Vanilla Layer Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting
I like high quality chocolate... but I also like to experiment with basic baking ingredients. So when I saw Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder at the grocery store, I said to myself: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. And you know what? It makes an excellent dark chocolate not-too-sweet icing for this simple vanilla layer cake. (So excellent that Gus turned very silent and serious about eating up every bit left in the bowl once I was done frosting the cake.)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for cake pans and parchment
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment as well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 33 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.
Frosting: In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, milk, and vanilla; stir until smooth and free of lumps.