After a long hard battle competing against the mighty boxed cake, I have finally done it.  I made a cake that I think actually tastes better than my husband's favorite (and frequently requested...) cake from a boxed mix.  Why bother?  It totally bugs me that he has liked the boxed mix rather than my 'from scratch' chocolate cakes.  It is the same reason I continually make cookies other than is favorite chocolate chip.  Plain and simple pride. 

He has confirmed that he indeed likes this cake better.  I win.  It might have to do with the fact that Emma helped me make it... she's got his number!  So, I guess... we win.

I was inspired by Tessa from Nine and Sixteen - I used her "Love Me Forever Chocolate Cake" recipe as a starting place and added a couple of twists like using a hot cup of coffee instead of boiling water.  I also used melted butter instead of oil.  Not sure why, just thought melted butter would add great flavor.  Thanks for the inspiration, Tessa!

This recipe makes half a normal sized cake.  I am big into halving recipes - there are only two of us after all, and someone is going to be eating the cake until the platter is clean.  That someone is me, so I like to move the finish line a little closer to avoid having to buy new clothes. 

A Very Good Chocolate Cake
that's better than the box

1 cup sugar
7/8 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of hot coffee

In a mixer, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add egg, milk and melted butter.  Mix on low until combined.  Add vanilla and hot coffee.  Beat for 1 minute on medium high.

Line a 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper, or spray it with non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool.  Frost with Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1 1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of good vanilla

In a microwave safe bowl, heat butter and milk together in the microwave until the butter is melted, about 45 seconds.  Add cocoa and stir to mix.  Pour mixture into mixer bowl.

Add pinch of salt, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Mix together on high for 3-4 minutes until shiny.

Here are some more step-by-step photos of my process: