Chocolate Birthday Cake

1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines
1 c. water
3 eggs
1/3 c. corn oil (I used Canola)
1/3 c. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Icing (could be halved)
1 12 oz. bag (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 c. sugar
2/3 c. milk
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º F. Butter 3 non-stick 8-inch cake pans with 1 1/2 inch sides.

To make the cake
Combine the cake mix, water, eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer. Beat on low speed until the mixture is well blended. Increase the speed to medium if using a stand mixer (high for a hand mixer) and beat for 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a knife/toothpick inserted into the cneter of the cakes come out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on the racks.
Or just pour the batter in a 9×13 and cook for about 28-30 minutes.

To Make The Icing
Put the chocolate chips n the metal bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer. Combine the sugar, milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil vigorously for exactly 1 minute. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the chocolate. Add the vanilla. Beat on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken to a spreadable consistency, 10 – 15 minutes. (I turne don my Bosch and let it do the work!)

To assemble (If used the 3 cake pans) place 1 cake, flat side up, on a platter. Spread 1/3 of the icing (about 3/4 c.) over the top of the cake. Top with the second cake, flat side up, and spread 1/3 of the icing (about 3/4 c.) over the top. Top with the third cake, , flat side up, and spread a thin layer of the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake.

Alternative (White) Icing

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 t. vanilla
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk
Makes about 2 1/4 cups of icing.
In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

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