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Eclecticisms: Chocolate Butter Cake

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chocolate Butter Cake

If you know cakes, you know The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I'm ashamed to say that though I've had this in my possession for nearly 2 years, I just recently made a recipe from it! I came to have this book when I met my 2nd cousin Debbie at a mini-family reunion she held in her beautiful home. We had gotten to talking about baking and, inevitably, my blog. She told me about how great this book was and loaned it to me so I could try a few of the recipes (and blog about them, of course). So, for my birthday this year, I made this chocolate cake and it was excellent. Not too rich but wonderfully sweet with a scrumptious moist consistancy. I'm not a huge cake person, but man was this good.

For those of  you who haven't checked out The Cake Bible, do so. It seems a little intimidating at first because it's SO chocked full of information, but don't let that fool you. It's as friendly and easy to follow as any of your old favorites.


1/2 Cup + 3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch-pressed)
1 Cup boiling water
3 large eggs
2 1/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 Cups + 2 Tbs sifted cake flour
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter (softened)

Prepare two 9" x 1 1/2" cake pans by greasing, then lining with parchment paper and then greasing and flouring.

Preheat oven to 350

Boil the water and whisk together with cocoa powder in a medium bowl until smooth.Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (I put mine in the fridge for a bit to speed along the cooling process. It probably wasn't the best idea, but I was in a bit of a rush.)

In another bowl, lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 of the cooled cocoa mixture and vanilla.

In the bowl of your standing mixer (or a large bowl), combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.

It's a heart!

Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture, mixing on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. (I told  you this book was great!)

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. (Mixing isn't just to combine the ingredients!)

Oh man, was that batter good.

Scrape down the sides and split batter into the 2 prepared cake pans (about 1/2 full). Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted near the center. (The cake will spring back when lightly pressed.)

Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Run a knife along the edges to loosen any part that might be sticking. Place the cooling rack on top of the cake pans and invert to release the cakes. Flip and allow to cool completely before frosting. If letting the cakes sit overnight, wrap well in ceran wrap. As with so many other recipes, cakes tend to taste better after they've had a chance to sit overnight.

Don't forget to level your cake if you'll be icing it!

Frost, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy! Keeps for up to 2 months frozen, 5 days refrigerated or 2 days at room temperature. (Serve at room temperature.)

I ended up using Martha Stewart's swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe because the ones in The Cake Bible all seemed to call for use of a candy thermometer which I don't have (yet). The match really made a perfect pair. I had some issues with the frosting being too warm and messy so I didn't go too crazy decorating the cake, but still got to use some of the fun techniques I learned from my cake decorating class.

Happy (birthday) cake eating!

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