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      RECIPE TITLE "Deeply Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting"
    recipe excerpted from The Cake Mix Doctor. Copyright (c) 1999 by Anne Byrn.

    yieldsserves 16 time preparation time: 10 minutes; baking time: 28 to 30 minutes; assembly Time: 20 minutesdifficultyeasy

    The only thing more delicious than one slice of this cake is a second slice of this cake. But fear not! Only the frosting is a calorie-buster. The rich almond-scented cake is made with buttermilk, vegetable oil, and just three eggs. Bake it a day ahead of serving so the flavors have time to meld.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans
    Flour for dusting the pans
    1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    1/3 cup water
    1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower
    3 large eggs
    1 teaspoon pure almond extract
    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (see below), made with pure almond extract

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.
    2. Heat the chopped chocolate and water in a small saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Set the pan aside to cool for 10 minutes.
    3. Place the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, almond extract, and melted chocolate mixture in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.
    4. Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger and just start to pull away from the sides of the pan, 28 to 30 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert them again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Cool completely, 30 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
    6. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.
    * Place this cake, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Cover the cake with waxed paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

    RX
    the Cake Doctor says...
    It's the unsweetened chocolate added to this cake mix that improves the flavor. For an even more intense chocolate flavor, dust the pans with unsweetened cocoa powder instead of flour.

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    I first tasted a chocolate cream cheese frosting at the Tennessee State Fair about five years ago. It was a revelation-chocolate and cream cheese were natural partners! Since then, I flavor this frosting with pure almond extract if I'm making a chocolate almond cake or with pure vanilla extract for a buttermilk devil's food cake, a yellow layer cake, or brownies.

    yieldsmakes 4 cups, enough to frost a 2- or 3-layer caketime preparation time: 10 minutesdifficultyeasy

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese,
    at room temperature
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room
    temperature
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon pure almond extract or pure vanilla extract
    4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the cocoa powder, extract, and confectioners' sugar and blend with the mixer on low speed until the ingredients are moistened, 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 2 minutes more.
    2. Use at once to frost the top and sides of the cake of your choice.

    RX
    the Cake Doctor says...
    When you fork into a cake that has been deliciously enrobed with this frosting, the cake world is your oyster. It's the one to always keep in mind.


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