Everyone deserves a celebration on his or her life anniversary – preferably one that involves birthday cake (or birthday pie if that’s your thing). Last week, we celebrated one of my oldest and best friend’s start of another year. She’s beautiful and funny, smart and reliable; I’m always in good hands with her :) And possibly most importantly, she really appreciates a good dessert – which happens to make my home one of the best test kitchens around.
This year, I think I may have achieved one of the best cakes I’ve ever made (currently in competition with this one) but definitely the best I’ve ever decorated. I don’t want to brag, but I’m gonna: I may have had a few people ask where I bought the cake :D (…one of the ways to my heart – right up there with a native French speaker asking where in France I’m from. Yesssss.)
This all comes back to my deep love for making people happy with food. (Ya know, I almost titled this blog “The Way to Your Heart”…is through your stomach – everyone knows that proverb, right??) And I think after an amazing brunch spread and then this cake, everyone was really really happy. The Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar may have helped, but hey, why not?! It’s a birthday brunch! Go ahead and have another – no one’s judging.
Seriously though, this cake is meshuga-good; it’s bonkers-delicious; it’s the best darned chocolate cake you’ll ever have. It brings together the perfect combination of chocolate and coffee in both the cake and the icing, oh, and it is the most perfectly moist cake I’ve ever made. Don’t freak out like I did: the cake “batter” is like a thin soup! You’ll be tempted to add probably another cup of flour to make it a normal consistency, but don’t do it! Trust. Set the timer a little under the total time and check on it to make sure you get it out right when it’s done. Do this long enough, and you’ll start to develop a nose for these things. Or is that just me? 45 seconds before the timer goes off, “it’s done!!” Does that make me a sort of kitchen bloodhound? That sounds really attractive.
I digress. Cake = divine. Don’t over-bake it! Frost it with purpose. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Here’s what I did:
Double Coffee Chocolate Cake
*recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten
Preheat the oven to 350.
Slowly mix together in the bowl of a stand mixer:
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 c. sugar
-1 c. light brown sugar
-3/4 cups good cocoa powder
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
In another bowl, combine:
-1 c buttermilk
-½ c. vegetable oil
-2 large eggs, at room temp
-1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Then stir in:
-1 c. freshly brewed hot coffee
Divide the batter into two buttered and floured 8-inch cake pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Cool the cakes in the pan for about 20 minutes, and then turn them out onto a cooling rack.
Coffee Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Melt in a glass bowl in the microwave 20 seconds at a time stirring between heating until melted:
-6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes):
-2 sticks butter, at room temp
Add in and continue to beat for another 3 minutes:
-1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
Slowly beat in:
-1 ¾ c. confectioners’ sugar
Dissolve together and add to the frosting mixture:
-2 tsp. hot water
-1 ½ Tbs. instant espresso powder
Spread on your cooled cakes, decorate with piping bags if you have them, and enjoy!
French phrase for fun:
J’adore décorer les gâteaux d’anniversaire.
I love decorating birthday cakes.