When I say birthday what image comes to mind? Some of you may think of presents. Others will think of balloons or parties. But I think most of us will agree that we think of cake. Oh yes. A birthday cake. Candles a top buttercream icing and moist, delicious cake. You’ve got the image, right? Me, too. I am actually trying to figure out how many days until my birthday so I can have my cake and eat it too. It was just this past weekend that my very good friend Amy had a birthday. I wanted to do something special for her and I happen to know that she really loves chocolate cake so that’s what she was gonna get…a chocolate birthday cake!!
I searched online for a recipe that was tried and true. One that not only got good reviews, but multiple good reviews. I landed on Beatty’s Chocolate Cake courtesy of my very favorite, Ina Garten. This recipe uses brewed coffee in the batter and coffee powder in the buttercream. To quote Ina, “How good is that?!” It also uses buttermilk (you already know my feelings toward buttermilk in baked goods – almost always a great idea) so this cake would not be dry at all. That is something I tend to fear with chocolate cake – a dry crumb. It should not be dry or tough, but moist and tender. Some other recipes I’ve tried in the past have been far too dry because the ratio of dry to wet ingredients was slightly skewed due having to use cocoa powder and flour. You will not have to worry with this one. It was divine.
The cake was not the only divine aspect of this recipe, though. The buttercream icing was also heaven sent. It was light, smooth, creamy and so glossy! It uses an egg yolk along with the butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and melted chocolate. I have not used this particular method for icing before and was a little nervous about how it would taste. My fretting was in vain, as it tasted as wonderful as it looked.
One note about this recipe though, is that it only makes enough icing to frost a two layer cake. If you plan to pipe, like I did, you will need make more. I unfortunately didn’t have time and decided to try something else (a bottle of store bought cookie icing ::face palm::) and instead of saying “Happy Birthday” it said something like “Hasdldy Bdduflky”. The letters all puddled together and I felt so silly. I kept apologizing for how ugly the cake was! The layers weren’t even and the icing could have been smoother…(Note to self: purchase a cake plate and stand as well as an offset spatula and begin practicing icing and piping skills immediately) But Amy said liked how it looked and that it tasted so good she didn’t even notice that the layers weren’t perfectly even. My heart swelled with joy and that was enough for me, my friends.
Until Next Time…
The Blushing Baker 😉
Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
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
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
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
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.