Friday, July 10, 2009

Flour, Butter, Sugar

and chocolate!

It had been a while since I baked. Even longer since I baked a cake. Truth be told, I couldn't even recall how many months ago I baked a cake. But when a certain special occasion came around, it couldn't be anything else. My list of recipes to try is long, but I had certain criteria for zooming in. It had to be round (go figure!), and the ingredients and equipment had to be all at home.

A simple classic chocolate cake made the cut. As a bonus, it comes from Ina Garten (you know I am a fan), and I had watched the show when she made it. She said she practically begged her friend Michael to give her the recipe, which is originally his grandmother's. Then she went on to make it as a surprise for him. How wonderful.

Chocolate Cake


I am so glad I chose it. The texture alone makes this cake recipe a keeper, and the taste is pretty darn good too. Of course, I had to make changes. This wasn't a big party, so I cut the recipe by half, and went for a single layer cake. And that frosting? Oh gosh. I cut it down to a fourth, and went for a thin spread to cut down on the fat. Still very good.

All I am saying is I have to make it again. Soon.

Chocolate Cake: Slice


I do not have an electric stand mixer, so here is the adapted recipe using a hand mixer.

Chocolate Cake


Butter, for greasing the pan
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 cup (scant) sugar
3/8 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee (warm)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. 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 pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for atleast 30 minutes, and then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Spread the frosting (recipe below) evenly on the cake.

For a richer, thicker coating, double the recipe. I don't think you will regret it.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1.5 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon 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 (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy. Add the vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. 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 a few drops of hot tap water. Add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Here is a review of the same recipe from one of my favorite baker bloggers, which gave me further impetus to go for it.

Note to all who have commented on past posts. Thank you all. I have been reading them, and I appreciate each and every one of them and I do hope to respond to you. Probably soon, but don't hold me to it. I have been madly busy.


amna said...

oh man! that looks so deep and dense!

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Yippeee... Glad you are back...
What a cake ? I am ready to dig in...

Cynthia said...

So matter-of-factly stated and awesome looking!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I'm not sure what the special occasion was, but judging from that cake it must have been a birthday or anniversary. So best wishes.

I made a simil;ar cake recently, but I must remember this buttercream. Sounds good.

Mints! said...

I can only 'watch' Ina Garten's shows :) Cake looks good as usual :)

Supriya said...

Cake looks mind blowing and Yummy.

Sophie said...

I'm always amazed by the power of buttermilk and coffee in sugar, they are two amazing ingredients. Your cake sounds and looks beautifully dense and delicious.

evolvingtastes said...

Nags, Somoo, Cynthia, Aparna, thank you all! Nice to see you here.

Mints, I know what you mean. I too can just 'watch' some of her shows. Her desserts however _are_ divine, all that butter notwithstanding.

Supriya and Sophie, thank you, and welcome here!

Archana said...

My kids are chocolate fans. I am definitely going to try this.

evolvingtastes said...

Archana, go for it! And let me know how it turns out.

Unknown said...


I was so happy to find this recipe online as my one ultimate goal in life is to bake a perfect chocolate cake...and so i just gathered the courage to try this last night ....(FYI -i am an amateur baker) if you ask me the final result - this is where i am asking to see if you could help me understand what went wrong...

The cake that I baked was little bitter in taste and was dry ,it didn't have the moist texture rather it was brittle...

So now for the ingredients i had and what i could have messed up...

1.I did not have vegetable oil - so i substituted with butter...

2.My baking soda had the date 2008 and so i thought ,i should add little extra as it could have lost its power (!!) and so i added 1 and half teaspoons...

3.Added 2 eggs as my eggs were of medium size..

4.And also, i preheated the oven and then before i kept the pan inside ,it got preheated twice or thrice ...i know i should not do this...will be careful next time...was the oven very hot ,so it dried up my cake mixture ?

And also finally ,the cake had some strong smell of baking powder or soda not sure which one...

Please enlighten me here and i wanted to understand my mistakes before i try this same recipe again...

Sorry for taking your time and space...

Thank you...

Mansi Amin said...

Looks very yummy...have to try it..

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks Mansi!

evolvingtastes said...

Just, sorry about the delayed response, but I was very busy! The butter would have been ok, but I think the extra leavening caused by the baking soda probably did something funny. Baking is mostly a science first, and art next. Try with a fresh batch of soda, and with 1 large egg, and try again, perhaps it will turn out alright. I hope this helps you to go practice and achieve that perfect chocolate cake you are looking for. Best wishes.

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