Decadent, iconic, tender and sweet, chocolate cake helps us celebrate birthdays, allows us to sneak a late night snack, and brings us back to a simpler time. Although boxed cakes line grocery store shelves, chocolate cakes from scratch are an easy and more wholesome alternative. With some simple ingredients and a little more time, a home-made chocolate cake can become an easy part of your baking repertoire.
Preheat an oven to 325 F.
Fill a saucepan with water, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and rest the bowl on the inside rim of the saucepan, just above the height of the water. This ensures that the chocolate does not get overheated.
Boil the water using a saucepan on the stove and then whisk the chocolate into the boiling water. The chocolate must still be warm in order prevent it from seizing.
Place the room-temperature butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment, turn the mixer to medium speed and cream until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. This process of aeration is key to creating a light and tender final product. The butter will cream more easily if it is soft and at room-temperature. Be sure to occasionally scape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are being incorporated evenly.
Gradually add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Adding eggs a few at a time helps prevent the batter from separating. Room temperature eggs also aid in creating a more cohesive batter.
Beat in the melted chocolate.
Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, soda, powder, and salt). Add the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternately into the batter. To do this, add one-third of the dry ingredients and then about half of the sour cream. Repeat this until all of the dry ingredients and the sour cream has been incorporated evenly. This gradual and alternating addition process allows the batter to accept a larger quantities of liquid, creating a moister and more delicious final result.
Beat the batter until smooth, but be careful not to over-mix.
Prepare baking pans with pan spray and divide the batter evenly.
Bake until the cakes spring back slightly to the touch. Baking times will vary depending on the individual ovens and a number of environmental elements, so it is best to use your senses of touch, smell and sight, rather than rely on a timer.
- "The World of Baking"; Dolores Casella; 1968
- "Professional Baking"; Wayne Gisslen; 2009
- Pamela Follett/Demand Media