CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
Now that you’ve all heard, I want to make an important announcement. Woks of Life’s first public service announcement, to be specific.
But first, I’d want to share a story with you. Matilda was a childhood favorite of Sarah’s and mine. If you’re a child of the 1990s, you may recall the (in)famous moment when Miss Trunchbull punishes Bruce for his weight gain by making him eat a huge chocolate cake in one sitting.
The youngsters watch in disbelief as Bruce consumes a staggering amount of freshly baked, moist chocolate cake from the lunch lady from hell till he’s close to bursting into flames. In the meantime, Matilda makes a rallying cry, rousing the pupils to yell Bruce’s name, encouraging them to finish the dessert, and even licking the tray for good measure.
Well. It may sound strange, but that chocolate cake was my mental picture of what a chocolate cake should taste like. The only chocolate cake that has lived up to Bruce’s splendor since I first saw Matilda is this one: the recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home—or, more properly, from Ina Garten’s friend’s grandmother, Beatty.
I’ve had Beatty’s chocolate cake numerous times over the years. Every time we make it, we get fantastic reviews from everyone we serve and get hooked. You’re wondering, “How can it be that good?” Hot brewed coffee was the secret ingredient in Beatty’s recipe. It adds an extra layer of moistness to the cake and brings out the richness of the chocolate.
Now. If you’re amid an uncontrollable chocolate cake yearning, you might check for “best chocolate cake recipes” on the internet. Plenty of photographs of luscious chocolate cake with the ideal chocolate frosting are available. The right balance of light and dense, with wonderful chocolate buttercream and a great crumb. It’s a common theme among all of them: Hot. Coffee. That’s been brewed.
To claim ownership of a chocolate cake recipe on the internet, one must be suspicious of the similarity to an old Beatty’s recipe. So we decided to post this recipe on our blog in a slightly modified version with full credit to Beatty because this is our absolute favorite chocolate cake worldwide.
FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 tbsp. of unsalted butter(for greasing the pans)
- 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more for pans)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3/4 cups of cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark is especially good for this recipe!)
- 2 tsp. of baking soda
- 1 tsp. of baking powder
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 cup of buttermilk (shaken)
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 pcs. of extra large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp. of vanilla
- 1 cup of freshly brewed hot coffee (the stronger, the better)
FOR THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
- 6 oz. of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate(baking chocolate or chocolate chips are both fine)
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 pc. of extra large egg yolk (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp. of vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp. of instant coffee powder (optional)
- Put it in your oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees in two 8-inch circular pans. Then, using a piece of parchment paper, make two tracings of the pan. Cut out the outlines (and look at those perfect circles!) and place a parchment sheet in each pans. Then, using the parchment paper as a bottom, butter and flour the pans again.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer. A large measuring cup or bowl should be used to mix the buttermilk mixture with the oil, eggs, and vanilla extracts. Take care not to overdo it when incorporating the wet components into the dry ones in the mixer.
- Using a spatula, scrape the bowl bottom to properly distribute ingredients. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all ingredients are evenly distributed. The batter will be quite light and airy.
- If a toothpick put in the center comes out clean after baking, it’s done after 35-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool for 30 minutes in the pans before carefully removing them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you didn’t use parchment paper, you’ll want to start by loosening the cakes with a butter knife. These guys are fragile due to the moist crumb.
- Prepare your chocolate icing while the cakes are cooling.
- Set a heatproof dish over a small saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate chips (if using bars, cut them up first). Set the mixture aside until it has cooled to room temperature before using. As a bonus, it may be a bit heated. It’s safe to eat your icing.
- Beat 2 sticks of butter for 3 minutes on medium-high speed in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment while the eggs are whisked. Continue beating for three minutes after adding the egg yolk and vanilla.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually while the mixer is on low speed. Sifting is called for in the original recipe, but it’s unnecessary. Simply whip the frosting for a few extra seconds to remove any clumps. Beat the frosting on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. After that, beat in the chocolate until well-combined. The frosting should not be over-whipped.
- A hot cup of water and 2 teaspoons of dissolved coffee powder can be added at this point. To proceed, you can skip this step entirely.
- It’s time for the frosting! A flat plate or cake pedestal can be used to hold the initial layer of the cake. A level surface is preferable to a curved one, according to Ina. I think the side that hasn’t been attacked should be facing outward. Using a butter knife or offset spatula, coat the surface of the cake with a thick layer of frosting. Spread the icing evenly over the top and sides of the cake before placing the second layer on top.