SOUR CREAM-CHOCOLATE CAKE with VANILLA BEAN FROSTING
Adapted via SmittenKitchen
Serves: 12 to 16 (makes 1 triple-layer cake – Anne: I reserved one layer in the freezer and only made a double)
For Chocolate Cake:
♦ 2 cups all-purpose flour
♦ 2 1/2 cups sugar
♦ 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
♦ 2 teaspoons baking soda
♦ 1 teaspoon salt
♦ 1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
♦ 1 cup sour cream
♦ 1 1/2 cups water
♦ 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
♦ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
♦ 2 eggs
For Vanilla Bean Frosting:
♦ 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
♦ 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
♦ 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
♦ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
♦ Seeds from 1 vanilla bean that has been split and scraped
♦ Juice from 1/2 small lemon (optional)
For cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper (don’t skip this – these cakes are very soft). Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean; switch cakes on oven racks halfway through baking. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (SmittenKitchen recommends freezing these then frosting them. I skipped this because of time constraints, but will probably employ this next time – these cakes are super soft).
For frosting: In a medium bowl, blend together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy; add vanilla vanilla bean seeds, and lemon juice (if using – I add this to balance the richness of the cake). Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing well until it’s all incorporated.
For assembly: Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting (Anne note – given that I had a small party, I only used TWO layers of this cake, and saved the third layer for another use. Even though the frosting is meant for three layer, I would recommend adding a more powdered sugar and a dash of milk just to make sure you don’t run out); allow the cake to chill in the fridge for atleast an hour before serving.
Read more about this cake and my musical pairing by clicking HERE.