In case you didn’t hear, today is National Chocolate Cake Day! Wow. I’m in. A cursory look at my pantry told me I was seriously lacking in the ingredients to make a chocolate cake. The New York Times ran this recipe for National Chocolate Cake Day so I decided to make it. I was moving happily though the recipe when I realized the only thing chocolate about this cake was the addition of chocolate chips to the batter and to the frosting. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I added about four tablespoons cocoa powder to the cake batter and about three tablespoons to the frosting. The instructions for the frosting are confusing in that you boil half a cup of water and then use only a tablespoon. I ended up using all of the boiling water to make the frosting the correct consistency. I also didn’t like the idea of trying to spread a frosting with chocolate chips in it so I used the chocolate chips to make a ganache filling for the center of the cake instead. The cake itself was a little dry so if I make it again I will use a little less flour or a little more milk. Happy National Chocolate Cake Day!
FOR THE CAKE:
1/2 cup or 1 stick salted butter, softened, more for pans
2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, more for pans
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar (I used granualated sugar)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (2 percent or whole)
3/4 cup to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 pound or 3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons instant espresso
3/4 cup to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.
1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
2. Using an electric mixer or by hand, in a bowl, mix the butter and turbinado sugar until evenly blended. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix again until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mix well, then add half the milk and mix again. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
3. Pour the batter into the pans and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing cakes from pans to a rack to cool completely.
4. Make the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring about 1/2 cup water to a boil. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer or by hand, mix the confectioners’ sugar (adding about a third at a time) with the butter, salt and vanilla, until well-blended. In a small bowl, mix the espresso with 1 tablespoon boiling water; add it to the frosting, blending well. If the frosting is too thick to spread easily, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons boiling water. Mix in the chocolate chips. Spread frosting between the cake layers, then on the top and sides.
Yield: One 2-layer 8-inch cake.