As I've stated previously, birthdays (for me and Gary at least) are becoming less and less of a big deal. Obviously, Gary's birthday was almost two weeks ago and I haven't even mentioned it. As the big day got closer and closer (as in all of the sudden it was JUNE - when did that happen??) I found myself wondering what to do for a cake. Last year's Tour de France cake was a total disaster, the year before we didn't even have cake, he really doesn't even get excited about cake period...but then I had a piece of leftover cake at a friend's house and just about died. Literally. Even Gary raved about it. I hounded her for two weeks straight until she gave me the recipe. Was this cake as much for me as it was for him? Why yes, yes it was. Maybe even more. Nothing like a labor of love. For yourself.
So I just caught myself sticking my finger in the leftover bowl of icing (now almost 2 weeks old) and I decided it was high time to share these recipes with you. Typing will also hopefully distract me from going back to that bowl until it's gone.
I rarely make a cake from scratch. I've even almost completely given up on baking cookies from scratch. But let me tell you. This one is worth it. The icing is even more worth it.
Both recipes are from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids, by Jill O'Connor.
The Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Ever
3/4 c. natural cocoa powder
1 c. boiling water
3/4 c. sour cream
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Frosting (see below)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl and stir in the boiling water to dissolve and make the cocoa "bloom." Whisk together until completely smooth. Let cool completely, and then whisk the sour cream into the cocoa mixture.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric hand mixer set on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the cooled cocoa mixture and the vanilla.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over the batter and fold in gently, using a rubber spatula, until the flour is completely combined into the batter.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 25-30 min. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- To frost, invert one layer onto a cake plate, and remove the parchment circle. Spread 1 cup of frosting over the surface of the cake. Invert the second layer over the first, and remove the parchment paper. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Frosting (makes 3 1/2 cups)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 c. sour cream
1 t. pure vanilla extract
Large pinch of salt
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the semisweet and milk chocolate chips with the butter. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir the mixture together. If the butter is not completely melted and the chocolate chips do not easily stir smooth, heat again at 15-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Using a hand mixer set at low speed, beat in the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
And there you go.
I think we all cried a little when the last bite was gone. I'm already looking forward to Maggie's birthday.