I like to think I’ve finally mastered ratio baking a chocolate cake. A high ratio chocolate cake, that is. At least, one that I enjoy because my husband won’t eat chocolate cake, my son only likes to decorate, and my daughter is partial to the whipped cream. And my cat should absolutely keep her distance. Oh, well. More cake for me.
Anyways, I thought that perhaps the pinnacle of my chocolate cake journey should be a recipe. So I set out to convert my ratios into measurements. Twice. The first time was a disaster, and even I didn’t want to eat it. The second time, thankfully, was a success. But it is a bit of a headache to do, and does produce twice as much cake that shouldn’t be healthy for anyone to eat in one week, so, after this one, I’ll be sticking to what I like to call ratio recipes, a hybrid of ratios and recipes. Oh, you’ll see what I mean in the upcoming weeks.
This is my high ratio chocolate cake with stabilized whipped cream frosting. Keep in mind I did use 8 inch pans instead of the standard 9 inch ones, so if you’re using the 9 inch, the cakes will be a bit thinner and the baking time might be a bit different. I prefer 8 inch because it’s an inch smaller, and I’m basically the only cake eater in my family, so it’s not as intimidating to stare at.
The Chocolate Cake
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- a little less than 1/2 cup of milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy, a light yellow, and well-combined, meaning there are no chunks of butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour and the cocoa powder, and the baking powder if you’re so inclined, into a bowl. If you’re not inclined, just add it to the sifted flour and cocoa powder, as I always do.
- Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately. I like to do this in thirds.
- Now, the best thing to do is line the baking pans with parchment paper, but, if you don’t have any, do grease liberally and coat the bottom with 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder. Just dump it in over whatever you used to grease the pans with and shake until the bottom is covered in cocoa powder. And then pray because this isn’t a perfect method.
- Divide the batter into the two pans. Or just one if you want a taller cake. Just vary the baking time accordingly. I haven’t done it this way in awhile, but my memory says somewhere around 25 minutes is good.
- Bake for approximately 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes in pans and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
- Optional: Sometimes I make a simple syrup of equal measurements of water and granulated sugar to brush on top of the cakes, but that’s just me being fancy.
The Whipped Cream Frosting
Whipped cream will not hold up for long. If you’re not eating the whole cake right away, do make sure you stabilize it.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsps water
- 1 tsp gelatin
- Chill mixing bowl and whipping implement in the fridge, about 5-10 minutes. I do this for about 2 hours, just because I really like it cold.
- Prepare the gelatin by adding water to a microwave safe bowl and then the gelatin. Mix. Microwave for 10 seconds, until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside.
- Pour heavy cream into mixing bowl.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Whip until soft peaks form. These are the ones with peaks that lean over.
- Add the gelatin in a steady stream while continuing to whip, just at a bit of a lower speed. Then kick up the pace.
- If you’re going to color it, do it now. Then whip until stiff peaks form. These are the ones with peaks that don’t move.
I am a baker, not a decorator. These steps will help you put the cake together, but it likely will not look pretty. Just like my picture of the finished product. I repeat: baker, most definitely not a decorator.
- Place the bottom layer on a flat surface, preferably one you can move around. Tuck 4 pieces of something like foil, parchment paper, or just napkins under the cake, but don’t put them in too deep because you’ll need to pull them out without taking cake with you. Or don’t use it you have a better method of decorating the cake and not whatever it’s on.
- If you made simple syrup, liberally brush it on both layers.
- Spread a quarter or a third of the whipped cream on the bottom layer. This is the filling, so make it as thick as you like, though not too thick because that might invite the top layer to slide off, and we wouldn’t want that. Right? Or is it just me?
- Put the second layer squarely on top of the bottom. Don’t press. Unless you want the filling to ooze out.
- Use most of the rest of the whipped cream to cover the top and sides. There will likely be a couple of cups left over that can make for some decorations, but I just save it for later baked cakes. Because I never seem to stop making cakes. Someone help me.
- Decorate. Sorry, I can’t help you here. My method of decorating involves calling my kids over and letting them put edible stuff on top.
High ratio chocolate cake with stabilized whipped cream frosting!
I am so not a decorator. Maybe I’ll pick that up next year. Or the year after. You know, I could probably use a new hobby in 20 years when my kids are grown. And maybe out of the house.
Unfortunately, my bottom layer had issues (remember when I said the grease and coat with cocoa powder is not a perfect method? Um, yeah) and I clearly could have used more whipped cream on the filling. But not bad for the last slice four days later!