Last week one night, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and a baking blogger that I follow had posted a picture of an incredibly gorgeous chocolate cake. I showed it to my husband and exclaimed that I needed to bake cake more often - we are not enjoying enough cake like this! Back when I worked at Phillips Exeter Academy a few years ago, I was the self appointed birthday cake baker and I spent many hours pouring over recipes and choosing cake recipes for each of the monthly employee birthdays in my department. I never made the same cake twice and I always made two or three cakes at a time to bring in. I would combine all the birthdays that fell in any given month and choose a particular day that would be our Cake Day. Everybody loved and greatly anticipated cake days and I loved planning for them. Nowadays, I make cakes just a few times a year. When there are only two of you at home, making a huge layer cake just doesn't make sense unless you are going to pig out and eat it over a couple of days. We just can't do that (we really want to but we won't). So, inspiration struck - baby cakes! I have a really good recipe that I actually found on the back of Trader Joes baking cocoa and it's called the "Easiest And Greatest Chocolate Cake Ever" or something like that. I am going to share that recipe with you shortly. You want this recipe in your file box!
Here's the recipe and it truly is easy because you throw all of the ingredients in one huge mixing bowl and beat it all at once - no separating wet and dry although sometimes I do out of habit. The cake is moist, rich, not too sweet, not too tender but not dense - just right! It's a perfect devil's food type cake and it makes a ton of batter - more than you would need for a typical two-three layer cake. If you want cupcakes, it makes 48! When I make it for a layer cake, once I pour the batter in my pans, I use the leftover batter for however many cupcakes can be made. For baby cakes, it filled four 4 inch pans and 4 six inch pans and I over filled them so the cakes would be high enough to split in layers themselves.
Typical 9 inch pans bake for 30 minutes; cupcakes and the wee cakes, start at 20 minutes - just keep an eye on the smaller pans and not all ovens perform the same.
Greatest AND Easiest Chocolate Cake (Trader Joe's)
3 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl baking soda
1 1/3 cups baking cocoa
3 cups buttermilk (don't use regular milk)
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 sticks softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
Beat it all together on high (start on low or it will go flying) for 3 minutes. Grease and flour your pans and bake at preheated 350 degrees.
On another cooking note, yesterday I made a huge pot of Alphabet Soup for our church Women's meeting; we had a wonderful Grammar Refresher class taught by a high school English teacher and it seemed appropriate. The soup is made with hamburger, onions, carrots, green beans, corn, peas, beef broth, tomato sauce, and various herbs. It was pretty tasty and we had leftovers so I served it again tonight to our dinner guests (and the baby cakes).