Makes one 2-layer 9-inch cake
You can go fancy with the chocolate, like Scharffen Berger or Valrhona, but I'm pretty sure Grandpa used Baker's. The frosting takes from 15 to 35 minutes, depending on how hot the water is and how fast you beat. Once you have the right consistency (Grandpa never found a precise way to describe that, but you want it thickish and somewhat granular), frost the cake right away - otherwise the frosting will harden. The frosting shouldn't be too soupy, or it will never properly solidify. If you leave it on the heat too long, it will turn over-granular and harden before you have a chance to get it on the cake, making it difficult to spread.
|Butter (for the pans)|
|Flour (for the pans)|
|1/2||cup whole milk|
|4||ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped|
|1 1/2||cups flour|
|1||teaspoon baking powder|
|1||teaspoon baking soda|
|1/2||cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature|
|1 1/4||cups sugar|
|1/2||cup sour milk made with 1/2 whole milk mixed with 1 teaspoon white vinegar|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand two 9-inch cake pans. Butter them, then dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. In the top of a double boiler over hot water, combine the milk and chocolate. When the mixture is smooth, remove the top from the water, wipe the bottom of the pan, and set it aside to cool.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice.
4. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar, egg yolks, and the chocolate mixture.
5. Stir the flour mixture into the batter alternately with the sour milk.
6. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Quickly fold the whites into the batter. Do not over-mix (there should be small bits of egg white still visible).
7. Divide the batter between the pans, spreading it to the edges. Place a small pan of water in the oven (this will keep the cakes moist). Bake the layers for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
8. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then tip them out of the pans and let them cool completely on a rack.
|1 3/4||cups sugar|
|6||tablespoons cold water|
|1||teaspoon vanilla or mint extract|
2. Remove the pan from the heat, and keep beating the frosting until it cools; it will thicken. Add vanilla or mint extract.
3. On a cake platter, place one layer of cake upside down; frost it. Place the other layer of cake right-side up on the first; frost the top and sides of both layers.
|1||ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped|
2. Cook over low heat until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Let it cool slightly.
3. With a mixing spoon, dribble the melted chocolate mixture over the frosted cake so some falls down the sides.