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Favorite Chocolate Layer Cake & Frosting

There may be other chocolate cakes as good as this one, but there is none better. And for a "from scratch" cake, this one is surprisingly undemanding.
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.

In a medium bowl, stir the boiling water into the cocoa until smooth, and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

At medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Let the mixer run for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer running at low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the vanilla, and do not overbeat.

Pour an equal amount of batter into each of the three prepared pans. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans set on racks for 10 minutes. Invert pans on racks, remove pans, and allow layers to cool completely before frosting.

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 25 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 59 minutes

Recipe editor

Favorite Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 2-1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Combine the chocolate chips, half-and-half and butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips melt. Remove from heat. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, stirring well.

Set the saucepan in a large bowl filled with ice, and beat at low speed with an electric mixer until frosting begins to lose its gloss and holds its shape. If necessary, add a half-teaspoon or so of half-and-half to achieve perfect spreading consistency.

The serving dishes in our photograph are Fiesta dinnerware.

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