Wednesday, February 23, 2011

baked!: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream

say hello to a new series on this little blog o' mine: baked! as you probably know if you've been reading this blog for a little while -- and as you definitely know if you're my pal in real life --  i love baking. like, to the point where i often say that if i didn't love being a writer/editor so much, i'd be driving around sarasota in a cupcake truck, selling pastries. seriously.

that's why i'm introducing this new series -- i bake enough to warrant it, and i love sharing what i make with my friends. this allows me to do that virtually with all of you. like scenes from sarasota, i'm hoping this will become a weekly thing, but regardless, you'll definitely be able expect a baked! post at least twice a month.

so, all that being said, herewith my first official baked! blog post: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

i am a firm believer that we should all have a chocolate cake in our baking repertoire: a moist, chocolate layer cake complete with a generous amount of frosting. my mom used to make chocolate cakes for my birthday when i was growing up, and to this day, it's still my go-to cake choice -- you could say it has sentimental value. i like it simple -- no fruit/special filling -- and iced with good buttercream. and while i usually go for vanilla buttercream, this recipe's chocolate version is a total winner. all in all, this cake feels like comfort -- like a dessert you can bring to a party and like a dessert you can sit on your sofa with a movie and a glass of wine with. those are the best kind, aren't they?

chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting
barely adapted from ina garten

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder (like ghirardelli)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder*
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh-brewed hot coffee

for the frosting
6 oz. semisweet chocolate (again, like ghirardelli)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder

make the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. butter 2 round cake pans. line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. mix on low speed until combined. in a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. with the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. with mixer still on low speed, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. with a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

make the frosting: chop the chocolate and place it into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. stir until just melted; set aside until cooled to room temperature.

in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about three minutes. add the egg yolk and vanilla, and continue beating for three minutes. turn the mixer to low, 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 two teaspoons of the hottest possible tap water. on low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended, but don't whip. spread frosting immediately on the cooled cake.

*i should note that i had a glass (ok, or two) of wine before making this cake and accidentally omitted the teaspoon of baking powder -- but everything still turned out great.

photo by me. i'm not the best cake froster, but this one is supposed to look homemade. 


  1. YUMMY! I've been craving a big cake for two days. This did not help.

  2. oh, jane, i was craving it, too -- i made this for a party, but my motives were obviously a little selfish. ;) cake is the best. and also a fun word to type/say.