I am not a big fan of chocolate cake (but cocoa icing is the bomb), so I was very surprised at how extremely delicious this cake turned out.  It is the Best Ever Chocolate Cake recipe!  Maybe I'll have a piece with my coffee for breakfast.

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