Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate… Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? I love eating it, but making it has always been fun for me.
Recently, a colleague of mine did something incredibly nice for me. It was one of those over-the-top, unnecessary and truly awesome acts that I’m thankful for daily. As a show of gratitude, I asked him to tell me his all-time favorite dessert so I could make it for him. As he started to utter the words chocolate chocolate cake it felt like a scene from a tense action movie – ominous music playing in the background, sounds and speech in slow motion! I’m no chef, but I make a lot of things well. Chocolate frosting has never been one of them.
Chocolate chocolate cake was my nemesis coming out of the shadows and challenging me to a dual!
I’ve tried on several occasions to make the traditional chocolate butter cream frosting and several times, I’ve failed. Now here I was facing a public battle with this chocolately goodness that I could not turn down.
I immediately began reading recipes online and combing cookbooks for the solution. Leave it to the guru of simple baking, Ina Garten to swoop in and save the day! I found a recipe she created that is similar to the red velvet recipe I use and love so much, so I knew it had promise. A few tweaks of my own and it turned out amazing! Enjoy!
- 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 (I like Valrhona)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon 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 extra dark French pressed coffee
Ingredients are important. Don’t skimp. I love the New York Cake and Baking Center on 22nd Street in New York City. It’s a baking nerd’s heaven. You don’t have to find a specialty store to find good chocolate and good cocoa powder these days. I used a dark, rich Valrhona cocoa powder in my cake.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. 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. If you are making cupcakes instead, bake for 20 minutes.
Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.
- 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
- 2 tsps extra dark French press coffee
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. Microwave the fresh coffee until its fairly hot. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended.
Spread on the cooled cake and voila!