Easy chocolate cake Christmas Baking with SusieJ

Measurements [metric]

  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 2/3 c cocoa (natural, not Dutch)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c brewed coffee (reconstituted instant is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two nine-inch, three eight-inch, or one thirteen by nine inch pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to medium, and add eggs one at a time. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Combine water, coffee and vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and stir in one third of the dry ingredients. When combined, add half the liquid, then half the remaining dry ingredients, the remaining liquid, and the remaining dry ingredients. (Alternately, you could just dump everthing into the mixer, starting on low speed for 30 seconds, and switching to high for 3 more minutes.)

Pour into pans and bake: cupcakes, 15 minutes; round layers 25 to 35 minutes; rectangle, 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a rack, remove from pans and allow to finish cooling.

This started as the Black Midnight Cake from <i>Betty Crocker's Chocolate Cookbook</i>. For my cake decorating class, I wanted a cake I could mix, bake and ice between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. This recipe uses cocoa, and melting chocolate felt like too much of a chore. Like many other recipes in the book, it originally used shortening, not butter — bleh!

By the second class I <i>had</i> to tweak the recipe. First to go was the flavorless shortening, replaced by butter. The mixing method (dump it all in and mix) reverted to more traditional creaming for better texture. Next some coffee to replace water and pump up the flavor a bit (this is an easy cake, use instant if you'd like). The final recipe is still easy, still made with things I have on hand, and yummy!