Monday, May 22, 2006

Chocolate Fudge Cake

At long last, I have found the perfect chocolate cake. Well, almost perfect. It's a little dryer than I would like, but still much, much better than any other recipe I have tried. And I have tried a lot of chocolate cake recipes. This one was pictured on the cover of the February 2006 issue of "Family Circle" magazine. I was attracted to it because it uses both unsweetened chocolate AND cocoa powder. Usually, it's one or the other. Recipes with just cocoa powder are never "chocolatey" enough for me. Also, it uses sour cream in both the cake and the frosting. And the frosting uses both unsweetened chocoate and cocoa powder AND butter and vegetable shortening AND milk and sour cream. I had to try it!

This is actually my second try at making this cake. The first time, I was following the ingredients list rather than the recipe and left out a cup of water. The resulting batter was incredibly stiff and baked into very dry layers which were surprisingly good. That encouraged me to try it again. The cake is light and not too dry but not as moist as I would like. The frosting came together incredibly well and the taste is to die for. This is definitely going to be my signature chocolate cake.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Chocolate Fudge Cake
(Source: Family Circle Magazine February 2006)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken up
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken up
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Garnish: chocolate curls; berries

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Cake: In a glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate to gether in microwave on high until melted and smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside. On low speed, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until blended.

3. Add sour cream, eggs, 1 cup water, chocolate mixture and vanilla; beat 30 seconds on low, until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium; beat 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake layers spring back when pressed.

5. Cool layers in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes to rack to cool.

6. Frosting: In a small glass bowl, melt chocolate in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Set aside. Beat shortening, butter, sour cream, milk, vanilla, salt, 1 cup of the sugar and the cocoa powder in a medium-size bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in remaining sugar and melted chocolate until thick and smooth.

7. Place a cake layer on pedestal. Spread with about 2/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer; spread with about 2/3 cup more frosting. Top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides, swirling decoratively. Garnish with chocoate curls and berries.

Recycle: vanilla extract bottle

Compost: eggshells