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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE



I usually take the easy route when it comes to cakes and stick to making them straight from the box. Over the long weekend though, I decided to try this recipe from Ina Garten and it was well worth it.  The end result was moist, rich, and perfectly decadent. One slice will definitely satisfy a chocolate craving.  

For the cake:

butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed coffee (i just used folger's instant coffee)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter two 8-inch x 2-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 the 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 or 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.

For the frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (i used milk chocolate chips, as i'm kind of against semi-sweet chocolate)
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 teaspoon powdered 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. (I put the chocolate chips in the microwave and melted, which worked just as well. Just be sure to cool a bit so it's not too warm to work with.)

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 adding the powdered sugar. Then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoon 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.

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.

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