Martha Stewart's chocolate buttermilk cake
Dearest friends, family and blog readers (Are there any of you left? ‘Cause I’m hearing an echo in here), let it be known that for me, baking, 0ffers a brief escape.

If I bake you something, it’s because I am inspired to use my hands, or perhaps it’s because I need a break from the hard news that comprises my day-to-day life as a journalist, or because it’s simply because I love you.

No, I don’t have more time than you. In fact, I probably have less time than you. And that will be the case until my two boys are a bit older. So for me to fit in a cake or cookies, or cupcakes, I had to give up some much-needed sleep or some precious TV time. So just say thank you, and bask in the fact that I have special feelings for you.

With that said, I bring to you this delectable recipe for Martha Stewart’s buttermilk cake with chocolate frosting. I made this a while back when I had some family over to celebrate my husband’s milestone birthday. I gave him the choice of a few different recipes but this is the one he chose, from one of my tried-and-true Martha Stewart cookbooks.

I can’t find the Martha Stewart recipe online, but this one comes close. Instead of cake flour however, I used regular all-purpose flour. Also, Martha Stewart’s recipe called for slightly less vanilla extract but I think you can rely on your own taste buds to make the call. I like to err on the side of more vanilla extract, but that’s just me.

After I sampled the rich chocolate frosting I made following Martha’s recipe from the book, however, I really thought the salt content was much too high. Now that I am hunting for the recipe online, I can see I was not the only one to think so. So, try another favourite chocolate frosting recipe instead. Maybe even this one

While the frosting recipe I tried would have been perfect without that much salt, in hindsight I also think it would have made the cake a lot more attractive had I used a frosting that was smoother and not quite as porous as you see in the picture. That said, my husband didn’t notice a thing. He was quite happy.

Substitutions: I think I’ve made it crystal clear what I would substitute. Just don’t skip the white non-pareils if possible. I think they add that extra touch that takes this cake from looking like something that came out of a box, to something you took a little bit of extra time with.

Would I make this again? The cake, yes, the frosting no. Or yes to the frosting without the salt….

Grade: Three stars out of five. It was delicious, despite the unnecessary salt, but I prefer a bit of extra WOW-factor in my birthday cakes. And this was maybe just a lowercase wow. Something I’d like to see on the counter of my favourite diner, rather than the coda to a fancy dinner.