Do you ever have those moments where things are just not going well? It could be a culmination of little things or just one big giant thing that suddenly leaves you feeling well, not so great. You start to ask the question – do I really fail at life THIS much? Apparently yes. I do.
I was having those moments. I was behind in my work life. I was behind in my home life. Consequently I was just ‘off’ in my family and friend life. Nothing was balancing and things just felt wrong. And no matter which way I turned I kept messing things up more.
How does all this tie into the kitchen? Well, one Saturday morning I told myself if I could get up and make a beautiful gourmet chocolate cake for people I loved and cared about that things would change. Maybe not be perfect but it would be a start. Making a cake like this is not apart of my normal routine as it’s a pretty big step outside the comfort zone. So by taking this step and serving it I thought things may suddenly shift a bit.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this one – the cake wasn’t ‘easy as pie.’ It’s not something I would whip up quickly for a dinner party or even for most birthday parties, unless requested of course. It was a harder challenge for me, but it was what I needed to give me a swift kick in the rear to get back on track. Change isn’t supposed to be easy, right?
The verdict? I think the cake turned out pretty darn well. And things are slowly starting to shift back into place.
Recipe from Ina Garten
Ingredients for cake:
- 1 & 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Directions for cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and lightly dust with flour.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer. Combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. On low speed, add in the freshly brewed coffee until just combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the cake pans and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Ingredients for frosting:
- 6 ounces good semi sweet chocolate
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg yoke, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 & 1/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 TBS instant coffee powder
Directions for frosting:
Slowly melt chocolate in a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter on high for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yoke and vanilla and continue to beat for 3 minutes. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar then beat at medium speed. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tsp of the hottest tap water. Slowly add in the dissolved coffee and melted chocolate and mix on low speed until just combined. Don’t beat!
Time to frost these bad boys:
Take one of the cooled cakes and place rounded side down on a cake pedestal. Using a knife or spatula, spread the icing all over the cake. Take the second cooled cake and place rounded side up on top of the first frosted cake. (So, both of the cakes flatest sides will be touching in the middle). Finish frosting the cake all over.