Chocolate Vanilla Cake

A delicious way to hedge your bets

Serving Size: 10 to 12

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Do you have both chocolate and vanilla lovers in your home?  I do.  So when there is a celebration and you make the mistake of saying, “should I made a chocolate cake or vanilla cake” do  you get contradictory answers that are completely unhelpful in sum?  I do.

I made this cake on just such an occasion, when a bunch of kids were coming to celebrate a birthday and I couldn’t decide which way to go.  In the past I’ve made cakes with one layer of chocolate and one layer of vanilla, but this time I though, “Nah.”

I decided to make a cake that kind of hedged its bets, with a hint of chocolate, enough so that it could kinda sorta be classified as a chocolate cake (though chocolate lovers would ride me out of town on a rail for saying that), but not enough chocolate to turn off the vanilla-ians.  A no man’s land, perhaps, but it became a destination.

I really improvised this Chocolate Vanilla Cake as I went along, which means that I am very lucky it turned out ok.  I am not usually that kind of person, who has such great baking chops that they can throw recipes to the wind.

It was a series of oh-what-the-hell moments.  I thought I had a fresh sour cream in the fridge.  Nope.  Yogurt!  I thought I had more cocoa power than I did – 1/2 cup was all that was left in the container, so that’s what I used.

And lo and behold, it turned out quite ok.  Make this Chocolate Vanilla Cake the next time you are feeling wishy washy about that whole chocolate vanilla conundrum.

Chocolate Vanilla Cake

Print

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup cold water

One Pot Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (semisweet will make it too sweet)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, plus additional as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Make the cake: In a medium bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the butter and the granulated and brown sugar and whisk to combine.  Add the vanilla, yogurt and water and whisk to blend well.  Dump in the flour mixture and whisk to combine (you can also do this with a mixer on low speed).  Turn the mixture into the two prepared cake pans, dividing the batter evenly, and smoothing the top with a spatula.

4. Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out of the pans and finish cooling them on the racks.

5. Make the frosting: In a small saucepan melt the butter and the chocolate over low heat, whisking frequently until he chocolate is melted.  Whisk in the salt and vanilla, then add the confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup milk and whisk until everything is creamy and smooth.  If you want really fluffier and you don’t want to break a sweat, grab that electric mixer and beat away.

6. Frost the cakes with the frosting.

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