Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

My mom has always asked my brother, my dad, and me what type of cake we want for our birthdays. My brother always requests a banana cake, and my dad tends to vary his answer year to year. For as long as I can remember, my cake of choice has been a delicious chocolate cake, a Hershey's classic.
Mix the batter until smooth.

It's still a few months until my birthday, but luckily an opportunity for making and savoring this cake has presented itself today. I just returned from a semester in Scotland, and this afternoon my family is going to visit with my grandparents. My grandpa mentioned in passing to my mom that he's had a taste for chocolate cake, and tonight we'll all benefit.
More batter in the pan = More yummy cake!

This cake really is fantastic, and the beauty is that you can make it simple or fancy to fit your taste or schedule. For birthdays and other special occasions, it's pretty easy to make an impressive two-layer cake. For impromptu occasions like today, or picnics where you'll want to serve more people, you can bake the cake in a 9-by-13 inch pan and frost in situ. The recipe is barely any more work than a boxed chocolate cake mix, if that's the way you tend to go, and the results taste infinitely better. And while the homemade frosting really is, well, the icing on the cake, a canned frosting tastes pretty darn good, too.
Frosting should have a creamy, spreadable consistency.

No matter what you do, it seems, this cake tastes wonderful. And, if your family is anything like mine, you'll be able to rationalize eating a piece for breakfast. What a way to start the day.
The finished product. Decorate to your heart's content!

These recipes are also available on the package for Hershey's Cocoa.
Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
from Hershey's Kitchens

2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or other light oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the boiling water (using the whisk works best). Pour into two greased 9-inch round pans or a greased 9-by-13 inch pan. Cook two 9-inch pans 30 to 35 minutes, or a single 9-by-13 inch pan for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven when a toothpick comes out clean, then cool completely before frosting.
Note: If you use the two 9-inch pans to make a layer cake, you'll want to remove the cakes from their pans after 10 minutes and let them finish cooling on a wire rack.

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting
from Hershey's Kitchens

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter, then stir in the cocoa. Alternately beat in the powdered sugar and milk on medium speed. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. Add the vanilla last. Frost the cake and enjoy.
Note: If you're making the layer cake, make sure to leave enough frosting to cover the entire cake; don't use it all on the center layer.

**Sunshine cupcakes update will follow in the next week or two. I arrived home to a plethora of cupcakes and various other planned goodies (like today's cake), so I had to temporarily put off the bake test in the interest of my friends' and family's waistlines and dental health.

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