It's incredible what you can find on StumbleUpon. I have over 700 food "likes," and throughout my stumbles, I have found some truly amazing cooking blogs.
It was on one of my favorites, "I am Baker," that I found the recipe for my mom's chocolate birthday cake. The recipe is pretty straightforward, but I have re-written it in my own words and with a few tweaks along the way. Let me tell you folks, this chocolate cake is the best I have EVER had. It's moist, it's chocolatey without being overwhelming, and the coffee is subtle but present. I served it with a vanilla buttercream frosting, the recipe for which I found on another favorite blog, "Sweetapolita."
I feel like I should mention a couple things about my recipe-writing style before I begin. 1) I hate how most recipes have the measurement before the actual ingredient; therefore, I will be writing the ingredient followed by the measurement (revolutionary, I know); 2) I also don't like it how most recipes tell you to preheat the oven before you even start prepping the cake batter; I don't know about your ovens, but mine heats up pretty quickly and the beeping noise irritates me, so I'll be leaving that for the end of the directions.
And now, without further ado, here are the recipes I used to make my mother's rather EPIC birthday cake :)
Courtesy of I Am Baker
Flour- 1 3/4 cups
Sugar- 2 cups
Cocoa powder- 3/4 cups (I used Valrhona but Hershey's is fine too)
Baking soda- 2 tsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Kosher salt- 1 tsp
Buttermilk- 1 cup (shake it up well before you pour!)
Vegetable oil- 1/2 cup (e.g. Canola, etc.)
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Hot coffee- 1 cup* (it should be fresh, not leftover!)
2 bowls- one for dry ingredients, one for wet**
*I recommend using half caf/half decaf, because if you use the frosting recipe I'm including, your blood will already be racing upon consumption. If you want to leave out the coffee all together, 1 cup of hot water is fine.
**If you are using a stand mixer, the dry ingredients should go in that bowl
1) Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt (the dry ingredients)
2) Combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla (the wet ingredients)
3) Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
NOTE: At this point, the batter will seem like a pretty perfect consistency. You still need to add the coffee!
4) Add the coffee, with the mixer still on a lower speed. Do not over-beat!
NOTE: Now the batter is going to be very runny. DON'T PANIC! It's normal!
5) Turn oven on (350 degrees F) and prep your pans (I use Baker's Joy, which is Pam + flour). For this occasion, I used two 8-inch round pans.
6) Put pans in oven for 35 minutes. Use a cake tester- if it does not come out completely clean, put it back in for up to 5 additional minutes (35 was fine for me)
7) Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then take them out and place them on a cooling rack.
Tip: If you're in a time crunch, put an electric fan in front of the cooling rack to make the cakes cool faster!
I will be posting pictures shortly :) Recipe for frosting is coming up next!