I was meeting some friends from my old company for lunch and needed something to bring them that was easy to make after I got home from work. Normally I don't make frosted cakes during the week because of the cooling and frosting time needed and I was late getting home from work and the gym that night. But putting the cake batter together was easy enough as was the frosting. And there's nothing simpler to make than a sheet cake. I did improvise though and added the chopped Oreos as garnish for the frosting. Otherwise the cake would've looked a bit plain. Plus it depleted the package of Oreos I had on hand which meant less I would be eating and negating of all my exercise, haha.
Overall, I thought the chocolate cake was pretty good. It had a good texture, not as dense as a pound cake but not as light as a chiffon cake. I took it out of the oven almost the literal second between the toothpick test showing raw batter and then coming out almost clean. I can't abide dry, overbaked cakes. Use a dark cocoa to get good chocolate flavor. For the unsweetened baking chocolate I used Scharffenberger. If you go with the Oreo garnish, add the Oreos at the last minute before serving so they'll stay crisp. Otherwise they'll soften.
5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into ½-ounce pieces, softened
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted
1 cup whole milk
½ cup hot water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Very Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
4 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar
½ pound unsalted butter, cut into ½-ounce pieces
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Place the granulated sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed for 1 minute; then beat on medium for 3 minutes until soft. Scrape down sides of the bowl and paddle and then beat on medium for an additional 2 minutes until very soft. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 10 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl once all the eggs have been incorporated.
4. Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium for 15 seconds. On low speed, gradually add half of the sifted dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Gradually add ½ cup of the milk and mix on low to incorporate, about 15 seconds. With mixer on low, gradually add remaining sifted dry ingredients and mix for 30 seconds. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of milk and mix on low for 15 seconds.
5. Slowly add ½ cup hot water and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix on medium for 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to spread it evenly.
6. Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes at room temperature. Invert the cake onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate the cake until needed.
7. Frosting: Sift the confectioners’ sugar onto a large piece of wax paper. Set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed for 1 minute then increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes, until soft. Beat on medium for 2 more minutes until softer. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and mix on the lowest speed to combine, about 1 minute. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix on low speed for 15 seconds until mixture appears moist. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Continue beating until desired state of “fluffiness” is reached.
8. Frost cake and sprinkle with chopped Oreos if desired.