Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
3 cups self-rising flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
a good pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup sunflower oil
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus extra to decorate (or you can use shaved chocolate for a more elegant look)
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup milk (whole milk works best for baking but 2% will work if you have it!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cake, sift the flour, cocoa, salt, and sugar into a large bowl, and make a hollow in the center. Pour the oil, beaten eggs, milk, and vanilla into the hollow in the dry ingredients - mix gradually with a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips and stir well. Divide the mixture between the 3 prepared pans (use 3 pans that are each 8 or 9 inches in diameter - grease the bottoms and line with parchment paper).
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, the carefully invert onto a wire rack and let cook completely.
Meanwhile, to make the frosting, put the soft butter in a bowl and use a wooden spoon or electric mixer to beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the confections' sugar, cocoa, milk, and vanilla to make a thick, smooth frosting.
When the cakes are completely cold, use the frosting to layer them. Spread about one-sixth of the frosting on the top of one cake. Gently set a second cake on top and spread with another one-sixth of the frosting. Top with the last cake, then coat the top and sides with the rest of the frosting. Decorate with extra chocolate chips.
Store in an airtight container and eat within 4 days.
(Image from MarthaStewart.com)