four homemade cakes

With the recession on everyone's mind, I’ve noticed that people are getting back to basics and enjoying the simple pleasures in life- like home cooked food. If you're a fan of the kitchen, how about baking a cake from scratch? It will save you money on party expenses and more importantly- it's fun! The time and effort is always well appreciated too. I love the cakes below for their simplicity of design, and because they work equally well for kids and adults.

{images & recipe from Martha Stewart}

Here is the recipe for the chocolate frosted cake. I’d like to try making it myself... it looks fairly easy and superindulgent. Apparently, there is no such thing as too much frosting!

Makes one 8-inch round layer cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups sifted cake flour, not self-rising
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk
Chocolate frosting (see below)

- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.
- Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.
- Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second cake layer, and spread with another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with third cake layer. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Serve.

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
Makes 6 cups

24 ounces Nestle semisweet chocolate morsels
4 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup

- Place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
- Stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large metal bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately.

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