Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Monday, March 18, 2013

Perfect Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Submitted by Heather

Just keeping it real with the picture above.  You know I can't get a fancy cake made without the rest of the house falling to pieces.  With 5 kiddos, it doesn't take long to trash the house.  But the taste of the cake made up for the chaos that ensued!

This is a really good chocolate cake.  I don't use the word "perfect" lightly, but this has become my "go-to" chocolate cake for special occasions. It has a light crumb, tastes like chocolate (unlike some cakes that only LOOK like chocolate) and cuts nicely.  I wish I had enough time to do a taste test with other chocolate cakes so that I could definitively say which one is the best, but just know that this one is very good and worth the time to make it.  I was making up excuses to level the cakes over and over just so that I could taste the cake again.  I started out with about 2 1/2 inch layers and was left with about 1 1/2 inch layers by the time I was done "testing"! Just make sure that you don't overcook this cake!  I made that mistake the first time and it was very dry.  I was so annoyed, that I immediately made the cake again - much to the amazement and happiness of my family. It was moist and wonderful the next time.

The frosting is also very good.  How can it not be, when it is mostly melted chocolate?  Make this cake for your next birthday or celebration and wait for the chocoholics to sing your praises.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Spray the pans with vegetable oil spray. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk, little by little, into reserved cocoa mixture until smooth. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into center of each layer comes out clean (or almost clean), 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.

Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second cake layer, and spread with another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with third cake layer. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Serve.

Source: Moist Devil's Food Cake by Martha Stewart

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/3 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 1/4 C. heavy cream (cold)

Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted.  Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes.  add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to clean bowl of standing mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.
Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (frosting should be 70 degrees). Place bowl on standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.

Source: America's Test Kitchen Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake (frosting)

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