Here's how you do it (recipe is tweaked from the Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition):
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit and butter a 9" x 13" pyrex dish
What you'll need:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 c sunflower oil (organic, preferably)
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1/2 c cocoa powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c buttermilk or a yogurt and milk combination
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
melt together the water, oil, butter and cocoa. Mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar. Pour butter mixture into the flour and mix until just incorporated and then add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into your prepared dish and place in the oven for about 25mins (mine usually needs 30 mins) until a toothpick comes out clean.
Now check out this pic:
If that doesn't make every icing lover weak at the knees, then I don't know what will.
You have 2 choices here and I will give them both. What's pictured above does not use icing sugar and here is how you do it:
Bring a cup of cream to the boil and break up 6oz of unsweetened chocolate into it. Let stand for 10 mins (exactly!). pour into a food processor with 1.5 cups sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and 3/4 stick of butter (95g). Whizz up for at least a minute until it's smoooooth and glossy. Pour it over your cake and check out your reflection in it!
This second recipe is less beautifully glossy but it's really good too and my husband says he actually prefers it.
Melt 6 oz semi sweet choc chips and 6 Tbs butter together over a double boiler (over? in? how does one describe this?!). add 1/4 c hot cream, 2 tsp vanilla and then beat in 4 cups sifted icing sugar. This makes a LOT of icing. It's pretty sweet. And good too.
Let me know which one you prefer. I'm off to have some cake now.