Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Top Favorite: Chocolate Pan Cake with Fudge Frosting

Chocolate Pan Cake with Fudge Frosting - made June 4, 2013 from A Country Baking Treasury by Lisa Yockelson

This is one of my favorite renditions of chocolate cake with fudge frosting spread over the warm cake to melt into it and later cool and set.  The cake texture is fluffy and the sweetness of the frosting goes perfectly with the not-too-rich chocolate goodness of the cake.  There's nothing easier to make on a weeknight after work because it's a simple matter of mixing up the cake batter and while the cake is baking in the oven, you can wash up, eat dinner and prepare the frosting, ready for spreading as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.  I made this for a couple of coworkers visiting from our Florida office because of the time factor and ease of preparation.  Not to mention, it's really good.  I think what I like best about it is the texture: not too dense, not too light but perfectly cakey.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into rough chunks
4 tablespoons unsifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsifted cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk, blended with 1 teaspoon baking soda, at room temperature
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon light cream, at room temperature
1 box (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar, sifted (you can use less if you prefer it less sweet)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

1. Line a 9 x 13 x 2-inch cake pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2. For the cake, place the butter, cocoa, and water in a large saucepan, set over moderately high heat, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Sift together the sugar, flour and salt into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot butter-cocoa-water mixture over the sifted dry mixture and beat on moderate speed until thoroughly blended. Add the whisked egg mixture and continue beating on low speed until the batter is a uniform color, about 1 ½ minutes. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake the cake on the lower-third-level rack of the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and dry and the cake shrinks slightly away from the edges of the pan.
4. About 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the fudge frosting. Place the butter, chocolate, milk and cream in a large saucepan, set over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted down completely. Remove from the heat and beat in the sugar by cupfuls with the vanilla and salt. Blend in the pecans, if using.
5. As soon as the cake is done, remove it from the oven to a wire cooling rack. Immediately spread the frosting evenly over the top with a flexible palette knife. Let the cake cool in the pan.

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