For the last cake of 2013, I bring you an old-fashioned (think 1945) three-layer chocolate cake, attributed to "Grandma" on the vintage recipe card. And a little lesson on living in the moment, just added to my growing list of New Year's resolutions. For in the midst of mixing the batter, I glanced at the recipe card title, Chocolate Cake, and then at the very vanilla batter in the bowl. Holy cow! I forgot to add the chocolate! Luckily, it wasn't too late and I spooned it in, several steps behind the instructions.
Speaking of the chocolate, it should always be melted in a double boiler, but not to worry if you don't have one, as I don't. Simply create your own by placing a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
This cake batter is quite thick, so...
using an offset spatula, or even the back of a spoon, smooth it out before placing the pans in the oven.
Pull the cakes from the oven and let them cool on a rack for about ten minutes before turning them out.
Like many cakes, these formed a dome. You don't want a dome when stacking cakes so, using a serrated knife place horizontally, just slice off the dome. Then, the baker can have a taste or two, for quality control purposes.
The layers, frosted.
Production notes: I used unsalted butter in place of the shortening, and did not add the 1/2 cup of water, since the instructions didn't say how or when to add it. I used sweet (regular) milk and not sour (buttermilk). For the frosting, I used 8 tablespoons of butter and increased the cocoa powder and hot water a bit, but you'll have enough frosting if you following the amounts listed on the card.