If you want a foolproof cake for the holidays with a frosting that’ll knock your socks off, then just follow the recipes below. We substitute honey for ours, but I have kept the original white sugar measurements if you would prefer to go that route. The first recipe comes from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box; the second is from The Cake Bible. Both are truly excellent and will provide a result that will make you proud.
This is our dessert for our Christmas gathering.
Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar (or 1 1/2 cups honey)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used reconstituted nonfat dry milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil, which is what I used)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (1/2 cup boiling water if using honey since the honey is liquid.)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. (I used a large sheet cake pan.)
2. Stir together sugar (or honey), flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Makes 4 cups
4 oz or 6 large egg yolks
5.25 oz or 3/4 c sugar (I use maple sugar)
5.75 oz or 1/2 liquid cup corn syrup (I use honey)
1 # or 2 c unsalted butter (must be softened)
1 to 2 oz or 2-4 T liqueur, eau-de-vie (I add 2 t vanilla)
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Have ready a 1 or 2 c greased, heatproof glass measure near the range.
This recipe is easiest with a stand mixer, but you can also use a heavy-duty hand mixer.
1. Place egg yolks in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until they are light in color (this will take several minutes in a stand mixer, and several more with a hand mixer).
2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and honey in a small saucepan (preferably with a non-stick lining, but my stainless steel one has always worked well for me) and heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a rolling boil (the entire surface will be covered with large bubbles). Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
3. If using a hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream. Don’t allow syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. For the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure. Continue beating until completely cooled (this will take several minutes – use the time to clean your glass measure and saucepan before it gets too sticky!).
4. Gradually beat in the butter and, if desired, any optional flavoring. Place in an airtight bowl. Bring to room temperature before using. Re-beat to restore texture
Pointers – The syrup must come to a rolling boil or the buttercream will be too thin. Don’t allow the syrup to fall directly onto the stand mixer paddle as it will spin the syrup around the sides of the bowl and create a giant mess. Using a hand mixer for this portion can make this easier.