The hubby and I didn't cook much this week, for a few reasons. First off, we both got sick, and there was no eating for a few days. Secondly, I made a pasta bake, the leftovers of which seemed to never end.
Mmm ... pasta bake ... can it be considered fancy if you gussy it up with all kinds of fresh mozzarella? Just checking. But this post isn't about pasta bake. (Unless you want it to be.)
We're getting ready to head out for Labor Day weekend. But first: It's the hubby's birthday! Hooray! I love birthdays.
The hubby doesn't. He would prefer that his birthday be celebrated within the vacuum that is our household, perhaps with a few other family members. But no bru-ha-ha. (And he means it. This isn't one of those reverse psychology "No, REALLY, no need to celebrate" kinds of things.)
He does, however, like presents and chocolate cake. I wrapped up plenty of the former, and decided to make him a really decadent cake. This recipe is from the Famous Dave's Backroads and Sidestreets cookbook. It's actually an espresso chocolate cake, but the hubby's not a big coffee fan. So I use the brewed espresso, but substitute mocha powder for the espresso powder.
We first attempted this cake in approximately the year 1 B.S.M. (Before Stand Mixer). I'd definitely recommend a good mixer. The cake has a lot ingredients, and makes a gazillion dirty dishes. (I lost count at six mixing bowls.) But if you've taken the day off work just to make your hubby a birthday cake, this is the cake to make.
Famous Dave's Chocolate Cake
2 c. flour, sifted
1 3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder, instant coffee, or instant mocha powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. cocoa
1 c. hot brewed espresso
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. mayonnaise
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 c. canola oil
3/4 c. butter, softened
Frosting (quite possibly World's Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 c. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. instant espresso powder, instant coffe, or instant mocha powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8" cake pans.
2. For cake, in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa in brewed espresso. Stir well. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, egg yolks, and canola oil. Stir in cocoa mixture.
Oh, and prepare yourself for a lot of pictures of bowls and mixers.
5. Combine butter and 1/2 c. of the buttermilk mixture in a mixer bowl. Mix well.
6. Add flour mixture* and beat on low speed just until moistened. Beat at medium to high speed for 1 1/2 minutes.
*This is where my instinct wants to override the recipe. I've been told that the best way to mix a cake is to alternate adding the liquid and dry ingredients, mixing after each addition. I followed the recipe, and my cake had a few issues, which you'll hear about later. Next time, I'll try alternating and see what happens.
7. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture, 1/3 at a time, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
8. Spoon batter into pans. Bake about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks to cool. Cool completely before frosting.
10. For frosting, heat chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add espresso powder, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt.
11. In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese and cream. Beat on medium speed until smooth.
12. Stir the chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture, and beat until blended.
13. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until thoroughly combined and of spreading consistency.
14. Move one cake to a serving plate. Top with about 1/2 c. frosting. Add second layer, and frost entire cake. (You might have extra frosting.)
Ain't she purty?
Although he's going to laugh when he sees this. My cake had some structural integrity issues. I was almost done frosting it, when a large piece of the top layer just inexplicably fell off. Despite my best attempts with frosting "glue," it couldn't be repaired. I ate the debris and attempted to cover up the problem spot with extra frosting.
It's really good frosting.