January 30, 2016

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake and My Sister's Cocoa Frosting

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I am so grateful for chocolate cake.  Sometimes I crave chocolate cake with a rich chocolate frosting.  There was a time when I thought box chocolate cake was the best cake (my grandmother’s specialty was Duncan Hines chocolate cake baked in a sheet pan and frosted with white frosting made with Crisco and then covered liberally with festive rainbow sprinkles).  I have vastly improved my grandmother’s cake that I loved as a child.  Today, I have the benefit of a wide range of available products plus instant access to videos and thousands of recipes to compare that helps me inject the same love and care into my cakes like my grandmother.  One of my favorite recipes is my Mom’s Chocolate Cake recipe, a delicious moist, fudgy and chocolaty recipe.  This buttermilk cake has its own character -  a slight tang and tenderness from the buttermilk with full chocolate flavor especially if you use your best quality cocoa powder.  I use Ghiradelli, or Droste.  I have used Hershey’s and it a good chocolate cake, but the extra fine cocoa makes the chocolate flavor stand out.  A single layer easy cake to make is this Chocolate Fudge Cake.

My sister’s chocolate frosting is so simple yet so delicious.  The best quality cocoa powder is a real standout here.  When she makes this recipe she uses 2-3 cups of powdered sugar and 6 tablespoons of milk.  I use the 5 cups for a stiffer and sweeter frosting.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

1 ¾  cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
¾ cups best quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Butter two 8-inch inch round cake pans or 1 9 x13-inch pan.
Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Using the paddle attachment, 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.

My Sister’s Cocoa Frosting

½ cup plus two tablespoons of softened butter
5 cups powdered sugar – my sister uses 2-3 cups
8 tablespoons of milk
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened, best quality, cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla

Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
Gradually add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.
Add cocoa powder and mix until smooth and creamy

Add additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach the desired spreadable consistency.

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.
Or frost the top of the 9 x 13-inch cake in pan or removed from pan, as desired.

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