Chocolate Chocolate Cake

Honestly, I don’t bake cakes much, but this time of year is an exception to that rule.  My husband and I have birthdays just 5 days apart and my grandfather’s birthday falls 6 days after Jeff’s.  The week of our birthdays is lovingly referred to as “Cake Week”, or in my head “You-Better-Save-Your-Calories-and-Walk-Every-Day-If-You-Don’t-Want-To-Gain-Five-Pounds” week.  Seriously, we are two blessed and loved individuals and the partying can go on for days before and after.  Usually there are at least 4 cakes that we partake of that week, this time wasn’t so bad as we’re trying to hold things down a bit.  We hit 35 this year and the multiple-parties thing just isn’t feeling so necessary anymore.  To bring everyone together at one time for Jeff’s birthday, I planned a big Pork Extravaganza and invited friends and family all at once.

The star of the show was Tyler Florence’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Chili-Coconut Sauce and it was truly a treat to eat.  My photos of that came out looking very, very blah, so I’ll share that one by link only.  There were also grilled pork sausages, broccoli salad, potato salad and fresh watermelon to round out the meal.

Since I assumed the tenderloin would be amazing, I knew that the cake had to follow strong.  I’ve long been a fan of Ina Garten.  I love her simple yet sophisticated cooking.  I think it would be awesome to go to her house, since it seems she’s always having a party.  And if there’s one thing I love, it’s planning and throwing a party.

I’m cheap. I don’t often purchase cookbooks.  I mostly check them out at the library and then scan the recipes that I want to use.  Last week I buried myself in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa At Home and How Easy Was That? and came up with a slew of great recipes to try – one in particular was the well-timed finding of this chocolate cake for my husband’s party.

The secret ingredients in both the cake and frosting are coffee.  Jeff and I are pretty crazy about our coffee.  But when you eat it, it doesn’t taste like coffee, but like a SUPER smooth, moist and seriously chocolate-y cake, which I love.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake (from Barefoot Contessa At Home)

Printable recipe

– INGREDIENTS –

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

– PREPARATION –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

1.  Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.

2.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

3.  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 cooling rack and cool completely.

4.  Place 1 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.

Chocolate Frosting

– INGREDIENTS –

  • 6 ounces good 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

– PREPARATION –

1.  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, 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 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.

3.  Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

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