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October 8, 2012

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

This cake.  Oh, man, this cake.  I've made it twice in two weeks, once for my cousin's 5-year anniversary and once for my husband's birthday.  It is amazing.  My one recommendation would be to make it at least the day before you're going to eat it.  It gets better the longer it sits.


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules (It would be OK without these, but trust me.  Use them.)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Icing
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. instant coffee granules (Again, trust me.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep two 8-inch cake pans with Crisco and sprinkle with flour OR spray with nonstick spray.  (The Crisco method is better and with cakes, especially one this moist, it makes the removal process much less painful.)

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Combine water, oil, vinegar, instand coffee, and vanilla in a large measuring cup (or in a small mixing bowl.)  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Don't mind the lumps.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake 35-40 minutes (mine both took 38 minutes) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely.

To make the icing:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in sugar, cocoa, and salt.  The mixture will be thick, grainy, and difficult to stir.  This is OK.

Combine heavy cream, sour cream, and instand coffee in a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl.  Mix until smooth.  Gradually add this mixture to the chocolate mixture until blended and smooth.  Do not boil.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Cool icing at room temperature until spreadable.  This can take 2-3 hours.  If you're in a hurry, you can also put it in the fridge or, if you're really desperate, in the freezer.  (Note that if you stick a hot pan in a freezer, you're going to melt a lot of the stuff in there.  I'm sure you would have figured that out.  I'm just sayin'.)

Once the icing is appropriately cool, frost cakes. 

It is exactly as good as it looks.

Chocolate Cake:  It brings couples together.