Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chocolate Birthday Cake

The results from the cake mix poll are in: the majority of you are OK with box mixes. Again with my dilemma, though. I like the consistency and chocolate flavor of a box cake, and the real problem is, I've yet to make a from scratch chocolate cake that I'm completely happy with. The consistency is too thick, or too dry, or too egg-y. Or the flavor is dull, or you can taste the buttermilk. If you know of a great chocolate cake recipe let me know, but I'll warn you, I'm gonna be skeptical because I've tried dozens and haven't found one I like yet.

This is the latest attempt. My little brother just turned 18 (not so little anymore), and he wanted a dense chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream. After making the batter, I tested it first by making mini cupcakes, and was disappointed. I fiddled some with flour and chocolate amounts, and was happier with the density and flavor, but it's a little dry. The raspberry filling is just raspberry jam (I'd have done homemade there, too, but he just wanted from the jar, oh well!). The buttercream was the best part. I used the last of my dark chocolate Callebaut, and dang if that stuff wasn't so expensive I'd use if for everything. Mmm mmm!

And what's up with the pictures? Sorry, I was even using the good camera...

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Joy of Baking

4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
3 1/4 cups (465 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, and line with parchment paper, two - 9 x 2 inch deep (23 x 5 cm) round baking pans. Set aside.

In a stainless steel or heatproof bowl place the chopped unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until they have melted. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk to combine, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and beat to combine.

Add the milk and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Butter or lightly spray a wire rack with Pam before inverting the cakes onto the rack to prevent the cakes from sticking. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
150 g chocolate, chopped
1 c butter, room temperature
4 c confectioners sugar

Melt the chocolate. Mix with the confectioners sugar. Beat the butter in 1 T at a time until fully incorporated. Beat at least 5 more minutes until completely mixed and fluffy.

1 comment:

Candice said...

Mmm, I'll take a piece of that! I don't know that I've ever tried a chocolate cake from scratch, but if I come across a great sounding recipe I'll send it your way!