Go-to Chocolate Cake

Hey, nerds! Who's got two thumbs, speaks limited French and hasn't cried once today? [Pointing both thumbs at herself] This moi.
-Tina Fey, from 30 Rock

I know exactly how she feels.

I also speak limited French, have two thumbs, and haven't cried today.

It's been a good day.

And that is very, very sweet.

I baked a chocolate cake for the occasion but didn't take a photo. Which is a pity, because it was the best chocolate cake I've ever made, due to the incredible frosting. I've gotten weird about frosting. I want fluffy mountains of gently sweetened chocolate on my chocolate cakes. Not too rich buttercream, not heavy ganache. I want plain jane, honest to goodness, really simple, no fuss, no egg white, simple as can be, workaday, delicious, as-low-maintenance-as short-hair-frosting.

And this frosting is all of the above. I am in love with this frosting. And this cake. It is bliss on a fork. It is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.

I am so proud.
And did I mention that I'm graduated?


Best Ever Plain Jane Chocolate Cake
from The Gourmet Cookbook

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Go-to Chocolate Frosting
from Allrecipes.com

1 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.