Sunday, November 6, 2011

BEST chocolate cake + BEST butter cream frosting (only the BEST for Aunt Robin)

I'll try keep this short and SWEET.  A dear baking friend in California never ceases to amaze me with her cakes and baking goodies.  This chocolate cake recipe is without fail a show stopper.  It's perfect in richness, chocolatiness (Webster's should add that one), moistness and air.  When Elisabeth finally gave me the recipe she shrugged and handed me this box:

The back of the Hershey's dry cocoa tin?  What?  No secret family recipe from the mid-west?  No obscure instructions?  Fool proof chocolate cake from the back of dry cocoa?  Yes.  The answer is simply and deliciously YES.

And to match it, we've found the perfect butter cream frosting as well.  No need to look any further.  We'll start with the cake first though.

Hershey's Cocoa Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's 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

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add eggs milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for a few minutes.

Then add in boiling water.  Who knew?  Sweet hydration.

Your batter will be thin.  Perfect.

Then pour batter into greased and flour dusted pans.  Use 2 9" baking rounds and bake for 30-35 min.  Or do cupcakes like I did:

I love these darling baking cups.  Fill cups 2/3 of the way up for the perfect cupcake.  Have no fear.  They will rise.

Bake for 22-25 min.  The clean tooth pick trick is always necessary.

Delectable.  Now despite the overwhelming smell of cake in the kitchen, you must wait.  They need to rest and cool.

If you really want to tempt yourself, you can hold one.  But no eating yet.

The occasion for these treats was my aunt Robins 50th birthday!  She happened to be visiting from Portland Maine (yes it is the original Portland) and happened to be here on the night of her birthday!  Imagine my joy when I heard she wanted to spend it with us!

When asking her what she wanted for dinner and dessert, the only requirement she gave was chocolate.  So thus the perfect cupcake: kid friendly and birthday girl worthy.

Our close friends had a ton of borage in their garden.  It's an edible flower that is dainty and beautiful.  (Thanks Wes for braving the bees for us!)  They have a very light cucumber flavor to them.

Add a small mint leaf and you're set!  Good night gourmet!  The frosting is peach for Aunt Robin's infamous favorite color.  Everything from her tennis shoes in the early 90s to her wedding colors scream "I LOVE PEACH!"

Now for the buttercream recipe as promised.  The recipe is simple and flexible depending on the consistency you want.  Check out more details on Savory Sweet Life's page. 

Classic Buttercream Frosting (makes about 2 1/2 cups)

1 cup unsalted butter softened (NOT MELTED!)
3-4 cups powdered sugar SIFTED
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tbls vanilla extract (for perfect white color I use Cook's Vanilla- it's in the powdered form, love the stuff)
up to 4 tbls heavy whipping cream (it's a must)

Beat butter at medium speed.

Slowly add sifted sugar.

Add salt and vanilla.

Add cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you like.  Add any food coloring at the very end if needed.

You'll probably want to taste test.  One taste per finger is allowed, no double dipping.  But ten fingers should be enough.

These turned out great.  They always do.  Every time.  Trust me.  Best cake.  Best butter cream.  All this for the best aunt a girl could ask for.  Love you Aunt Robin!


  1. I hope to someday visit more than the bus terminal in Portland, but until that day I will live vicariously through your blog and yummy recipes.