My best friend got married in Lake Como over the summer and yesterday we celebrated their nuptials. I made a cake for the occasion, which was purposely hidden in their fridge for late night devouring after the stress of the day was over. My guess is that by the time I post this, there will be nothing left but some chocolate crumbs.
The recipe is a family standard, slightly modified, from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook found here. I replace shortening with butter and water with coffee because, well, they both are just better.
I also don’t just throw all the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid, because I just have been programmed to do otherwise by my chefs at school. Now, I’m sure you can just do as the recipe says, but well, I don’t. It goes a little something like this:
4 ounce bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli) melted and cooled
2 cups sugar
½ cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
2 large room temperature eggs
¾ cups coffee
¾ cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Heat oven to 350º. Cut parchment rounds for two 9’ round pans. Butter, parchment, butter, little bit of flour, tap out, repeat.
Melt the chocolate first so it has time to cool. This can be done in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring after every round.
Cream butter and sugar (paddle attachment, medium speed, until light in color and fluffy)
Add eggs, continuing mixing
Sift together dry ingredients and add, continue mixing
Beat until smooth and bake approx 30 min (depending on your oven)
Let cool on wire racks before you try to flip out. The parchment rounds ensure there aren’t any sticking problems.
Now this isn’t a fudgy chocolate cake, but rather a moist cake with a soft crumb. More of an everyday chocolate cake, if you will. So to make it extra special, I always make either a swiss meringue buttercream or an italian meringue buttercream. They’re both lighter, more stable, and honestly, just taste better to me. There is a time and a place for classic american buttercream, but today isn’t that day.
I should be able to do this from memory, but I’m horrid at remembering exact measurements, so I pulled this recipe as my school recipes are still back home.
Adapted from The Craving Chronicles
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 sticks of unsalted butter, cut up into chunks
2 teaspoons vanilla
14 ounces melted and cooled chocolate(I used Ghirardelli)
Start by taking the butter out of the fridge and cutting into chunks to soften. Then create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with a few inches of water, making sure not to let the bowl on top touch the water. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and constantly whisk until it reaches 140ºF. Take off the heat, strain into your mixer and whip on high until stiff peaks form. For a small batch like this, it should take around ten minutes.
Once the meringue is room temperature (touch the meringue itself, the bowl will still be warm) you can switch from a whip attachment to a paddle attachment and begin adding the butter. Add it one chunk at a time while the mixer is on medium. Note: this is when most people think they screw up. You haven’t. If the mixture starts to look like cottage cheese, it’s just because the butter is still a bit cold. Just keep mixing. If it is too soupy, your butter is too warm and you can throw the bowl in the fridge and then keep mixing. Either way, I promise, it will come together.
Once it does, you can add your flavorings- in this case- vanilla, salt, and chocolate. For a 9 inch cake, this amount was perfect to frost the cake (with enough leftover to snack on). Note- you can also flavor with a variety of other things, eg. peanut butter, fruit jams, nutella (!!). The sky is the limit.