Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quick & Easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


During the week it is virtually impossible to have any sort of quality family time with Julian's school and work schedule, so his birthday went uncelebrated until yesterday morning/afternoon.

Just as he left for his morning spin class I realized that it would probably be nice to come home to a birthday cake. Mind you, spin class is about an hour and fifteen minutes long (with the commute factored in). So somehow, in the most superwoman of mindsets I managed to bake a two layer cake, frost it and make breakfast + run to the store to get a few groceries before he got home. I don't even know.

But all of that was pretty irrelevant when it came to how shocked I was the cake actually turned out amazing. It was ridiculously moist and chocolatey and the buttercream frosting turned out like a mousse that all the frosting haters completely approved of. Obviously, in that rush there was zero intention of "blogging" the recipe, but due to how good it turned out I decided to overlook the fact that it was half eaten and get some photographs because I had to share it. 

With cakes, luck, focus and a bit of know how is a huge part of them turning out, but if you follow my exact steps I bet you'll have great results as well.

I started my morning by quickly Googling "best chocolate cake recipe" and this is what I came up with (here). But I never really follow a recipe to the T, so I will still share my version.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup kefir
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream (adapted from this recipe):

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon melted chocolate chips

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 350ยบ and grease two 8 inch round cake pans
• Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
• In the bowl of your mixer blend eggs and oil for a minute or so. Measure the milk and kefir out in the same measuring cup (to mix them together as one) and add to the egg/oil mixture. Add vanilla extract.
• Slowly add in the dry mixture to the wet (I did it a cup at a time, lightly mixing between additions).
• Lastly, add the boiling water and mix a bit more (by a bit I mean something like 30 seconds, or until you see your batter is well blended). I repeat this every time, but seriously do not over beat your batter once the flour is added, it makes it turn out bread-like. 
• Separate into the pans and cook. Now here's the part you really have to focus on. With chocolate cake, cooking time is KEY. No joke. So, the recipe said cook for about 30-35 minutes, but I know my oven is ridiculously hot so my cakes came out splendid at exactly 20 minutes. If you do not know your oven's mood, pay close attention (do not leave your cake to cook while you take a shower and put your makeup on). Some signs, once the aroma of the cake fills the air it is either done or really close to being done. Take a look, if your cake springs back when your press the top of it down gently, then it's done. Or toothpick it, you want a chocolate cake's toothpick to come out with gooey crumbs. 

Frosting Directions:

• Whip softened butter in your mixer for several minutes. I like to just walk away and come back to a pale colored fluffy butter. 
• Sift in your powdered sugar and cocoa and mix until they are well blended with the butter.
• Add the salt and vanilla, mix.
• Add the tablespoon of milk and continue to mix. You will notice it looking like a beautifully fluffy frosting.
• At this point I had doubts on whether it was chocolatey enough, so I melted some chips and added it in. I would guesstimate that it came to about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate chips, but honestly, I was winging it. 
• Frost your cake and voila! (I basically halved the recipe so I wouldn't have to frost the entire cake and was also able to have less confectioners sugar because I went for a softer fluffier texture that sat between and on top of the layers and therefore did not need to worry about whether it would slide off the sides or not).

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