Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Sour Cream Frosting —MAV

This weekend I was a baking machine! For many reasons, some of which you will find out next week (eep!), I had a list of items to bake and I was more than pleased to spend most of my weekend in the kitchen. It was so much fun to be buried in bags of flour, cartons of eggs and blocks of chocolate! Made me excited for the holidays for the first time. Such a nice feeling to feel excited about it and not overwhelmed. I plan to hold onto that feeling in the coming weeks.

The biggest reason I was in the kitchen was because it was my dad’s birthday this past week (love you, Dad!) and I wanted to make him a stellar chocolate cake.

I’ve made my share of chocolate cakes, mind you, but I wanted to really nail this. It was the first chance I had had, probably in my adult life ever, to make my dad a birthday cake in real time. I needed to nail this cake.

I wanted it to be traditional yet, somehow, sophisticated. I really wanted to use all the good things … natural sugar, dark chocolate. And I became obsessed with the idea of doing a different sort of frosting. I love a cream cheese frosting and I wanted to do something similar.

I came across Not Without Salt’s Chocolate Cake With Sour Cream Frosting and knew this was the one. And boy was it the one! The “tangy” frosting was AMAZING. The chocolate cake itself was the best I’ve had of this variety.

The only changes I made were that I did not bake layers (just baked the cake in one tall cake pan and sliced it into two layers) and I made half of the frosting that she called for (just halved the recipe and it turned out great). I did not want to have all of that frosting. I wanted to leave room for a little sprinkle of confectioners sugar on the bottom … almost like twinkling stars in the night sky. I usually leave the sides unfrosted entirely but this time I gradated the frosting down. I wanted to balance out the lightness of the white cake stand and tone of my favorite beeswax candles. (You can see I was taking this very seriously.)

I have noted the recipe here as I made it. You should really check out Not Without Salt if you have not before. I also made her Chocolate Chip Cookies this weekend and everyone raved! I was asked to bring them to our big Thanksgiving. Sure thing!

Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Sour Cream Frosting
Adapted From Not Without Salt

3 C all-purpose flour
2 C natural sugar
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
3/4 C canola oil
2 T white vinegar
2 t vanilla
1 C brewed coffee
1 C water

Preheat oven to 325°F/180°C. Oil your cake pan(s). Whisk together dry ingredients well, set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients well. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined. Spread the batter into your cake pans and bake until a tester comes out clean (for my one 9 x 3 inch cake pan it was about 60 minutes; for 9-inch layer pans it would be half that time). Let the cake cool a bit and then turn out onto a rake to cool completely.

2 C bittersweet chocolate
1-1/4 C sour cream
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/4 t kosher salt

Melt the chocolate in a bowl that is sitting over a pot of simmering water. Once melted turn off the heat but keep the bowl over the water. Stir in the sour cream until combined. Stir in powdered sugar and salt. Taste it and if you like it sweeter add more sugar. Remove the frosting from the heat and let it sit for about an hour until it thickens. Once ready frost the cake to your liking.

* * * p.s. Special thanks to those of you who chimed in on Instagram yesterday. You guys got your cake!