Classic American Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/3 cups water
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
Maraschino cherries (optional)
Glossy Buttercream Frosting

Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two round pans, 9x1/2 inches. In large mixer bowl combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with water to creamed mixture. Blend just until combined; pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely; frost with Glossy Buttercream Frosting. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and maraschino cherries, if desired.

Glossy Buttercream Frosting:
In small mixer bowl cream 6 tablespoons softened butter or margarine; add 2-2/3 cups confectioner's sugar and 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa alternately with 1/3 cup milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed).

About 2 cups frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes:
Fill paper-lined muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes Cool; frost.

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cupcakes.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana