I certainly was in a homey, baked goods kind of mood this weekend. While I was at the supermarket to buy ricotta cheese and yellow cornmeal, I grabbed a tub of sour cream and a small carton of buttermilk so that I could finally test the chocolate layer cake recipe I snagged from Buttercup Bakes at Home. Properly titled "Our Favorite Chocolate Layer Cake," this is supposedly the recipe that is used at Buttercup Bake Shop to make chocolate cupcakes. I've never had the fortune to visit New York City and actually sample these cupcakes, but I'm assuming that they got to be something special to be famous, so I was pretty excited about trying out this recipe.

Ingredients (From Buttercup Bakes at Home)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 3/8 cup buttermilk

  • 1/8 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

I first melted the chocolate by microwaving it on high for 30 seconds at a time and stirring often to ensure even heating. Once I got some dark brown liquidy goodness, I set it aside and started putting together the foundation of the batter.

I creamed together the butter and sugar for a couple minutes until smooth and fluffly. Then I added the eggs one at a time and beating them in after each addition to fully incorporate them. Once I got a uniform batter, I added the dry ingredients one at a time while alternating it with additions of vanilla extract and buttermilk. Finally, I stirred in the sour cream and melted chocolate until everything was a rich brown color.

I poured the batter into a 9 x 9-inch baking pan that had been sprayed down with Baker's Joy baking spray. I put the pan into an oven preheated to 350 degrees F and baked the cake for about 23 minutes. When cake tester came out clean, I pulled the pan out of the oven and allowed it to cool to room temperature. I know this is a bad move because you're usually supposed to remove the cake to a wire rack for cooling, but I was too lazy to do so.

While the cake cooled, I whipped up some chocolate buttercream frosting to top the cake. I would offer a recipe for the chocolate buttercream, but I didn't follow one. I have this habit of mixing together frosting ingredients in a stand mixer and altering the amount of each ingredient until I get something that I like. All I can really offer you is that I used unsalted butter, powdered sugar, melted semisweet chocolate, and a couple of splashes of milk and vanilla extract to make this frosting.

After I frosted the cake, I was finally able to sample the cake (sampling is my favorite part of the baking process)! At first I thought that the cake was nice. It had a subtle sweet taste; the chocolate flavor wasn't too strong. The frosting really complemented the cake. However, while I was chewing my second bite, I noticed that the texture was a bit off. It was moist but dry at the same time. The cake overall was moist, but the individual particles of the cake were dry. Does that make sense? I have no inkling about how I ended up with this phenomenon; perhaps it was because I used reduced fat sour cream. I have no idea. If you have any theories, please send them my way. While this recipe was solid, my hunt for the perfect chocolate cake recipe still goes on.