Friday, July 10, 2009

Flour, Butter, Sugar

and chocolate!

It had been a while since I baked. Even longer since I baked a cake. Truth be told, I couldn't even recall how many months ago I baked a cake. But when a certain special occasion came around, it couldn't be anything else. My list of recipes to try is long, but I had certain criteria for zooming in. It had to be round (go figure!), and the ingredients and equipment had to be all at home.

A simple classic chocolate cake made the cut. As a bonus, it comes from Ina Garten (you know I am a fan), and I had watched the show when she made it. She said she practically begged her friend Michael to give her the recipe, which is originally his grandmother's. Then she went on to make it as a surprise for him. How wonderful.

Chocolate Cake


I am so glad I chose it. The texture alone makes this cake recipe a keeper, and the taste is pretty darn good too. Of course, I had to make changes. This wasn't a big party, so I cut the recipe by half, and went for a single layer cake. And that frosting? Oh gosh. I cut it down to a fourth, and went for a thin spread to cut down on the fat. Still very good.

All I am saying is I have to make it again. Soon.

Chocolate Cake: Slice


I do not have an electric stand mixer, so here is the adapted recipe using a hand mixer.

Chocolate Cake


Butter, for greasing the pan
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 cup (scant) sugar
3/8 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee (warm)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for atleast 30 minutes, and then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Spread the frosting (recipe below) evenly on the cake.

For a richer, thicker coating, double the recipe. I don't think you will regret it.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1.5 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder


Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy. Add the vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in a few drops of hot tap water. Add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Here is a review of the same recipe from one of my favorite baker bloggers, which gave me further impetus to go for it.

Note to all who have commented on past posts. Thank you all. I have been reading them, and I appreciate each and every one of them and I do hope to respond to you. Probably soon, but don't hold me to it. I have been madly busy.
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