Melt chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until smooth, remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in two 12-cup muffin tins and one 6-cup muffin tin.
Stir flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in chocolate. On low speed, beat in 1/3 of dry ingredients, then half of milk. Repeat, ending with last third of dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on wire racks for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on racks.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch cake pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Using your mixer, beat the dry ingredients for a moment or two. Many times the Butter Cake mix will clump together and you might have to over mix the batter before you can get all of the ingredients properly combined.
In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and gently stir to combine. Add the combined wet ingredients and beat on low for 2 minutes. Stop, scrape the bowl, and continue beating for another 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Tip the pan from side to side so that the batter leaves a “Ring around the Pan.” I like to go about ¾ of the way up the side of the pan. Don’t forget the corners! By doing this, the batter will have a head start with the rising process and you will get a taller cake.
Place the cake pan on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 32 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
NOTE: If the top of the cake has a dome, immediately place a clean folded tea towel on the cake and press down to flatten the dome top. Please be careful because the cake and the pan will be hot. After about 10 minutes, turn the cake out of the pan onto the cooling rack. Cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare your cake board. I purchased a 14 x 19-inch cake board at my local craft store and cut off, with a razor knife, 3 1/2 inches. The finished board is 14 x 15 1/2 inches and covered in aluminum foil. You don’t need to cut the board at all, I just felt that it had a better look.
Take your Buttercream Icing out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for easier piping.
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
I hope you will have a fun, safe celebration with your family and friends!