This month marks the first year anniversary of my blog. It is also my husband's birthday month. So, in celebration of FSK turning 1 and him turning 31, I baked my first ever special-event cake filled with chocolate-y richness with a hint of coffee in the icing (to keep us all awake well past midnight! :) )
I had been planning this cake for a few weeks. You see, this was the first cake that I was attempting with all the trimmings and decorations (rudimentary as they may be..). I needed just the right recipe; decadent for the occasion yet easy enough (esp. frosting) so, I could not mess up on the first try. The last thing I would want is, after all those hours, come 12' o, I have nothing to bring out with the candles.
The recipe I settled on was Ina Garten's Beatty's chocolate cake. I made it as a one cake pan multi-layer cake. It was a lovely, moist cake with a supremely rich, buttery chocolate-coffee buttercream frosting. The buttercream frosting is easy to make and work with. It really was fun working with the piping bag and I used a large star tip for the decorating. Not a bad job for the first time eh?! Except for the spacing issue, I am rather proud of my artistic skills and steady hands! ;-)
The only drawback of the cake was that the frosting was a wee bit too rich for us; all that butter after all. So, next time I am going to try a whipped cream based icing or perhaps something with meringue... Hmmmm.....
Meanwhile, three cheers to FSK and hubby, the stars of the show (although, I would argue it was my cake!). Wish you both a fantastic year ahead filled with new adventures, journeys and many more delicious cakes! Hic.. Hic.. Hurray!! :)
Note: As I was baking I noticed a couple of things which for some reason, my brain did not register until after it was too late! For one, Ina's mentions 2 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of baking powder in the recipe. The baking soda was a bit too much and it made the cake wet and sink in the middle (result of rising too much too fast). Next time I make this cake, I will adjust to 1 teaspoon of each.
Also, I have only one 8 inch cake pan. So I just poured all of the batter in one pan. Once the cake completely cools down, you can carefully cut the cake horizontally into two using a large cake knife or as I did, with a long piece of floss (whoever knew the versatality of common dental floss, eh!!)
Two Layer Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Cake
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken (not stirred, mind you!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 heaped tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup hot water
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8 inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Using a hand mixer (or if you one of those lucky one with a Kitchenaid stand-mixer, mix with paddle attachment on slow) slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Dissolve the instant coffee in the cup of hot water. You can also substitute with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.
With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom to evenly mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place the cooled cake on an even surface and make a 1 inch cut all around the cake marking the thickness of the layers. With a long piece of floss string gently slice the cake into two horizontally.
Place the top of the cake, cut side up (upside down), on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or icing spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, cut face down and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
Spoon the remaining frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Make whatever decorations catches your fancy and cooperates with your skill.
To make the frosting:
Chop the chocolate into small piece and place it in a double boiler. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. In another bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 more minutes.
Turn the mixer to low and 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 2 teaspoons of hot water. On low speed, add chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.