November 28, 2011

Chocolate-Buttercream Cake

This was almost a true Nancy cake.
If it were* a true Nancy cake, its maker would have followed the directions to a tee instead of trying to bake the cakes without lining the pans with parchment paper (result: not-so-pretty cake innards; fortunately icing covers most any mess-ups, and speckled icing is more than okay).

If it were* a true Nancy cake, it would have about 15 more accessories and 7 more colors.

But because it is still a Nancy cake, it is homemade chocolate.

And it is covered in buttercream. Mother Dearest is to credit for why I know how to make the beauty of chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

And it was delivered to the honoree during Thankslakecabinfest 2011 because, among many other things, I am quite thankful for the one who taught me to love to bake and eat well (and pretty much everything else I value in life).

And like her, this selfish baker also likes to eat chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate with buttercream. Apparently so does the rest of my extended family. The cake was down to this lone piece 24 hours after it first appeared for our Thanksgiving Eve spaghetti dinner.

I can't say the same about the pecan or pumpkin chiffon pie we had for actual Thanksgiving.

This cake's cousins (same moist chocolate cake layers):
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake
Chocolate Oreo Cake

Did you bake anything tasty for Thanksgiving?

*I am 99 percent sure my use of "were" is correct grammar because it is in the subjunctive mood, but if any grammar nerds out there would argue otherwise, please do assert yourselves.

Chocolate-Buttercream Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who got it from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Buttercream frosting (recipe below)
1 Chocolate bar, optional for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread Buttercream Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Grate chocolate over top of cake to garnish.

Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2  lb. (about 5 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
4-6 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer for one to two minutes or until creamy. Add milk if you want a thinner consistency.


  1. Hi Madoline, love the way that cake looks! I've been assigned making the Red Velvet Cake for Christmas this year. I might have to borrow some ideas from this recipe. ; )

    Oh and as a side note, yes your use of were is exactly correct. I forget the technical name for it, but it has to do with the whole "if" clause.

    If were true ... then would also be true. You can find the more technical explanation in When Words Collide. If you're as big a word nerd as I am, you will love that book!

  2. Renee- yum on the Red Velvet. This is a good recipe to copy from; I've found few scratch chocolate cakes that are this moist.

    The best way I know to explain the "were" thing is that it is a conditional clause. I think I only remember it because I studied Latin, and Latin makes much more sense than English.


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