Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chocolate Cake

9 days. Wow. One can do a lot in 9 days - blogging didn't seem to be one of them. Cooking? Yes. Blogging - no. I also didn't have time to watch Friday Night Lights, Glee, 30 Rock or Ellen this week - so I will use that as proof that I had a busy week.

We all had a favorite book while growing up. Mine was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I read it more times than I can count. This could possibly be the reason I have a limited list of books that I have actually read - as when I find one I really like - I seem to read it over and over again. Growing up, I also went through a weird phase of only reading Matt Christopher books. I probably checked every single one out of the library - twice - and would read them front to back in no time. If you aren't familiar with Matt Christopher, he writes sports books for kids - that were probably intended more for boys than girls - but I read them anyway. This was also the time when I owned at least 10 St. Louis Cardinals shirts and idolized Ozzie Smith.

I also enjoyed checking out the books that taught you how to draw using a step by step, one line at a time process. I have no idea why I liked those books - and they didn't teach me how to draw at all. I would actually skip the step by step process and just trace the final picture at the bottom of the page. Now that I think of it, the lack of patience that I have, obviously started at a young age.

I'm sure you are wondering how the book Matilda is going to fit in with this blog post? If you have read the book, Miss Trunchbull makes Bruce Bogtrotter eat the whole chocolate cake that she believed he stole from her. Dahl painfully describes Bruce mustering through the whole cake, on stage, in front of the entire school, at an assembly. It's painful really. This cake however, unlike the last time I attempted to make chocolate cake, is not painful. I would consider this a successful 2010 Valentine's Day Re-do.

I went tride and true this time around. I didn't use small, fru fru-type pans, and I stayed exactly on track with the recipe. I wasn't rushed, pressed for time, or under any sort of pressure. I take that back. I was under pressure. Andy was convinced that this chocolate cake would not turn out - and how could I call myself a foody and make a disaster out of a chocolate cake recipe 2 times in a row? That is pressure.

I only had one small minor panic attack. While I was making the batter, I found it to be extremely liquidy. It was to the point where you could have easily drank the batter through a straw. In my slight panic, I called Kristen - who I knew had made the cake once before. I had to leave a message. "Kristen. It's Emily. I'm making Ina's chocolate cake recipe - the one that you made. Was your batter extremely liquidy? Mine is and I'm nervous. Call me back. Actually, only call me back if your batter was liquidy. If it wasn't, I don't want to know."

The cake was really, really good. It was moist, full of chocolate flavor, and it had the perfect hint of coffee in the frosting. A successful dessert to go with a scoop of homemade coffee ice cream.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Ina Garten


Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cup flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


6 oz. semi sweet chocolate
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line the pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper, shaking out the excess flour. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, slowly add the coffee and mix just to combine - scraping the bowl with a spatula. (Don't worry - the batter will be very liquidy). Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate. With a knife or flat pedestal - spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top. Spread the frosting evenly on the tops and sides of the cake.

For the frosting:

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl that is set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until just melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue mixing - another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar to the mixture - scraping down the bowl until smooth and creamy.

Dissolve the coffee powder into 2 teaspoons of hot water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


Jenn Sutherland said...

WOW - that cake looks AMAZING! I haven't made cake in a long time, but a slice of that one sure looks fab!

BKWQRM said...

It was an extremely liquidy batter! And I had no one to call when I freaked out...of course, I didn't get your text until about 2 days later!

But it is an absolutely delicious cake! And now I'm craving coffee ice cream.

Emily said...

So with your english teacher expertise, this would mean that liquidy is in fact a word? I wasn't sure and was taking a poll. We decided it was ok to use liquidy in a blog but not in a resume.

Mom said...

Mmmmmm good!

Wendi said...

I love a good cake. And I've gone through many recipes trying to find the perfect one. Great job on this chocolate beauty.

BKWQRM said...

While I would leave words like "liquidy" and "liquid-ish" out of a resume or formal essay, I see no problems with their being used in the blog-o-sphere to describe the consistency of that batter. Wasn't that odd, by the way?? Yeesh...Ina, you should have told me!

chella said...

I've been thinking about this cake for weeks since I first saw it. I'm going to make it this weekend for the my 80's gathering. Looks yummy!