Sour Cream Chocolate Birthday Cake

My mom actively encourages me to not bake anything, ever. And if I do bake something, she very actively encourages me to either make it fat free (um, impossible) or to share it, but just not with her. 

So, when she turned 65 this year, I knew just what to do. Bake her a cake. 

Now, she pretends not to enjoy baked goods, but I figured if I could find a recipe that would have an ingredient that would make her feel better about it. Along came this recipe, and I was set. 
Now, this cake is amazing. It is double-chocolate, but not super-chocolatey. Just the perfect amount of chocolatey-ness. The frosting almost has a tang to it. It was really, really good. So I left at least half of the cake with Mom. It WAS her day to celebrate after all.

Double Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
makes two 9-inch round layers
For the cake:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate (I like 70% for this), melted
1 cup strong brewed coffee
Crushed pistachios and extra cocoa powder for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two standard 9-inch cake pans and set aside. (For the cake you see above I used a 9-inch cake pan and a deeper 7-inch springform to create two different-sized layers.)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using beaters), cream the softened butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time on low speed, then add the vanilla extract and sour cream. On medium speed, mix in the melted chocolate and coffee.
Finally add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in about 2 or three batches. Mix until batter is uniform; it will look light brown and turn much darker in the oven as it bakes.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack and wrap with plastic wrap until you're ready to frost and serve cake.
For the frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
In the bowl of a standing mixer, sift the powdered sugar. Cream the soft butter into the sugar until fully mixed. Add the sour cream, cocoa powder, pinch of salt and vanilla and mix on medium speed until uniform in color. Taste and sweeten if you like by adding a little more powdered sugar (I like my frosting not too sweet).
To assemble the cake:
Use a few strips of wax paper to line a cake stand or plate. Frost generously between the two layers and the exterior; I just used a spoon and made simple swirls. Garnish with crushed pistachios and cocoa powder, if desired. Serve immediately.


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