Let them eat cake
So, today was the 12 anniversary of the day we adopted Bernice, our oldest dog. As such, we decided to make a cake and have a little celebration. Jess keeps all these dates in his head, and I don't know how he does it. At any rate, I had told Jess that I was really jonesing for some good devil's food cake. So he suggested that I make that for today's celebration. Good idea, but my problem is that I am particularly finicky about chocolate cake, and I didn't want to waste time on a cake that I didn't just love. That's a tall order, because I also am finicky about frosting. I don't like most frosting. It's not made like it used to be, and most of it just doesn't taste that great. I was looking for frosting like my mom used to make for birthday cakes. I remember it was called buttercream, but I've tried a lot of buttercream frosting recipes and didn't like them.
At any rate, I found a recipe for the cake that sounded good and I adapted it with some ingredients from other recipes that also sounded good. And I found a recipe online for a buttercream that sounded like it could be good with a little modification.
Well, the cake batter tasted good when it was ready to be put into the pan, so that was a good sign.
After baking it, I made the frosting. I was so happy when it turned out exactly like it was supposed to. After frosting the cake and letting it rest for a few hours, it was time to celebrate. And celebrate we did, because this was a fabulous combination that was moist, very chocolate-y, very dense, and had a terrific frosting. Exactly what I wanted. Now the question: what am I gonna do with all this cake tomorrow? Jess and I don't eat bad stuff like this as a rule.
So here's what I did:
Devil's Food Cake
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup strong coffee (hot)
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened, plus extra for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup sour cream (I only use Breakstone's)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, grease three 8-inch cake pans with butter and line bottom of each pan with parchment paper round, or grease one 9x13x2 pan with butter. Combine chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl; pour boiling water and hot coffee over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Sift together flours, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
Add butter to bowl of stand mixer and beat at medium-high speed until creamy, about a minute. Add brown sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and add eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Reduce speed to medium; add sour cream, molasses and vanilla and beat until combined, about 10 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. With mixer on low, add about one third of flour mixture, followed by about half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat, ending with flour mixture; beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. Do not overbeat. Remove bowl and scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix gently to thoroughly combine.
Pour batter into pan, or divide batter evenly among cake pans if using round pans. Smooth batter to edges of pan with rubber spatula. If baking 9x13x2 cake, place pan on center rack of oven. If baking three 8-inch cakes, place two pans on lower-middle rack and one on upper-middle rack. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes for 8-inch cakes, or 26 minutes for 9x13x2 cake. Cool on wire rack 15 to 20 minutes. For round cakes, run knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert cakes onto large plate; peel off parchment, and reinvert onto lightly greased rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Wonderful Buttercream Frosting
(Make only 1/2 this recipe for a 9x13x2 cake)
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream or half & half
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter until fluffy. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, and 3/4 cup whipping cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add additional 1/4 cup whipping cream only if necessary. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.