3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups/12 oz.) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch cake pans, then dust each pan with cocoa powder, tap out the excess and set the pans aside.
In small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water. Let cool.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat 4 minutes longer. Add in the eggs and beat until the batter is well combined.
In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl whisk together the cooled cocoa mixture and the milk. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and cocoa mixture to the egg mixture, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly into the three pans.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
Stir the chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add the chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until well blended.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups frosting or enough to frost a three layer cake.
To Assemble the Cake
Place one layer on a serving platter and spread with 1 cup of the chocolate frosting. Repeat with the second layer and top with the third layer. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting.
Notes and Tips:
To substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour, use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for every 1 cup of cake flour called for in the recipe.
The cap on most brands of vanilla measures one teaspoon. When you are in a hurry, just use the cap to measure.
If a recipe calls for cocoa powder and you only have chocolate in the kitchen, you can use a 1-ounce square of unsweetened chocolate for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa. Likewise, if a recipe calls for chocolate and you have only cocoa, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of butter for each ounce of chocolate.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall ©2003
Date: November 23, 2003