Oh, chocolate. Oh, chocolate. You are my favorite cake flavor of all. From the moment you’re mixed into a sinful batter, to the decadent frosting, you have me dancing around the kitchen like a giddy school girl. And then, in a glimpse; I’m a woman, and have urges to do naughty things with you that involve my husband. Oh, chocolate; where have you been?
I can’t remember the last time I made a chocolate cake. There’s something about it that immediately takes me back to childhood; with smudged faces, and lots of giggling. Big, sloppy kisses. It’s no wonder that eating chocolate makes you happy; it evokes the same rush you feel when you’re in love. Sigh.
Now, I’m a pretty lucky girl. Not only does the company I work for tolerate me bringing in my baked goods on regular basis; they actually pay me to bake the monthly birthday cake. Sweet! So, this month, I had a special request to make a chocolate-chocolate cake. Where, oh where, do I start? There are a million chocolate cake recipes out there!
As it went, I started with a reliable source in Ina Garten. I like Ina. She’s elegant, simple, quality, and has an affinity for kosher salt, which is alright by me. In her latest book, “Barefoot Contessa at Home,” I found heaven in a chocolate cake recipe created by a woman named Beatty. Now, I don’t know who Beatty is, but she sure makes a mean chocolate cake! Friends, this has got to be the best chocolate cake yet. I'm talking the best I've ever had. Repeat.
I’ve. Ever. Had.
And let me tell you, in my 20 years of baking; I’ve made a lot of chocolate cakes. This cake wasn’t too rich, too sweet, or overwhelmingly chocolatey. It was simply perfect: dark, moist, had a zen balance between the icing and the cake, and was darn easy to make!
So, as I skip around the kitchen, licking the leftovers off the mixer paddle, I will leave you with this wonderful recipe. Please make it; you won’t be disappointed. Beatty, whoever you are; I thank you.
Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Recipe source: “Barefoot Contessa at Home”
1 ¾ All purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used large)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans for baking (butter, flour, etc.). Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into your mixing bowl. Mix using a paddle attachment on low speed until combined. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients. Next, add the coffee and mix until combined; scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (it will be a very wet batter), and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
6 ounces of good semisweet chocolate (I used chips and they worked fine)
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature (I used large)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 T instant coffee powder
Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup and melt over a double-boiler. I used the microwave for the chips and that worked fine for me. Be careful not to introduce any water into the chocolate when melting, or it will seize. After melted, set chocolate aside to cool to room temperature.
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed with a paddle attachment until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue to beat for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping the mixer bowl down with a rubber spatula. In a small glass, dissolve coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of very hot tap water, then add to butter mixture. Add chocolate to butter mixture and continue to beat at medium speed until thoroughly combined. Don’t whip! Spread immediately onto cooled cake.