- 3/4 cup (170 g) of unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (64 g) of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (90 g) of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.4 g) of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.2 g) of baking powder
- 1 cup (225 g) of granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup (120 mL) of buttermilk or sour cream
2 Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and grease and flour the cake pan. You can use a round standard cake pan, a square baking dish, a loaf pan, a bundt cake pan, or whatever you have on hand. Make sure to grease it well with butter or margarine so the cake won’t stick to the pan when it’s baked. After you grease the pan, add a light, even layer of flour to it.
3 Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Place the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and buttermilk in a bowl. Use a hand or stand mixer to blend the ingredients well.
- The “wet ingredients” in cake recipes are generally those that have moisture. Sugar is often listed as a wet ingredient, too, even though it isn’t actually wet.
- The wet ingredients are usually mixed first in a large bowl. The dry ingredients are mixed separately and added later.
- It’s important to follow instructions regarding the texture of the butter in cake recipes. If you use melted butter where softened butter is called for, the cake could come out flat. In this case the recipe calls for softened butter. You can plan ahead by setting the butter out while you get the rest of the ingredients ready, so it has time to come to room temperature.
4 Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir them together until they are well incorporated.
5 Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly. Beat the mixture on low until the batter comes together and no white bits of flour remain.
6 Pour the batter into the cake pan. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl so every bit of batter makes it into the pan.
7 Put the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 30 minutes. You may want to put the cake pan on a baking sheet in case any of the batter spills over. Rotate the cake 180 degrees halfway through the bake time to ensure it cooks evenly. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, rather than coated with batter.
- Check the cake’s progress every so often to make sure it doesn’t burn. However, you should do this through the oven window instead of opening the oven door, which reduces the temperature inside the oven and can increase the bake time.
8 Take the cake from the oven and let it cool. Set it on a cooling rack and let it cool for about 5 minutes before handling it.
9 Invert the cake onto a plate. Use whatever plate you’re planning on using to serve the cake.
10 Let the cake cool completely before frosting it. If you try to add frosting to the cake while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt and run off the sides.