Blue Ribbon Chocolate Cake
with Chocolate Satin Frosting
The Diary was loosely inspired by my parents’ marriage, a love affair of more than fifty years’ duration. They met and married during the War years and subsequently raised six children. I was born on the Fourth of July, 1950, so my birthday always came with fireworks. My dad’s birthday invariably included his favorite cake, made by my mom: a good, old-fashioned chocolate cake, dense and fudgy and frosted delectably in a silky-smooth chocolate icing. Even after his death, Mom continued baking it each year on his birthday. Whenever I make it, I’m reminded of my dad. It’s a special treat that always garners raves, even from those with no sentimental attachment.
Blue Ribbon Chocolate Cake
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch round pans and line with parchment rounds or wax paper cut into 9-inch rounds.
- Place chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Heat in microwave at high power for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted, about 1 to 1½ minutes total. Set aside to cool. Alternate method: Place chocolate in a small, heat-resistant bowl and place over saucepan containing an inch or two of boiling water. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir chocolate occasionally until melted.
- Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy, about five minutes. Blend in the vanilla extract and cooled, melted chocolate. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until blended. Add half the buttermilk and beat just until blended. Add half the remaining flour mixture, and beat just until blended. Add the remaining half of the buttermilk, and beat just until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until blended. (Note: Be careful not to overmix after each addition, as this will make for a less tender cake.)
- Divide batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one layer comes out clean. Cool for five minutes in pans before inverting onto wire racks. When completely cool, frost with Chocolate Satin Frosting (see recipe below).
Yield: 1 3-layer cake, 10-12 servings
Chocolate Satin Frosting
Note: If you’re concerned about the use of a raw egg, use pasteurized egg or substitute a chocolate frosting recipe of your choice.
3 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
4 ½ tablespoons hot water
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Place the chocolate in a medium heat-resistant bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan containing an inch or two of boiling water, and stir until chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow melted chocolate to cool slightly.
- With a portable electric mixer, blend in the sugar and water. Beat in the egg until blended, then the butter and vanilla extract. Frosting will be thin at this point, so nest the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water. Beat until spreading consistency.
Yield: Approximately 2 cups