Chocolate Birthday Cake
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Ingredients (all at room temperature)

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 C (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 C sugar
2 t vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk
1 1/4 C boiling water

To be sifted together:
2 C cake flour
6T cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two round 8-inch cake pans, cover the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, butter it lightly, and coat the pans lightly with cocoa or flour.

Chop the chocolate coarsely, then microwave for 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst. It took me only a minute, or less to get this amount of chocolate melted. This can also be done in a double boiler.


In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat very well for 5-10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the melted chocolate. Stir in half the dry mixture. Stir in the buttermilk. Stir in the rest of the dry mixture. Slowly, stir in the boiling water until it is just incorporated. Now you will have a smooth and glossy batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. Cool completely before frosting.