One of the major laws of the universe states that ‘Birthdays always require cake’! There is nothing that can top a good cake as part of a birthday party. Usually at work we pick up a store made cake, since it’s easier. However, last night I was volunteered into making a birthday cake for a co-worker’s birthday party. As life would have it, I didn’t have the time to make a whole cake from scratch. But I also didn’t want to just make a boxed mix, either. I needed something more special than that. Especially because of the taunting I would get “Oooh, just a boxed mix? What, isn’t he good enough to get one of your super fancy homemade cakes?”. To which I would have to hang my head in shame and beg to be allowed to make it up to them.
One of my favorite things to do is to take a boxed cake mix and then jazz it up some by adding extra ingredients. This is a great recipe for chocolate cake. The sour cream adds a bit more depth to the flavor of the cake, making it more moist, and makes it seem more special and homemade. Don’t ask me how, it just does. Magic! The frosting on this cake is a great old fashioned frosting. I got it from my mother-in-law, who got it from her mother! It tastes super fudgy, and is nice and creamy. It sets up beautifully, with a gorgeous gloss to it. You can definitely tell its homemade!
This recipe can be made in any pan, whether round cake pans, a 9x13, or Bundt pans. Just watch the time closely. This cake dries out fast. The instructions for the cake say to make 2 round layers, and then split into 4 layers. You can do whatever you wish, since when you make it, it will be YOUR cake. I found the idea of toting a 4 layer cake through rush hour traffic a little daunting, so I went the simple way and make a sheet cake. Tastes just as good!
Better Than A Box Chocolate Cake
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (4 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans, a Bundt cake pan, or a 9x13 pan.
3. Dust with flour and tap out the excess; set pans aside.
4. Combine all ingredients, either with an electric mixer or by hand until thick and well combined.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans.
6. Bake for 27-32 minutes . Watch your cake closely, it goes from not done to dried out very quickly!
7. Allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
8. Run a knife along the edges on the cakes pans and carefully remove cake by inverting it; allow to cool for 20 minutes more on the wire rack right side up.
9. When the cake layers are completely cool, cut layers in half and frost.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter, cut into tablespoon sizes
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1. Place a large bowl, filled halfway with ice, in the sink (a bowl that is large enough to hold the pot that you will cook the frosting in).
2. In a medium size pot over medium low heat, melt chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup.
3. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture until all of the butter and chocolate melts and thickens.
4. Cook for 5-6 minutes. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
5. Remove pot from heat.
6. Whisk in the sifted confectioners' sugar until mixture becomes smooth (approximately 1 minute), then put the pot on top of the bowl of ice (be careful to not allow any ice from the larger bowl to get into pot with the chocolate mixture).
7. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 4-5 minutes until frosting becomes smooth, thick, and fudgy.
8. Remove from ice.
9. Spread onto cooled cake layers.
10. The frosting will thicken as it sets up.
11. If the frosting gets too hard to spread, put back on LOW heat and stir constantly until you get the spreading