In response to Patty's question, I did make the "towering" chocolate cake mentioned below. She asked how I made it, so here it my cheater "recipe" made up on the fly from stuff I already had:
1 devil's food cake, with 1/2 of the water called for replaced with milk and 1/2 cup chocolate chips added
1/2 recipe buttercream frosting with 1/4 cup toasted almonds added
3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
Make the cake in 2 layers and bake according to box directions. Remove from pans and chill for a few hours. While layers chill, make buttercream and ganache. Slice cakes laterally in half. Put buttercream/almond mixture in between the layers. Spread ganache on top and let it drizzle down the sides of the cake. If you want to spread it instead, add powdered sugar until it reaches spreading consistency (while mixing with hand mixer).
I had leftover ganache and my family was mad that I sent the remaining cake home with my friend who had the birthday (how could I?) so I made another cake, this time from the back of the Hershey's cocoa tin, and man, it's really good. Here's the recipe:
* 2 cups sugar
* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 cup boiling water
* "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.
"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.
By the way, I don't usually spend this much time baking. After that much time in the kitchen, I spent much of the next day catching up on "Reviews of new food" at the McSweeney's website.
I was laughing out loud like an insane person. Little warning: the reviewers occasionally find a spurious reason to put the f-word in their reviews, so watch out.