As a way to celebrate the “birth” of my blog I decided it was appropriate to start with the recipe for my favorite birthday cake. I recently made this cake for my friend Shannon’s 40th Birthday Party. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to personally see the reactions but I was told it was a huge hit. I know it has become one of the most requested desserts at our house and I think it is definitely one of the most moist and delicious chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted.
The cake recipe is taken from the Pro-Baking I class at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, California. The recipe for the icing is from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.
This recipe also makes delicious cupcakes. Keep in mind that this is a very wet batter so you will want to fill the cups close to the top.
Shannon’s 40th Birthday Cake.
CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK CAKE
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 2 8″ cake pans by spraying sides and bottom of pans with non-stick cooking spray. Then place a pre-cut parchment disk in the bottom of each pan. Finish by giving the top of the parchment paper a quick mist of the non-stick cooking spray.
Mix together, using a fork cocoa powder and boiling water. Add brown sugar, followed by buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside. Let cool.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt and whisk together (whisking these dry ingredients eliminates the need for sifting.) Set aside.
In a Kitchen Aid® mixer, using the paddle attachment beat buttter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and conitnue to beat for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time. (Always break eggs individually into a bowl before adding them to the mixture…this avoids ruining the batter by getting a “bad” egg and ensures that your batter is shell free.)
Add the cooled cocoa mixture and dry mixture into the batter until thoroughly mixed…keep the Kitchen Aid® at a low speed and do not overmix.
Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before inverting them on to cooling racks. Let cakes cool completely before icing.
DEVIL’S FUDGE ICING
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot water
2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
In a Kitchen Aid® mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the cocoa powder and butter on low speed until blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed until very smooth. (this will take between 2-4 mintues as it takes some time for this much cocoa powder to mix into this little butter)
Add the corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt and continue to mix until evenly blended. (approximately 1-3 mintues)
Add the hot water and mix on low speed until evenly blended. Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl with your rubber spatula as needed. (When I first made this icing the consistency seemed completely wrong at this point…have faith it will all come together.)
Add the confectioner’s sugar, mix on low until blended, then increase the speed to medium and whip until the icing is very smooth and light, 2-4 minutes.
Use immediately or transfer to a storage container, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Allow the icing to return to room temperature before using it. If necessary, beat the icing using the paddle attachment on low speed until it is smooth and spreadable.
*For tips on how to properly frost your cake I suggest looking at this tutorial from Joy the Baker.
Mack…a satisfied customer.
*A NOTE ON COCOA POWDER*
When baking or cooking at home, ingredients make all the difference. If you are going to take the time and energy to make something homemade I suggest using all organic ingredients or at the very least a top of the line cocoa powder. My suggestion is to use either Valrhona or Scharffen Berger cocoa powder (which I have also found at Whole Foods Market).