Fourth of July is a special day for me and always I prepare some cakes or cupcakes to celebrate and enjoy the holiday.
It’s fast to make and tastes just like a good chocolate layer cake should.
Makes 24 cupcakes, two 9-inch layers, three 8-inch layers or one 9 X 13 cake.
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
8 oz boiling water
8 1/2 oz (1 3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour [for cupcakes, increase flour to 9 1/2 oz (1 7/8 cup)]
7 oz (1 cup) white sugar
8 oz (1 cup packed) light brown sugar
2 1/2 oz (3/4 cup) cocoa powder (natural – not Dutch processed)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
8 oz (1 cup) buttermilk
3 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
In a small heatproof bowl mix chocolate and boiling water. Blend until chocolate is melted. It may look a little clumpy – Set this aside while you mix the rest of the batter.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients on low for 20 seconds or so just to combine. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then mix on medium for 2 minutes.
Add the water/chocolate mixture to batter. It’s OK if the water/chocolate mixture is still warm. Mix on low to combine. Batter will be thin.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
For 24 cupcakes or three 8-inch layers, test after 18 minutes; for two 9-inch layers, test after 22 minutes; and for the 9 X 13 cake test after 28 minutes.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a baking rack or parchment lined plate to cool completely.
To prepare a pan, use cooking spray with flour. It is fast, easy, and always works. Use cupcake papers when you make cupcakes.
Use a scale to measure the ingredients. It’s just a faster, easier way to bake. It also makes measuring flour accurate and consistent
3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 LB (about 6 cups) powdered sugar
5 – 6 TB milk or cream
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
Cream the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until blended. Then beat until it becomes very creamy and begins to get fluffy. This is a stiff mixture, but this is an important step to get all the lumps smoothed out.
Add the milk and vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low to incorporate the liquid, then beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
To get the stripey red, white and blue frosting shown above, use a bamboo skewer to “paint” a stripe of gel food color inside your pastry bag. Start from the tip and go to about 1/2 way up the inside of the bag. Use red on one side and blue on the other side. Then fill the bag with frosting. When the frosting pipes out, it’s striped .
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