1cupchopped pecansoptional (My dad doesn't wear his false teeth, so I couldn't add nuts to his birthday cake. If I were making this for anyone else, I'd put nuts in it, and the result would be wonderful.)
1/2cupbuttersoftened (use butter and only butter – don't try to substitute something here, not even margarine)
Whisk the cake mix and pudding together in a large bowl. I used my big stand mixer for this part, but you could do it by hand or with a handheld mixer if you are so inclined.
Add sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and water. Mix well. It will be very stiff, like brownie batter.
Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans to distribute throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into a well-greased bundt pan. (I used butter-flavored cooking spray to make my pan well-greased. It's the easy way.)
Bake for 55-60 minutes. (This cake is testy. I checked it at 50 minutes, and it was gelatinous, hardly set up at all. I put Allie to bed and came back at 60 minutes, and the edges were beginning to blacken and the top was slightly burned. Once the amazing frosting was on it, you couldn't taste the burned parts, but I knew they were there.)
Cool the cake for a half hour or so in the pan, then invert onto a platter or pretty plate.
FROSTING: Cream the butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Add milk until the frosting is thin enough to spread easily. You may add more or less than 1/2 cup. Taste the frosting! Mine was a little too bitter, so I added extra powdered sugar and mixed it longer.
While the cake was cooling, I washed my stand mixer's bowl and whisk attachment. I needed them for the frosting. As above, you could do this by hand or with a hand mixer, but it will not be fun.