Sunday, October 6, 2013

Awesome Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is one of those desserts that I like from time-to-time but always seem to find them a tad too sweet. I stumbled upon a recipe for an espresso chocolate cake earlier this summer and thought it sounded intriguing. I took the plunge this weekend and am glad I did. I made a couple of changes to the recipe, like adding a couple of layers of my strawberry jam- it helped to kick it up a notch with flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature ideally
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup espresso

For the frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
225-g pkg unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
6 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee

Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees.  Get two round cake pans buttered and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Trust me- the cakes will slide right out when they're cooling. 

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a medium-sized bowl.

Beat butter and sugars together in a larger bowl, using an electric mixer on medium. (If you don't want to use an electric mixer, you can use a large stand mixer.)

It takes a couple of minutes to get creamy and mixed well.  Then add eggs, one at a time, beating well to make sure it's mixed. Then add vanilla, and mix again.  

At this point, reduce the speed and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add half of the buttermilk.  Repeat this, then end with the rest of the flour.  Now it's time to divide the batter evenly into cake pans. 

Bake in the centre of oven until a toothpick comes clean from the centre of the cakes- it's about 40 minutes of baking time.

Cool the cake pans on a rack for 10-15 minutes then flip them out of the pans to cool completely.  It takes about 30 more minutes to cool. 

Time to get the frosting ready!  Beat one cup of butter until it gets creamy, then add melted chocolate, 1 tbsp of vanilla, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 cup of icing sugar.  Mix well, then add remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with milk and coffee, ending with sugar.  Beat on medium-high until it gets fluffy and smooth. It makes quite a bit of frosting- you won't necessarily need all of it. 

Now it's time to assemble.  Start by cutting each cake in half- I know it sounds weird but this creates a layered cake with lots of goodness in between the layers.  Then, put one layer on the bottom of your platter, and layer it with a jam of your choice- I went with strawberry.  Then add the second cake layer.  Spread out a layer of frosting.  Add the third layer, spread out a layer of jam, then add the top layer.  

Spread frosting across the top around around the cake, then put it in the fridge for about an hour.  The frosting will set and it will be finished.

If you don't want frosting on the plate, you can slip pieces of parchment paper under the first layer and haul them out after it has been frosted. 

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