Chocolate cake worth celebrating

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

My son, Patrick, turned 16 last Wednesday and he requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his birthday. I’ll admit, any other birthday I would have bought a box cake mix and a tub of frosting, but you only turn 16 once, so I opted for homemade.
I scoured past Cook of the Week recipes and untold websites before deciding on a decadent chocolate cake – which I cut from four layers to two – with a chocolate buttercream frosting.
I’m not much of a baker, so I started the cake on Tuesday, just in case I messed up and had to run to the bakery at the last minute. I made the layers and refrigerated them overnight.
Wednesday afternoon I made the frosting and iced the cake, which didn’t look half-bad when I got through with it.
The taste was amazing. I’ll never use any other recipe when I want a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It was rich and moist and perfect. Patrick was quite pleased, and my husband even said this is the kind of cake that belongs on a dessert cart in a fancy restaurant.
It’s that good.
Chocolate Birthday Cake
2 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
4 tablespoons milk
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heavily grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa. Stir together. Add the boiling water, allow the mixture to boil for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Pour over the flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.
Combine the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the butter/chocolate mixture.
Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool completely before icing. Refrigerate the layers after cooling for best results.
For the frosting, cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn mixer off and sift powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Blend on low speed until sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla and almond extract (if using), salt, and milk and beat for 3 minutes. Add additional sugar to thicken or milk to thin, as needed for spreading consistency. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.