I've been on a bit of a cooking kick lately around here lately, so I thought I might as well share the birthday cake I made for my sister's birthday. It's pretty easy to make and it tastes amazing. You'll never be able to go back to boxed chocolate cake mix again (or worse, flat sugary bakery cake). The recipe is actually a modified version of the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder box. As the Barefoot Contessa will tell you, coffee actually enhances the taste and flavor of the chocolate - a mocha cake makes the best chocolate cake.
World's Best Chocolate Mocha Birthday Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coffee (cooled to room temperature)
1/2 cup canola or sunflower oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 or 3 round cake pans. I like to line the bottom of my cake pans with parchment paper (trace the bottom of the pan over the paper, then cut out the circle) for a perfect, easy removal every time.
While mixing together the ingredients, boil a cup of water in a tea kettle or microwave.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Add the eggs, coffee, oil and vanilla extract. Mix with a whisk or an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water to the batter and mix together well. The batter will be really thin.
Pour batter into cake pans and bake 30 minutes for 3 pans or 35 minutes for 2 pans. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Frost with the world's best chocolate mocha frosting.
World's Best Chocolate Mocha Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup coffee (cooled to room temperature)
Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Add vanilla extract. Alternately add powdered sugar and coffee, beating to spreading consistency.
Place the first cake layer on a plate. Frost the top of the layer generously, but not too thick, using a spatula. I've found that if you make the interior frosting layers of the cake too thick, the upper tiers can slide a bit and make the cake lopsided. But if you don't add enough frosting in the middle, the cake to frosting ratio is out of balance and it's too dry. Add the second layer and top that with more frosting. Place the third layer (if it's a 3 layer cake) and frost the top of that, then frost the sides of the cake. Smooth out the top frosting with the leftovers. The recipe makes plenty of frosting for the whole cake.
Decorate as you see fit. I like to top the cake off with super dark chocolate shavings for good measure (I am totally addicted to Green and Black's organic fair trade 85% chocolate bars).
Serve with birthday candles and coffee, wine or tall glasses of milk.