Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Summer + Birthdays (If only there was snow, and a jolly man dressed up in red...wait, that's another one...)

July is apparently the month of birthdays.  In honor of my boss’ birthday tomorrow, I am making, by her request, a chocolate cake.

Now, let me tell you.  When I asked her what she would like me to make, stressing that she could have anythinggg that she desired (Reese’s, Oreo, or coconut cake to name a few), she told me chocolate cake.  With buttercream frosting.

Me: With peanut butter filling?
Her: No

Me: With chocolate chips?
Her: No

Me: Chocolate/Peppermint/Strawberry Buttercream?
Her: Just.plain.buttercream.

Now I must confess, when she gave me this wish, I was a little bummed.  I always want to challenge myself in the kitchen…but plain old chocolate cake?

Boy, was I wrong!

After tasting a little bit of the end result, I was blown away by the taste of the rich, fluffy chocolate cake, paired with the decadent, yet classic buttercream.  I was transported back to when I was a child and I would get cake with buttercream for my birthdays and how everyone would fight over the flowers on top.

Even though there weren’t any flowers on this cake, it definitely was memorable.

I used this recipe for the chocolate cake. 

Below are Annie’s instructions:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar—got to love those substitutions!)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round pans.

Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  
Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter.  Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.  
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients).  Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter.  Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula.  Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
Bake for 26-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool to room temperature.
I used this recipe for the frosting (so easy!!!!).

Beat 2 sticks of butter for about 2 minutes, until completely smooth.  Gradually add 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar until combined.  Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.  Beat for 2 minutes until smooth.  Add a little water if too thick.

(Sorry that there are no pictures--I was too impatient to frost the cake, that I made the frosting in about 5 minutes!)

I also cut each cake in half to add additional layers—yum!  Hope my boss enjoys this as much as I did making it!

Happy Birthday : )

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