I am part of a growing number of people who are concerned when we cannot pronounce all the ingredients in the food items that we buy. Dextri-what? Monoglu-who? What is this stuff, really? Clearly not food, which is ironic, because it is certainly sold as such. So when my friend Liz asked me to host her birthday party and make her a cake as my present to her, I shuddered at the thought of a store-bought mix and store-bought icing (although, as I confessed here, sometimes Betty Crocker is tough to beat!). I was pressed for time and lamented to my mom that I wasn’t sure how I’d clean house for the party AND make enough cake or cupcakes to feed 30+ guests. My mom, practical to the core, suggested that I cave and bow to Betty. I refused to pass up the opportunity to make my own cake and frosting, though, so I decided to do a little experiment. I would offer two cake and frosting options – one made from scratch and one made from a box.
The scratch cake was definitely nothing to rave about, so I’ll have to continue my search for a great yellow cake recipe (got one? email it to me at dishingthedivine<at>gmail.com!). But the frosting… oh the frosting.
Decadent, rich, delicious, chocolate frosting. This is so far superior to the stuff in the can and it took less than 5 minutes to make and clean up. And a five year old could easily pronounce all the ingredients on this list. Take that, Betty Crocker!
foolproof chocolate frosting
(from Cook’s Illustrated – once again, they’ve perfected something delicious)
20 tbsp (2 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature (65 degrees)
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup Dutch Processed cocoa powder
pinch table salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (I used semi sweet, but Cook’s Illustrated recommends milk chocolate)
In a food processor, process butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10-15 seconds.
This frosting will store at room temperature for about three hours. If you need it to last longer than that, refrigerate it and let it come to room temperature about one hour before serving it.