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Rich Chocolate Cake
I also think that many people approach cakes with too much trepidation. Relax. There are a few basic methods that will ensure success, and they're all in here. Not that this recipe is hard - quite the opposite. Creaming together butter and sugar, sifting dry ingredients before use, making sure the pans are prepped and the oven temperature is correct - double check those and you'll find the success you want.
If you'd like, you can cut each layer in half, and end up with a six layer cake - this works well if you have frosting fanatics at your table. I do that if this particular cake has been requested by my youngest. He believes cake is simply a vehicle for frosting. Note - if your frosting isn't stiff enough, just add an extra cup or so of powdered sugar to get the consistency correct.
That's all there is to it - this takes very little time and staple pantry ingredients. The coffee flavor doesn't come through in the final product, but it sure does make the cake more 'chocolatey". Whip this out for your next occasion - or for no occasion at all!
2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups coffee
1 stick butter, softened
2 packages cream cheese, softened
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
How To Make Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare 3 9 inch cake pans with butter and flour. Trace and cut three circles of parchment or wax paper to fit the bottoms of the pans. Press paper down, and set pans aside.
3. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, cream 2 sticks of the butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and eggs, and continue to beat until light in color and fluffy in texture - about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add a tablespoon of vanilla, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
5. Add approximately 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the sour cream, continuing to mix after each addition. Repeat alteration of flour and sour cream until it is all incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you work.
6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the 1 1 /2 cups of coffee to the batter, mixing well.
7. Pour 1/3 of the batter into each of the prepared cake pans. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven halfway through to ensure the layers are baked evenly. Bake until the tops are firm, and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
8. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for about ten minutes. Turn the cakes out onto cooling racks, and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
9. In the meantime, make the frosting. In the bowl of the mixer cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you work.
10. Add 1/2 cup of coffee and a tablespoon of vanilla, mixing well.
11. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Turn the mixer to medium, and beat until light and fluffy, making sure the sides of the bowl are scraped down well.
12. If your cakes are very rounded, use a bread knife to even the tops. Cover two layers of the cakes with frosting, stacking the second layer on the first. Add the third layer, bottom side up to the second layer (this makes a nice flat top). Frost the top of the third layer, and down the sides. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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