Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

After National Chocolate Cake day, when I fulfilled my obligation with the microwave-mug version of chocolate cake, we all still kind of had a taste for, well, chocolate cake. Then daddy, while perusing various news websites, came across a recipe deemed the best chocolate cake recipe. That's quite a claim, but who am I to argue? We had to give it a try.

The cake batter comes together very easily. Butter and sugar are creamed together, eggs and vanilla are added, dry ingredients are sifted together to be added in.

The dry ingredients are mixed in, alternately with some kind of liquid (milk, in our case), and there you have it. Cake batter.

As you can see, this was very thick batter, yet it still felt kind of light... almost mousse-y. Very interesting.

The batter is supposed to then be divided between three round cake pans, thus producing a three-tiered cake once it is all assembled. Unfortunately, I only have two round cake pans. Oh well, I just used what I had. Two rounds... and one square. Figured that I'd figure something out later...

Now, many cake bakers (and, thus, the recipes they share) recommend not only greasing (non-stick spray, butter... whatever) and flouring your cake pans, but also cutting waxed or parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. I have never done this before. But, as this cake was supposed to be the best, I figured that I'd follow all of the instructions as closely as I could. Didn't want to mess with the "best" mojo. I must say... the parchment did help the cakes come out of the pan easily, and peeled nicely off of the bottoms of the cakes, once they were out of the pans.

Hmm... maybe those really awesome cake bakers know what they're talking about...

Once the cakes cooled and I was ready to begin thinking about constructing and frosting the finished product, it was time to think through my options regarding the square cake. My options, as I saw them were thus.

Option 1, the sane option: Make the cake a two layer cake and have the square cake remain separate, either frosted or un-frosted, depending on how much frosting I had leftover from frosting the two-layer round cake.

Option 2, the, ahem, slightly less sane option:

Cut the square cake to make it fit with the round layers.

Was there every any question?

Once the cakes were taken care of, it was time to make the frosting. The pictures of this process are, well, let's be generous and just say less than good... We made the frosting after an impromptu after-school play-date, thus the lighting was not on our side, and little man was in a very needing-to-be-held kind of mood, so I did the best with what I had...

Little miss carefully helped me melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Once that mixture cooled, we stirred in a cup of sour cream. Yes, sour cream.

I was really excited, actually, to try this frosting, as I thought that the tanginess of the sour cream mixed with the sweetness of the confectioners' sugar would make for a really interesting flavor. The final frosting was nice and fluffy and very easy to spread.

I put the circled-off-square on the bottom and began construction.

Then little miss helped me with some finishing touches.

Then we had dinner and eagerly anticipated dessert.

I am going to be honest with you. It was a chocolate cake, so of course it was delicious, but I am not so sure I'd go for "best" with this one. The cake was not as moist as I'd hoped, and, honestly, the triple-layer slices were just a bit too much, we thought. Delicious, but almost overkill. The frosting was definitely interesting. The sour cream added a really nice tanginess, but didn't really cut the sweetness as much as I'd thought it would.

Little man, however, was very pleased to have his first taste of chocolate cake.

We all liked it, but we're going to keep looking for an even better "best" chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pans and paper. Set pans aside.
In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk (starting and ending with the dry ingredients), beating well (carefully) after each addition.
Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cook for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks, then allow them to cool completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1.2 cup butter, cubed
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Transfer ganache to a large bow and allow to cool for five minutes. Stir in sour cream. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

To prepare the cake, spread frosting between each layer, then on the top and along the sides of the cake to cover completely. Can decorate with chocolate curls (or any other decoration desired). Refrigerate leftovers.



  1. This looks amazing - one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever seen! OK, flafel for dinner, this cake for dessert..since I'm moving next door ;D lol

  2. So I finally read this entry on your blog. I know my chocolate cake may not be the best chocolate cake ever, but Mike claims its the best her ever had. It is a one bowl cake recipe which makes it even better for me. The trick is I use dark chocolate cocoa powder and chocolate extract instead of vanilla. It gives it a richness without making it too sweet. Unfortunately that amazing chocolate extract I have (its almost gone) was a gift from Mike's mom. :( And I know it is from William Sonoma and cost like $16 but it is worth it.

  3. That still looks awesome! I definitely would like to try that one out!

    Haley McAdams
    Bartending Certification


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