April 8, 2009

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Although I didn't eat much of this cake because I made it for my boyfriend, I can confidently say that it was very very good. And if you need a bit more proof than that (although shouldn't you trust me by now?), my boyfriend ate the entire thing over the course of one weekend. Now I don't condone this kind of behavior, in all honesty, it makes me uncomfortable to think about all that cake going into one person's body in a mere 2 to 3 days. But no judgment-- it was good.

The recipe for the cake came from Sky High, a beautiful book dedicated to triple layer cakes, which I learned about from where else: smitten kitchen. My boyfriend actually bought me the book this past Christmas, so I thought it would only be appropriate to make a cake for him using it.

In the book, this cake is frosted with a peanut butter buttercream and then smothered with a gooey chocolate peanut butter glaze but I altered the fixings to suit my boyfriend's taste. He likes pudding-- jello pudding to be exact, and he isn't the biggest fan of frosting.

Since I have had a cake with pudding filling once before and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g, I had no problem making this substitution.  I actually used jello pudding, for reasons of convenience, but you could of course make your own.  For the frosting I just did a very thin layer of a simple vanilla buttercream (but any frosting will do) and then decorated the top with melted chocolate.

The thin layer of frosting didn't make it the prettiest cake ever, but it sure did taste good. (To see the version of the cake as written, check out smitten kitchen's post entitled Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake)

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

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
2/3 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1/3 cup applesauce*
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil, applesauce 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. Let cool in the pans.

To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread about 1/2 cup pudding over the top leaving about 3/4 of an inch rim around the layer un-pudding-ed. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the vanilla buttercream.

Decorate with melted chocolate if desired. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the pudding, frosting and chocolate to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.

*This is the first time I've substituted applesauce for part of the oil in a chocolate cake (I have done it many times in quick breads with great results) and this, I am happy to say worked wonderfully as well. I couldn't taste the applesauce at all and if anything, it made the cake more moist. I think you could even do a 1/2 cup applesauce and a 1/2 cup oil.  

If you try any new measurements, let me know how it turns out!

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