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Happy Birthday J!

Yesterday was J’s birthday, so we had a little family party for him and I made him his favorite chocolate cake.  It’s not just any chocolate cake, it’s Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake. This cake bakes-up dense, moist and delicious.  It’s very chocolatey, without being overpowering.  It’s also budget-friendly and can be whipped-up at a moment’s notice from your well-stocked baking pantry.

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or a 13X9 pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in water (batter will be thin).  Pour evenly into pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pans to cooling racks.  Cool completely before frosting.  (This cake tends to be a little sticky on the outside, so handle with care.)

Ah, the frosting.  I love frosting.  Do not use canned frosting.  Forget it even exists.  I know frosting may seem like an intimidating thing to make but it’s not.  Trust me on this.  Once you try it, you’ll never go back to anything else.

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature – DO NOT use margarine or shortening if you want it to taste good.

2/3 cup cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret.  Buttercream frosting recipes alway have a complicated sequence of alternately adding sugar and milk, sifting this, melting that, etc.  Ignore that.  If you are making a buttercream frosting, whether it’s chocolate or vanilla, just throw everything in the bowl and start the mixer.  Mix it on low for a minute to combine the ingredients and then turn the speed up to medium, or even medium high if you have such an option, and let it do its thing for a good 5-6 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s ready by look, taste and texture.  That’s all there is to it.  What you’ll get is a a fluffy, delicious concoction that pairs beautifully with the chocolate cake.   This is not a decorator’s frosting.  This is a frosting for eating.  There is a difference, although, even when I’m making a decorator’s frosting, I still use a 50-50 ratio of butter and shortening simply because the stuff made completely with shortening tastes like crap.  Just my humble opinion.

Try this cake for the next special birthday in your life.  It’s better than anything store-bought and much, much, cheaper. Plus, the birthday boy or girl won’t be able to thank you enough!

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About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

5 responses »

  1. oh yum. im rubbish at baking but i love the decorating part. i tried some at the weekend, would love to know your thoughts?
    http://laughteriscatching.com/2011/08/27/to-your-posts-let-the-bake-off-begin/

    Reply
  2. Jenny, I love your blog and am keeping up with it faithfully. Please wish J a Happy Belated Birthday from us. His cake looks delicious. I didn’t realize that buttercream frosting could be that simple. I bake muffins every week and am going to try the pumpkin muffin recipe that you posted. I already had the canned pumpkin in the pantry, so budget-minded? Yes it is!!

    Reply
    • The pumpkin muffins are very, very yummy. And, yes, buttercream can be really easy. Try the chocolate recipe above first. It’s super easy. Make sure your butter is soft. Don’t microwave it, just let it sit out on the counter for a couple of hours. Then dump everything in the bowl. Mix on low for a minute to get everything combined. It’s going to look gross but trust me. Then, scrape down the sides of your bowl and put your mixer on med/med high and just let ‘er rip for a good 5-6 minutes. It will turn into frosting right before your eyes. If you want a good regular buttercream recipe, let me know and I’ll send you one that’s just as easy as the chocolate.

      Reply

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