Friday, September 09, 2016

Even Steven: Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I love it when things work out evenly—and I love it even better when it happens with food! It's pure kitchen magic when you have just enough of this, just enough of that, no waste and no need for a miniscule amount of some obscure ingredient you can't find a use for anywhere else. One of my favorite "even" recipes is a chocolate cake topped with vanilla buttercream. Although it uses just half a stick of butter in the cake batter, the other half is put to work right away in the frosting. None of those awkwardly-wrapped portions of butter slouching forlornly in the fridge, wondering what its purpose could be...even better, you now have a frosted cake to enjoy. Perfect!

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Slice

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half

For the frosting:
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined, breaking up any lumps as you go. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Starting and ending with flour mixture, blend in batches alternately with milk until you have a smooth batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Frost cake, slice and serve!

Notes: Instead of vanilla extract in the frosting, use a Tablespoon of any liqueur you enjoy that pairs well with chocolate, such as Irish Creme, Grand Marnier, Chambord, Creme de Menthe, or Kahlua. Instead of a single cake, you can use this recipe to make 12 cupcakes, which only need 18-20 minutes in the oven. For an egg-free variation, see this recipe.


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