Chocolate Birthday Cake

When my husband's birthday was nearing, I asked him (as I always do) what kind of birthday cake he would like. Even though it is not what he would normally choose any other time of year, nor what he would order when he is getting dessert at a restaurant, he seems to always lean towards a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his birthday. This year I was determined to find the best recipe out there so that he would have a delicious treat.

So what did I do? I trusted Google, of course. And the recipe I found was definitely a keeper. It is an Ina Garten recipe (of Food Network fame) called Beatty's Chocolate Cake. Hubby loved it! And so did my daughter. Since I'm celiac and couldn't eat it, I had to trust their review. I tried the icing, but didn't love it, even though they said it was delicious. I'm more a fan of cooked fudge icing for chocolate cake. I'll include the recipe for both in this post so you can choose which to use.

In the past I have steered away from baking layer cakes because they always seem to come out uneven and never look pretty. But not this cake--it came out perfectly!
I used 9" round cake pans, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was a very easy recipe that I would recommend to anyone. Layer cakes are awesome because they allow you to use more icing.....yum!
As you can see, I didn't take the time to make the icing perfect. Bob was on his way home from work unexpectedly early, so by the time the cake cooled I didn't have much time to get it iced and decorated.
I opted for simple piping around the top with vanilla buttercream, and of course the traditional birthday greeting on top!
And here's the birthday boy, very excited to blow out the candles and dig into this homemade treat on his day, which he always says should be a national holiday (he loves his birthday!). And I must say, it wouldn't be a bad idea--he is one great hubby and daddy!
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 vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-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.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee

Chop the chocolate and place it in a double-boiler or a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating about three more minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioner's sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee in two tablespoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the mixture until blended, but do not whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

And last but CERTAINLY not least, this is the chocolate icing I would want on a gluten-free version of this cake if it were my birthday. Don't let the fact that this icing is cooked scare you--if you follow the simple directions, it is easy as pie (or in this instance, cake!).

Never Fail Cooked Chocolate Icing:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, milk, cocoa and butter together in a medium pan. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Time it exactly from the time it begins to boil! Remove from heat and allow to cool a little, then add vanilla extract. Set in a pan of cold water and beat until it is a spreading consistency. (I usually do this by stirring with a wooden spoon).

1 comment:

  1. wow- this makes me want some chocolate cake in a BAD way at midnight- not good! and definately not good for someone trying to get off baby weight! :) makes me miss you guys so bad! i'll be in macon though the weekend of the 8th! definately want to see you so you can meet our little man ;)