Thursday, September 25, 2008

Small or Large Chocolate Cake

Time for a recipe. I made the 9 by 13 inch size cake for my aerobics teacher Marie's birthday and took it to aerobics today. Marie is totally a chocolate lover -- this seemed chocolaty enough for her. A single layer without frosting works well for a small family if you don't want a lot of leftovers.

For one 8 inch round pan

Preheat oven. Grease & flour an 8 inch round pan.
Measure into mixing bowl:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk or kefir
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
Stir the above ingredients together.
Measure, combine, & sift the following:
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Combine wet & dry ingredients. Stir until not lumpy.
Put batter into prepared pan, bake at 350ยบ for 25 min. Cool 10 min, remove from pan, and serve as is. If using frosting, wait until cake is completely cool before frosting.

Note for both cake and frosting recipes: it's really important to sift the dry ingredients, as they can be quite lumpy, especially cocoa and baking soda.

For two 8” cake layers or one 9 x 13 inch baking pan:
Stir together:
1- 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk or kefir
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift in:
1- 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda

Bake according to same directions. Frost with the larger amount of frosting.

Frosting for 2 layers (alternate amounts for 1 layer)
1/2 cup -- 1 stick -- unsalted butter cut in 8 pieces (1/4 cup – half stick)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (1 oz)
2 teaspoons vanilla (1 tsp)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (2 to 3 Tbsp)
2 cups powdered sugar sifted with the cocoa (1 cup)
2/3 cup (about) sour cream* (1/3 cup)

Melt butter and chocolate on medium setting in microwave, stirring from time to time until smooth in large glass bowl. Add vanilla. Using a whisk, alternately add thirds of the sifted cocoa and powdered sugar mixture and thirds of the sour cream until you have added all the sugar mixture. Add just enough sour cream to form spreadable frosting. Spread on cooled cake.

After the cake is all done, lick all the frosting implements: this is really delicious! Since a microwave oven replaces the mess and bother of melting chocolate in a double boiler, this is a really nice alternative to the old creamed-butter-cocoa-powdered sugar frosting.

*NOTE: When I made the cake again, I used kefir in the frosting as well as in the batter, and it worked fine. It needs a bit less as kefir is not as thick as sour cream.

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