Learning As I Chop

A Very Merry UnBirthday to You!

Posted in Baking/Cooking by R @ Learning As I Chop on August 23, 2010

We recently celebrated a very special birthday in the LAIC family, so I decided to do the unthinkable – make a cake.

Now, I’ve never made a cake before. Not even one via Betty Crocker. But this is Learning As I Chop, and I’ve got culinary aspirations to meet, so I figured no time like the present. Plus, I’m one of those rare people who love cooking and baking equally. Like most things in my life, I see the pros and cons to both.

After my pondering my options, I decided on chocolate cake (no layers needed) and googled for a simple recipe. Came upon this lovely one:


Serves 10 to 12.

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Chocolate Glaze


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with wax paper. Butter paper; dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  3. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan firmly on countertop several times to force out large air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely (bottom side up). Set rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over; spread gently to coat entirely. Let stand until set. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Serve with whipped cream

I was really excited to start, especially since I had never purchased baking cocoa before. Plus, now that I had mastered the spring form pan, I knew I could do it. Here’s a nice pic of the prepped pan, wax paper and cocoa dustings in place

Then things got fun. I worked on the mixture and watched it turn from your usual sugar/butter/egg mix into chocolatey goodness. Of course I forgot to lick the spoon. As the cake baked, I worked on the glaze. I was ever excited because it gave me the opportunity to use my food scale, which is often neglected

I was honestly mesmerized by how boiled heavy cream melts chocolate so quickly. Once you let the mixture cool, it thickens into a nice, rich glaze.

In the meantime, you have to let the cake cool as well. I always rush this process, so I set the timer for 10 minutes and made myself stick to it. I love the way the cake shrank away, in a good way, from the pan. Made case-removing very simple.

But then things got scary – I had to turn it. Definitely had a few near-misses along the way. Words in the LAIC kitchen weren’t very PG, and I entertained a few questions of concern from H who heard me scream and curse from the other room. But the cake and I made it and we moved to the sink, where I proceeded to pour beautiful glaze all over it.

Next time I will make sure to glaze the sides as well. Oops!

I then added candles and the birthday person’s name to the cake. All in all, it was yummy but not for the chocolate faint of heart. Definitely make this treat for a chocaholic and they will thank you. Enjoy!


2 Responses

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  1. Heather said, on August 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    oh my gosh, this looks amazing! and i’m definitely not the chocolate faint of heart…i could totally handle this 🙂

  2. Anna said, on August 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’m totally intimidated by cake making– this is very impressive!!! Looks delicious, too!

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