Today, I present to you the four C’s…and I don’t mean to disappoint you but this has nothing to do with diamonds. I have a cake, it’s chocolate with another key ingredient, coffee, and I used one of the best contraptions I’ve seen in a long time.
First, the cake. I’ve made this twice over the last week. I had two separate gatherings planned six days apart and I wanted to make everything from scratch. My friends didn’t expect this, of course, but I wanted to offer my best and because of this, there was no time to be a maverick with an untested recipe. This cake doesn’t disappoint anyway. In fact, it has quickly become one of my go-to desserts over the last year. It’s easy to make, it’s incredibly moist and it has chocolate and coffee. Need I say more?
If you haven’t yet tasted a chocolate cake that contains coffee, I would urge you to try this. This isn’t like an espresso brownie where you would expect a dominant coffee flavor in each bite. Instead, the coffee adds a layer of complexity to the finished product by heightening the chocolate experience. Trust me when I say “try this”. I’m still blown away every time I make this cake because it always turns out as promised and I can’t take any credit for it. Contrary to my habit of always tweaking savory recipes, I follow this exactly. It’s perfect just the way it is.
Double-Chocolate Layer Cake
Recipe by Ina Garten
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350º. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated (the batter will look really thin and watery but it’s okay).
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. If you use a convection oven like I do, my cakes usually cook in about 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
To make the frosting, Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or by using your microwave. If using the latter, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate has melted. Stir until completely melted then set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water. Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.
Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.
The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let stand 1 hour before serving.
Now check out this video. Have you seen anything like it? I was desperate to find Christmas gifts last year and I came across this in one of my magazines. Sure, it was attractive, but I was dubious about it actually working as a cake server. Furthermore, I don’t really like to clutter my limited drawer space with single-use gadgets and I wouldn’t encourage my friends to do the same. When I saw this video, however, I was intrigued and ordered two (one to give away and one for me) and promptly forgot about it until last week.
This is a cake server from Magisso. But just so you know, my new status as a food blogger would automatically preclude me from being used by a company to promote their product. I found this on my own and I’m sharing it with you because I’m quite happy with it. As can be seen in the video, this gadget actually makes serving cake an easy, one-handed task. This gadget has rightfully earned a permanent spot in my baking drawer.