Perfect Chocolate Cake
"The only thing low about the fat in this
recipe is where that fat hangs after you eat it." 

1 cup cocoa

2 cups boiling water

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 ? cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until smooth; set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat at high speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy -- about five minutes. Slow the mixer to low speed. Add dry ingredients and cocoa mixture alternately to the to the egg and sugar mixture -- beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into three greased and floured nine-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans ten minutes. Remove the layers from the pans and cool completely.

Several personal notes about this recipe:

1. This cake batter will be more "watery" than the cake mixes from those dis-gusting cardboard boxes.

2. It will be taller than the cakes from the boxes. In fact I say it is "half knee high."

3. As you begin to ice this cake, place the first layer upside down on the plate, then put the second and third layers right side up. This cake is so tall, so moist, and the tops of each layer are so "rounded" that the top layer tends to split or crack open if you do not assemble it like this.

4. I always cheat and buy two cans of that "slick" caramel pecan icing from the grocery store. The problem with this cake is that it is so tall that the top layers tend to slide off the lower layers, especially when the room temperatures are high in summer. The best icing/ filling would be something that hardens to some degree -- like the old chocolate icing recipe from the side of Hershey's Cocoa cans. But I will include the icing and filling recipes that came from the recipes in The Commercial Appeal.

Filling

1 cup whipping cream (no Cool Whip)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

Beat whipping cream and vanilla until foamy; gradually adding powdered sugar, beating until peaks hold their shape. Chill.

Frosting

1 package (6 oz.) Semisweet chocolate morsels

About 1/2 cup half-and-half

3/4 cup butter

2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Combine chocolate morsels, half-and half, and butter in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; add powdered sugar; mixing well. Set saucepan in ice and beat with mixer until frosting hold its shape and loses its gloss. Add a few more drops of half-and-half, if needed, to make spreading consistency.