From time to time, I’ll get a strong craving for a really good piece of chocolate cake. And I’ll get really desperate and find myself scouring the web for “the best chocolate cake in Chicago,” stomach growling and all. And I know I’m
not alone when I do this. We all do this…
Well I can easily search for about hour or so when I get like that and you know what comes up, right at the top of my search, every time (because yes, I do this every time, hoping to Google there will be something new)? Portillo’s mayonnaise chocolate cake. Ugh.
Mayo? Is that really the best you’ve got, Chi-town? Mayo cake from Portillo’s? Whatever, although I’m fully aware that mayo is essentially a mixture of eggs and oil and cake recipes call for eggs and oil, it’s a big ol’ “na-uh” from me. So guys, no need to worry. I promise, I’m NOT giving you a mayo cake recipe.
I’m just a bit bewildered because there really should be a better quality chocolate cake that also tastes awesome in a big city like Chicago, right? Right? One would hope. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere—and no offense to any Portillo’s mayo cake lovers—but after a bunch of failed attempts at trying to find the perfect chocolate cake, I set out to satisfy my craving from within the walls of my own little kitchen here in Chicago and after some research and testing, I got it!
It’s been gotten!!
Cue the symphony because this cake is the bee’s knees, and all that sweet nectar that’s stuck to those cute little knees too.
Imagine the best slice of chocolate cake, right now in your head. Is it rich and fluffy at the same time? Is it super soft and super moist? Fudgy, chocolate-y, yummy, extraordinary? Mhmm. I’m telling you guys, this is honestly… honestly that cake. For years I have been eating the wrong chocolate cakes that never really satisfied my chocolate cake cravings. Outrageous and shameful!
But you know what? I am just fine with that because now I get to eat the best chocolate cake ever, whenever I please. Yes, truly, the very best.
The frosting on this cake—it’s the good kind. Not that stiff, poor quality type of “buttercream.” You know what I’m talking about. When you touch it, the frosting doesn’t push or stick, it just crumbles and breaks. Or it simply doesn’t taste like the sweet, heavenly love of chocolate. Yeah, this frosting ain’t that. It’s the good kind. The real good kind.
And what I love is that frosting aside, the cake itself is just really delicious and this means you don’t get a chocolate cake that tastes OK because there’s some good frosting to mask the whatever cake part that’s underneath. But you actually get the perfect chocolate cake matched with the most perfect chocolate frosting. How many times have I used “perfect” to describe this cake? Who really cares when a cake deserves it though, right?
Oh! And it’s a cinch to make. Because if you can make something simple, why wouldn’t you? Life and all its goodness should be simple. And if it’s amazingly yummy to boot, then let’s just call it a day. A chocolate cake day!
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 full tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil (or canola oil)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¾ stick butter, just barely melted
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup whole milk (if you want it even softer, add up to ⅔ cup in total)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350º F (176ºC).
- Thoroughly spray two 9-inch round cake pans with a non-stick cooking spray. Optional: You could also lightly dust pans with some cocoa powder and flour after greasing them to doubly ensure the cake won't stick at all (a mixture of about 1 tbsp each, and don't forget to get rid of the excess by tapping out the pan).
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl, combine and mix on low speed. Don’t overmix.
- Add water and mix again to combine it all together. Don’t overmix. Don’t worry, the batter will be thin.
- Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 25 min or just until a toothpick/fork poked into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing cakes from the pans.
- In a medium bowl, stir together softened/melted butter and cocoa.
- Add milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat well to combine.