Sunday, October 4, 2009

BB: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

This cake received the highest recognition that this our home has to offer ... before I could get it frosted, several inches from one end disappeared. And met with vocal approval!

This is the second time this month that the Barefoot Bloggers have chosen to bake cake. Cakes are not my forte. I've been thinking about this a lot (since I've been baking so many cakes lately!) and realizing how much of an art form it is, not only to bring together the perfect ingredients and bake them to perfection, but also to assemble all the perfectly cooked and blended parts to create a beautiful integrated whole. Thanks to Mary of Passionate Perseverance, I get to practice again this week!

It has taken me a lot longer than I was anticipating to get this cake cooked and blogged. I began early enough to have it posted in time, only to discover that my chocolate powder had all gone bad. The only place to buy a new package is in Santa Elena, so it wasn't until grocery day that I was able to restock and prepare again to bake the cake.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved


I don't have any round pans, but I figured that the rectangular ones that I have were about the same volume.

The sugar we buy here is not nearly so refined and wouldn't go through the sifter. I sifted the ingredients that would go through, then just added the un-siftables to the bowl as they were.

I used yogurt instead of buttermilk.

I didn't think the coffee in the cake batter was strong enough, so added some extra granules of instant to the mix as well.

I don't have a paddle attachment on my food processor, so I did the mixing of the cake batter by hand. I mixed the frosting in the food processor.

I used semi-sweet chocolate chips in the frosting.

When making the frosting, I thought that it was already very moist and didn't add more water with the instant coffee.


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


(Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-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 the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate 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
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder


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. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended.

Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

I'm embarrassed to publish a picture of the finished cake ... :-(


Don't let appearances fool you. This was a really delicious cake. It was moist and chocolately and I loved the hint of coffee ... I would probably add a bit more if I made it again. It is the first time I had made a buttercream frosting, and it really made the cake. As a matter of fact, in my desire to level out the cake itself, I ended up with almost as much frosting as cake. Fortunately, it was like creamy cool chocolate fudge and highlighted the texture of the cake.

I realized that I am no cake decorator, and this is a huge part of the presentation of the cake. Unfortunately, since I very very seldom eat sweets, and since this was quite expensive to produce, I probably won't be getting enough practice to become fluent in the art of cake decorating. I would, however, make this cake again should a special occasion arise.


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