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Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

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Chocolate Cake
Inspired by many chocolate cake recipes I’ve used over the years … but adapted to my style!
 
 
1/2 cup cocoa powder  (http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/products/5/Cocoa.aspx)
1 packet of Via Instant Coffee from Starbuck’s   (http://www.starbucks.com/coffee/via)
1 cup of boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla 
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
Depending on the size of the cake, small with many layers or traditional eight or ten inch cake, you should first grease the pans well with softened butter. Since this is a chocolate cake, one trick I love is using a tablespoon of cocoa powder with a tablespoon of flour to sift over the butter. This helps the cake come out of the pan cleanly with no white powder residue!  
 
Next mix the cocoa and Starbuck’s instant coffee in small bowl.  Add the boiling water and stir until melted together. Stir the vanilla in. 
 
I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a batter paddle for the next steps. Put softened butter in the bowl and mix on medium until  it is smooth and shiny. Next add sugar, mixing until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth.
 
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda and salt. Now you integrate the two mixes. Start adding the dry ingredients—slowly!—to the butter mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture. A little at a time. This step takes patience and should be done with the mixer on slow. Keep alternating the ingredients until they are all mixed together. Be careful not to over mix this!  You should stop mixing as soon as they are all together. Then gently blend it by hand.
 
Pour into greased and prepared pans. Tap filled pans on counter to settle batter. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty-five to thirty-five minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into center of the cake and come out clean!
 
Run a knife around the sides of the pan. Gently flip cake onto rack to cool at room temperature.  Cool overnight or in the refrigerator prior to frosting.
 
 
Peanut Butter Frosting
I use a traditional butter cream frosting but add crunchy or creamy unsalted peanut butter to the frosting with a dash or two of table salt. It’s sweet and salty and de-licious!

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