Yesterday we celebrated Lennon's birthday. He was SO jazzed on his cake, and Im so pleased that he was. My kids' birthdays are so important to me. My mom always threw fantastic parties for us as kids, with balloons and streamers and elaborate cakes. Kids love parties and deserve to be celebrated, so as I always say, "do it up right!".
I started making homemade cakes a few years ago and I just never went back to box. Homemade cake is like a totally different dessert than boxed cake, it's thick, and moist, and full of delicious flavor. The best part about it is that you are in total control, so if you want to use zucchini as a butter substitute, or agave as sugar substitute, or specialty chocolate or fruit, you can. It's a good thing knowing exactly what you're putting into your body, food just tastes better that way (because it is better).
So here we go, chocolate cake. I like chocolate cake but have had so many experiences when it has turned out dry. This normally happens because in most cases you will use cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor. Cocoa powder on top of the flour just makes for a dry cake. This, however, is the best and most moist chocolate cake that I've ever made, I followed a recipe, but I totally hacked it ... mostly because a. I didn't totally agree with some of the proportions and b. I ran out of some stuff. The secret to this cake is the buttermilk. Use buttermilk and you won't end up with a dry cake, or quick bread ... ever.
Alright, have I dragged on long enough now? Are you ready for the recipe?? Okay, you've earned it.
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups white sugar
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups boiling water
4 cups of all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9x1.5 circular cake pans. I always use cocoa powder to flour my pans when Im doing a chocolate cake.
In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Set bowl on preheating oven for warmth.
In a large bowl or in your trusty kitchen aid mixer, mix together your 3 cups white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 eggs, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla, and almond extract until blended. Stir in the two cups of boiling water, then gradually beat in the flour. At this point I transfer from the kitchen aid to an extra large bowl, which I recommend if you don't want chocolate cake batter all of your kitchen (which incidentally your kids may actually love).
Stir in the buttermilk mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pans. If you have a little extra, you can choose to do a forth cake or a few cupcakes. I usually do a mini cake in a small round pyrex.
Bake your cakes in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake have pulled away from the sides. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. If you've buttered and floured your pans well, your cakes should fall right out of the pans. Once out of the pans allow to cool completely before stacking and frosting.
To make the cake that you see above, you will need to stack the three cakes atop one another, and frost between the two layers. If one of your cakes breaks in half (one of mine did yesterday) don't fret, just push it together (may be use a little frosting to help it stick) and use it as the bottom layer. The wonderful thing about cake after it comes out of the oven, it's never ruined, you can always mend a little mistake with frosting :)
Make it for yourself, your kids, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your in laws, Martha Stewart ... they'll ALL love it. Seriously, Martha love's it when I make this cake.
How did yours turn out??