This simple recipe for chocolate cake is my classic black dress of the kitchen; for any occasion it works. It is perfect plain or can be dressed up. So simple it is to make with just a bowl and spoon, it's a good recipe to know and rely on. My late mother-in-law, the mother of nine, volunteer, activist and overall beautiful woman, lovingly made this cake for birthdays, which, for her, meant making two once the family expanded to include us spouses. No electric mixer is required; just a little arm power for whisking. I also like that no special ingredients are required; just a few basics from the SimplyCooking® pantry.
simple chocolate cake with sour cream frosting
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup grape seed oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda into the buttermilk mixture and stir well, eliminating most lumps. Divide the batter into the two pans and bake 25 minutes. Cool the pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out and allow to cool completely before frosting.
May be made one day ahead. Wrap the cakes separately in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
sour cream frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. Whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup sour cream. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and gradually whisk in enough of the remaining 1/3 cup sour cream to reach a spreadable consistency.