Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

The best reason to bake is to bake for someone else.  My best
friend Maddy had a birthday coming up and of course I planned to make
something special.  I chose to make a 3-layer chocolate sour cream cake, because
chocolate is her favorite. For the frosting, I made brown sugar maple to give a
little surprise.

I decorated it with pastel dragées and bunting I made from masking tape, yarn and chopsticks.

Ingredients:
FOR CAKE
 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 cup boiling water
 1 cup butter
 2 1/2 cups sugar
 4 eggs
 3 cups flour
 6 T cornstarch
 2 t baking soda
 1/2 t baking powder
 1 cup sour cream

FOR FROSTING
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup butter
4 T milk (optional)

Preheat over to 350°

1. Dissolve cocoa in water.
2. In a bowl combine butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
3. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add mixture into butter mix.
4. Add sour cream.
5. Pour evenly into 3 greased and floured 9″ round cake pans
6. Bake for 30-40 mins at 350°

While cake is baking, make the frosting
1. Beat butter until smooth.
2. Add brown sugar and 2 cups of powdered sugar to butter and mix until combined.
3. Add maple syrup and 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar if necessary. To thin the frosting add the milk 1 T at a time.

When the cake is done, cool, then refrigerator for 1 hour. Then frost.

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How to soften brown sugar

Have you ever wanted to bake some chocolate cookies at 2am, then realize that your brown sugar is hard and unusable?  It has happened to me, and I almost broke the hearts of friends who were waiting for them. But then I figured there is probably a way to fix the situation, and there is.
The reason why the sugar hardens is because it loses its moisture, so you have to put it back in.  There are two easy methods that I will explain below

Microwave method:
place a bowl of water in the microwave next to a bowl or plate of brown sugar. first microwave it for 1 minute, then at 30 second intervals until it is soft

Stove top method:
boil a pot of water and hold the sugar over the pot so it absorbs the steam.

When your sugar begins to soften, crumble it with your fingers and pack it into your measuring cup.

So, no more running to the store when you have your oven pre-heating!

xxG