First, let me start by apologizing to Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen. She chose Berry Surprise Cake for this week’s TWD but I just didn’t get around to making it. It looks delicious though so I hope to try the recipe soon. Head over to Mary Ann’s blog for the recipe and check out TWD if you’d like to see how the cakes turned out this week!

Anyway, Happy Inauguration Day everyone! I was really excited about today and enjoyed watching the day’s events unfold. To celebrate the day, I made a nice meal for Shane and I to enjoy. We had lasagna (at Shane’s request), biscuits and chocolate cake. Yum! I made this cake just the other day for my mom and Shane kept threatening to eat it so I had to make him his own today!

Having made the cake the other day, I was able to improve on it today. I took it out of the oven a bit early the other day and the center ended up collapsing a bit as it cooled. It wasn’t a big deal as I topped the cake with a chocolate ganache which covered it nicely. Today, though, I left it in a few minutes longer and avoided the sunken center. Also, instead of topping with chocolate ganache, I used a vanilla frosting. The chocolate ganache would have been chocolate overload for me but with the vanilla frosting, this cake was perfect! It was delicious….very moist and great chocolate flavor. The recipe is also great because it comes together so quickly (no mixer required!) so I know I’ll be making it again and again!

Pantry Chocolate Cake
from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking poweder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing the ends of the foil to overhang the pan (which will make it easier to remove the cake after baking).

Whisk the cocoa and the boiling water together in a small bowl. Let the mixture cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder (if using) together. In another bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture together. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture (I found it easiest to do this with a rubber spatula as the batter is fairly thick and got caught in the whisk).

Give the batter a final stir with the rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, 1 to 2 hours.

Vanilla Frosting
from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat the butter, cream, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until incorporated and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.