As we come off of our fast from all the sweets, we find ourselves craving certain treats that we haven’t had in a long time. One of those being cake which feels like it has been forever since we tasted the goodness of cake. Not being able to eat cake or cupcakes for both of our birthdays was tough and so the craving for cake started. Finally, this past weekend, we were able to do something about these cravings. Not wanting to do a normal box mix and trying to expand our baking skills, we decided to make a homemade cake and frosting. Rachel has made her own frosting in the past but since she was not feeling too well, it was my turn to become pastry chef.
So after doing a little research, I(Matt) found a recipe by Ina Garten that had 1400+ reviews and it seemed easy enough, so it looked like a perfect match. Also, I knew I wanted to do a cream cheese frosting so I was able to find a good one and I made a little modification by adding some melted chocolate chips. Death by chocolate overload seemed like an appropriate way back to the beautiful world of cake.
So, here is the recipe below (you can also find it here and all credit to food network):
- 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
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 thefrosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
The first thing I want to share is that this recipe calls for brewed hot coffee. Since, I wasn’t in the mood to make a single cup of coffee and it was close to 8 PM, I used hot water instead. Also, one more thing, the frosting that goes with this recipe calls for some instant coffee which we don’t have so it worked out well for us to leave out the coffee and do our own frosting.
I was able to use my new round cake pans that my beautiful wife gave me for part of my birthday gift and they worked great! I did make a mistake here in that I only used cooking spray on the pans, instead of butter and flour. The cakes ended up sticking a little which made it difficult when we assembled the double layer.
The recipe as you can see is actually super simple and while I had to whip up my own buttermilk, the cake came out so nice. Thankfully, the cake turned out super moist and had so much nice flavor. We only had large eggs instead of extra-large and didn’t notice too much of a difference. Also, we used Ghiradelli cocoa powder because it was what we had and it worked out fantastic but use whatever your heart desires. The cake was full of flavor and soothed our sweet tooth. If you are wanting a really good chocolate cake or cupcake, give this a try. Especially if you are looking for a hint of coffee and chocolate (which are two wonderful flavors) this is for you.
For the frosting, this is where things get interesting. I found a standard cream cheese frosting that seemed pretty simple:
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract
Once I saw all of the ingredients, I didn’t really read the directions how to make this (oops! typical guy i guess), so I actually just put all of the ingredients into the stand mixer and let it go to town. I mixed it all up until it got nice and creamy.
Then, I added about a quarter of a bag of milk chocolate chips (which was all we had)
. I did my cake ball trick of melting it in the microwave for 30 seconds, giving it a good stir and putting it in for another 30 seconds and it was nice and creamy. Once this was incorporated, it had a nice, smooth milk chocolate color and wonderful consistency. If we had more chocolate chips, I probably would have added more to get a little more chocolate flavor. The chocolate was there but it was fighting with the strong cream cheese flavor that subdued it some. To each his own so if you want more chocolate flavor, add some more chips.
The frosting was easy to spread and really accompanied the cake quite nicely. The flavors weren’t competing against each other and the cream cheese added a nice taste to go along with the cake.