Chocolate and Espresso Cake

Who buys diet books? And what has happened to just healthy eating, everything in moderation?

Diets just don’t work in the long run silly! Plus they always tell you to cut out cake! Whats with that, maybe have just one small slice. I’ll be waiting for the diet book deal penguin!

So on a completely unrelated note, I will talk about cake.I was recently asked to make a cake, for money, like a proper baker, it was for a 60th. Cue pressure. They wanted two cakes shaped like a P and a J, cue extra pressure and reading womens weekly Kids Birthday cake books like a mad lady. I’mstill in two minds about whether selling cakes is something i’d ever want to do, the main part for me is making people happy, and you don’t really get any of thatwhen you just sell them.

I got my planning on and pretty much knew exactly what I would do for every step, I’m so glad I did this otherwise it would have failed big time. Also I really like planning, not lame…shh.

Have any of you ever tried to make a rainbow cake before, i’m going to attempt one for my best friends 5th/20th (she was born on the 29th of February) picnic.

Because I made a shaped cake, I used almost double the mixture, this is the base recipe I used though.

Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Eat Boutique

Serves 12 (makes two 8 or 9 inch layer cakes. Or 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder, I used Vittoria Espresso
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate covered cocoa nibs or chocolate chips (optional)

Heat the oven to 350*F. Butter the pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined (do not overmix).

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until a cookbook inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes for an 8 inch round, and 25-30 for a 9 inch round (cupcakes will be done around 20-25 minutes). Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ½ cups), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1 tablespoon hot water until the powder is dissolved, and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla, salt and espresso/water mixture. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Note: this makes a LOT of frosting. Make sure you add a liberal amount of frosting in between your layers, as you will have plenty. I was stingy here and regretted it later.

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