Sometimes you just want a plain-ass chocolate cake.
And sometimes sometimes is actually all the time if you happen to be Taylor.
And I realized, while I’ve got recipes for Red Wine Chocolate Cake and Whiskey Chocolate Cake and Lemon Cake with Fudge Frosting, I’d never actually posted a recipe for a damn good chocolate cake, your basic chocolate on chocolate, the kind Taylor requests each and every year for his birthday, and the kind I usually deny him in lieu of something ‘weird’ (see: aforementioned red wine chocolate cake, which, while good, is definitely not plain-ass).
So, for once, I acquiesced and gave him exactly what he asked for.
And, since it didn’t turn out quite right the first time (the cake was TOO moist—if there is such a thing—and the frosting too stiff, which made it hard to assemble—not that that stopped us from eating the whole thing), I made it again the following week to perfect the recipe.
That’s TWO plain-ass chocolate cakes in three weeks, dear husband. Two cakes add up to a whole slew of wife points (still deciding what I should cash them in for… a kitten, perhaps? lol I kid, I kid. 3 cats, unlike 2 cakes, is more than enough).
Anyway. Let’s talk cake.
The base recipe is actually very similar to the Red Wine Chocolate Cake, just with plain hot water instead of red wine in this case, as well as bit more oil and a bit more salt and vanilla to amp up the chocolate flavor.
I learned my lesson with the first cake that you shouldn’t mess with a good thing (I tried to add sour cream to make it even more rich and moist and it was so moist it could barely support itself let alone layers of dense fudge frosting).
As for the frosting, it’s a variation on a classic American buttercream, with cocoa and powdered sugar, but made with a bit of sour cream and hot water to cut the sweetness, and melted chocolate to make it even more fudge-like.
It’s super creamy and shiny when you first mix it up (just ignore that moment when you first add the hot water… despite what it looks like, it will work!) However, like all frostings that use melted chocolate, it will set up and loose its shine as it cools, so you can’t really make it ahead of time. If you freeze your cake layers like I froze mine, you do have to work pretty quickly as you frost the cake to prevent the frosting from setting up too firmly before you’re done. I imagine it’d hold its shine longer in the summer.
While I was originally shooting for a super glossy dark chocolate frosting, this version was too good not to share, even if it wasn’t quite what I intended (I’m going to keep working on that glossy frosting, so don’t be surprised if you see another chocolate cake recipe here in the near future!)