I firmly believe that there is nothing like a fabulous chocolate cake. It can be plain and simple – like a snacking cake with banana, or it can be elegant and delicious – with multiple layers and chocolate icing. I have made it my baking hobby to find the perfect chocolate cake. I have never had an outright failure, but I have DEFINITELY made chocolate cakes that I will overlook for a better (in my opinion) recipe in the future. On the other hand, I’ve made some amazing, chocolate-y, fudgy, rich cakes!
My mom’s birthday was this past weekend and, as I have done in the past few years, I undertake creating a whole meal for her – entirely at her request. This year was no different, apart from my own personal success of feeding 10 people and slightly overcoming my fear of there not being enough food. The menu included a fabulous beef roast, with potatoes, veg, and freshly baked baguettes, and, last but not least, a lovely chocolate cake.
Both the cake and the icing are from one of my mom’s favourite authors – Maida Heatter. I have to say, I have grown to appreciate her cookbooks as well – she writes a mean cookbook!
So, here’s yet another attempt to find the perfect chocolate cake:
COUNTY FAIR CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE
(adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts)
2 cups, minus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans – I like to grease them and then spread wax paper rounds on the bottom for easy removal, but a greased and floured pan works just as well.
Sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
Cream the butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add vanilla and then the sugar. Beat well. Beat in eggs one at a time, and scrape sides of bowl as needed.
Add dry ingredients alternately with milk – flour in 3 and milk in 2 additions.
Divide the batter between the pans and smooth tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges of the cake just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert layers onto racks and let cool on racks, completely, with right sides up.
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
In heavy saucepan, heat cream and sugar over medium heat, until boiling. (I would recommend stirring while this happens.) Reduce heat and simmer for EXACTLY 6 minutes! (Stirring is not necessary here!) Meanwhile, chop chocolate into pieces – don’t have to be even.
Once the 6 minutes are over, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Add butter and stir until completely melted. Add vanilla and stir.
Fill a bowl with ice and water and place saucepan in bowl. Stir until cool and continue to stir until icing thickens. This shouldn’t take too long – no longer than 10 minutes till the process is completely. Once the icing is thickened, remove from ice water. The icing should be spreadable – it might seem too thick, but it’s not! Ice cakes and enjoy!
So, was this a contender for the perfect chocolate cake? I’m not sure. The cake itself was lovely and the chocolate flavour was fabulous. The icing was amazing – the recipe wasn’t too decadent to make and it gave me enough leftover icing to ice a 9×13″ cake. It may need a repeat trial ;)
Thanks for reading!