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My Favorite Chocolate Cake

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Cream Frosting 1/2 Cup non-alkalized cocoa, such as Hershey’s, measured by spoon-and- sweep 2 teaspoons instant espresso 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 1 1/4 cups sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, measured by dip-and sweep 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt For the cake: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8x1 1/2 inch round baking pans with shortening/butter. Line pans bottoms waxed or parchment paper; grease paper as well. Dust pan with flour, tap out excess. Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer set at medium-high speed(number 4 on Kitchen Aid) until smoothened shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in sugar; beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 full minute after each addition. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Now, whisk cocoa and instant espresso into dry ingredients until no lumps of cocoa remain. In a glass measurement container, add vanilla and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature milk. With the mixer on lowest speed, add alternately the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients, about a 1/3 cup each; mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into batter. Repeat until batter appears blended, stop mixer and scrape bowl sides with rubber spatula. Return mixer to slow speed ; beat until batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer. Divide batter evenly between pans. Shake pan gently on counter top to help batter look smooth and even. Bake cakes until they feel firm in center when lightly pressed or skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two adhering, 23-30 minutes. Transfer pans to to wire racks; cool for 10 mins. Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto racks and peel off paper liners. Reinvert cakes onto additional racks, cool completely before frosting. For the Frosting: Break up 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and pulverize in a food processor fitted with metal blade until it is the texture of coarse sand. Bring 1 2/3 cups heavy cream to boil. With machine running, pour hot heavy cream over the chocolate. Add 1/4 cup corn syrup; process until just combined. Turn mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until spreadable, stirring with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes, about an hour. Frosting should be ready now. This cake resembles a traditional yellow cake with a great deal of chocolate added. The milk slightly mutes the chocolate flavor while giving the cake a sturdy, pleasantly crumbly texture. Cream enriches the frosting, making it compatible with the less assertive chocolate cake. (Cook’s Illustrated 1994 cookbook page 24.)

Enjoy! -Maureen

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