My mom came to visit recently and reminded me of a story from my childhood that I had forgotten, but remembered as soon as she started to tell the story.
I was in elementary school, and I had signed up to bring a cake to school for our class Halloween party. Either I forgot to tell my mom until the last minute, or my mom forgot about it until the last minute, and my mother bought a cake mix. She was horrified at this, because cake mixes are evil in her world, and wound up making homemade frosting to make up for the fact that it was a boxed mix. She also decorated the cake with mellowcreme pumpkins, my all-time favorite Halloween candy. When I came home from school that day, I told her it was the best cake I ever had. She remembered that so well that she wanted to make another cake like that.
Well, I am my mother's daughter, and I just didn't want to bake a cake mix - I wanted to bake Beatty's Chocolate Cake, the infamous Barefoot Contessa recipe I've read so much about on other food blogs. I must say, all the hype is for a good reason. It is an awesome cake. So moist! so chocolate-y! So sinfully yummy! This is now officially my favorite cake recipe. Ever. If I want chocolate cake, this is what I shall make. Sorry, Husband cake, this is my new favorite.
Let me apologize in advance for the lack of beauty in my cake - I'm not the best with layer cakes, which is precisely why my friend and I are taking the Wilton I class at Jo-Ann's, starting this week, so you'll probably see more cake stuff in the next several weeks as I practice my craft. In the meantime, make this cake. Seriously. Right now.
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
2. 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 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, 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.
3. 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.
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
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 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1. 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.
2. 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 add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons 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.