Preparation time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins plus cooling
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 12-14 servings
â€¢3/4 cup butter, softened
â€¢2 cups sugar
â€¢1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
â€¢3/4 cup baking cocoa
â€¢3/4 cup boiling water
â€¢1 cup buttermilk
â€¢2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
â€¢1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
â€¢1/2 teaspoon baking powder
â€¢1/2 teaspoon salt
â€¢1 carton (8 ounces) whipped cream cheese
â€¢1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
â€¢2 teaspoons vanilla extract
â€¢1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
â€¢Maraschino cherries and fresh mint, optional
â€¢In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in vanilla.
â€¢ In a bowl, whisk cocoa and water until smooth; stir in buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with cocoa mixture. Beat until smooth.
â€¢ Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
â€¢ For frosting, in a bowl, beat cream cheese until light. Add 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar; mix well. Add the vanilla, cream and remaining sugar; beat until frosting reaches desired consistency. Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate; spread with a third of the frosting. Repeat layers twice. Garnish with maraschino cherries and mint if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.