While trolling through cookbooks for an outstanding "second birthday cake" for my baby (the first having been the traditional marble cake), I came across a recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Cake in my new old Fannie Farmer Cookbook. There are tons and more tons of new cookbooks out there filling specialty niches, but I'm convinced that the old fashioned (preferably 1950s to 1970s) compilations of recipes for all manner of foods remain the best. This recipe, even with my adaptations, proves me right.
CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK CAKE
1-2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp buttermilk powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Stir together all of the dry ingredients. Beat in all of the wet ingredients. Beat 2 minutes. Pour into a greased 9x12 pan, and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 28 to 32 minutes. Frost with buttercream frosting, or whatever else floats your boat.
Of course, if you have real buttermilk, use it in place of the water and omit the buttermilk powder. I don't have real buttermilk, and no way to get it from my milkman or restaurant supply house. But if you don't believe me that this worked wonderfully, let me quote Patrick, my nearly 25 year old who is pathetically indifferent to food on his best day:
"This has got to be, without a doubt, the best cake I've ever had."
And since this is, without a doubt, the worst cake picture I've ever seen, you'll have to take Patrick's word for it.