Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Best Ever Chocolate Cake Recipe - From a Mix!

In another life, I would be an ace cake decorator.  I would effortlessly take a regular cake and turn into a work of art.  In real life, I have not been as successful.  There was the time where I dropped an unfrosted cake on the floor (true story).  There was another time where we ran out of frosting at 10:00 PM the night before my son's birthday (thank goodness for Genaurdi's!).  But, I still keep trying, and I love it!

This past year, I tried something a little different.  I ordered a cake pan from JoAnn Fabrics (sometimes they have free shipping, which is awesome) and decided to make a soccer ball cake.  There are also ways to bake a cake in a glass bowl, to simulate the round shape.  I haven't tried that, but I'll include links to that in part two of this post.

Before I share with you how to make the easiest soccer ball (or baseball or basketball or volleyball) cake ever (using no special tools), I'm going to give you the BEST chocolate cake recipe on the planet (using chocolate cake mix as a base, no less!).  THIS is the recipe that I use year after year, and every year, it does not disappoint.

Best Ever Chocolate Cake Recipe (from a mix!)
(Source:  The Cake Mix Doctor - I cannot recommend books from the Cake Mix Doctor highly enough!  Man - that's my kind of doctor!  Nurse, get me the frosting, STAT!)

  • Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
  • Flour or cocoa powder for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 oz) plain devil's food or dark chocolate fudge cake mix (NO pudding in the mix)*
  • 1 package (3.9 oz) chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* Sometimes, I have trouble finding a mix fitting the description for exactly 18.25 ounces.  Get as close you can. 

  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and THEN preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly mist your pan(s) with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour or cocoa powder.  Shake out the excess.  Set the pan aside.
  • Place cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water and oil in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low for 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 - 3 minutes more.  Batter should look thick and well combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  
  • Pour batter into the pan(s), smoothing it out with a rubber spatula.  Place pan in oven.
  • Bake the cake until springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and just starts to pull away from the sides of then pan.  See below for various cooking times for various pans.  
  • Remove the cake from oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto the rack to cool, about 20 minutes more.  
Various Cake Pans / Cooking Times:
    At 350 degrees F
  • 9 inch cake layers (2) - 27 - 32 minutes
  • 13 x 9 inch pan - 30 - 45 minutes
  • 12 cup Bundt or 10 inch tubes - 40 - 55 minutes
This cake turns out moist, rich and deeeeelicious.  People will never believe it came from a mix!  In part two of our series, we'll talk decoration!  Now I have a hankering for cake...

Mix up the simple ingredients.  The sour cream is your secret weapon for moistness!

Here it is, all mixed up.  Ignore the sprinkles / jimmies in there.  They were an experiment!

This is a bowl you will want to lick!!!  Finger are more than permissible.