Amazing Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a 16th birthday cake for my hubby’s cousin Rachael. (As an aside ….16?!!!!!! whhhaat.. She was 8 when we met!!! 8! Now she’s all young women and I am left wondering how the heck all that time slipped past me..) I was told the party would be a neon glow in the dark party. COOOOLLL!. It turned out fantastically. Just had to share some pics because I think it was beautiful!

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I just love Aunt Sheila’s house and so does my hubby. It’s beautiful and peaceful but, more importantly, we are positively in love with the company there. Jesse and I refer to it as our safe place. Without question it’s one of our favorite places to be. I was so happy to be able to help out. She requested a chocolate cake. I received this recipe from Aunt Sheila. As I understand it is a friend’s family recipe, but let me just clarify that I’m adopting it lol. It is absolutely incredible and without a doubt will be my go to recipe for chocolate cake. I had to share it!

Amazing Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs (room tempurature)
2 1/2 tespooons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespons unslated butter
1 cup hot coffee

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and line three 8″ round cake pans and set aside.
- In a small bowl, place butter in hot coffee to melt, stir to combine
- In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Beat half of the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
- Follow by beating half the coffee into the flour mixture.
- Repeat with second half of buttermilk and butter mixtures until everything is combined.
- At this point you may be frantically rereading the ingredients and instructions..why?.. because you may be thinking you positively missed something…. you didn’t…. this cake batter is suppossed to be runny.. It’s scary I know, but just go wih it.
- Divide the (liquid) batter between the three cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (Rotate those pans about half way through!)
- They are done when the edges have pulled away from the pan and the top springs back… of course the toothpick test will also work here.
TAHDAH!

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To make the cake above I made the entire chocolate cake recipe three times. Instead of dividing the batter between three 8″ pans, I divided it between 1 -10″, 1-8″, and 1-6″ for every batch. Thusly 9 layers total. Now the frosting is a different story all together….Did I love it? Yes. HEAVEN ON EARTH. Did I hate its ever loving guts? Yes…..It is a french meringue buttercream. The recipe can be found in *&^^% book. It’s the one in the back for 150 people. Yea….It’s a total brat…the simple syrup…. the egg whites… the temperatures…I made the chocolate variation and I doubled it! I have only made it this once so I don’t feel comfortable YET, walking anyone through it….I used raspberry vodka for the liqueur and I decreased it to a quarter cup per batch… SO, this is what buttercream for 300 people looks like……

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That would be 20 sticks of butter and 24 eggs worth. I was DANG proud I had succeeded in making it. But, as many of you may have seen on Facebook, it holds a secret…..When and if you refrigerate it (or freeze it), it needs to be COMPLETELY (COMPLETELY COMPLETELY COMPLETELY) at room temperature when you rebeat it. Otherwise that beautiful supple buttercream you worked so hard to create, will flip you off, stick it’s tongue out you, proceed to have a temper tantrum, and fall totally and completely apart. I mean completely apart….. BRAT BRAT BRAT…. Thankfully I was able to salvage enough to make the cake. In reality I probably only needed one and a half of the recipe instead of double. You live and learn. I’m really not counting this frosting out. I totally think we can still be friends. I’m just holding a bit of a grudge right now! There is actually a frosting and filling recipe that came with the cake recipe and I’m all in for that one next time!
All in all, the party was a blast for all involved as evidenced by this picture taken the next morning.

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Everyone seemed to like the cake, but more importantly Rachael liked the cake. ( Thats all that matters!)
So Happy Birthday Girlie!…

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Dream. Bake. Believe.
Love, Steffie

Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

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What do ya think of those huh?.. I think they are beautiful!. They were this week’s assignment on Tuesdays with Dorie. Buttermilk Crumb Muffins. Don’t they just sound so moist and perfect with an A.M. (or P.M.) cup of joe. Well, I’m here to tell you they go superbly with coffee. They sweet but not sweet enough to write them off as dessert only . Their beautiful crumb and delicate spice ensure they are winners.

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I actually made them a few months ago to bring with as a morning meeting with some of my family in Milwaukee. They were so easy to throw together. I was concerned that the tops didn’t “rise”, but a quick double check at the book’s color photograph assured me that was how the recipe was written. Who am I to question Julia Child and Marion Cunningham?!! So beware! When you make these (because I KNOW you WILL), be sure to grease the TOP of your muffin pan with baking spray!.

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BUTTERMILK CRUMB MUFFINS
*Slightly adapted from Julia Child and Marion Cunningham
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups dark brown sugar
2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, well beaten
Makes 14 to 16 muffins

- Place rack in the center f the oven then preheat to 350 Degrees.
- Either place 24 cupcake/muffin wrappers into 2 muffin tins and spray the top OR forget the wrappers and thourghly spray both pans including the tops.
- In a large bowl combine sugar and flour.
- Break shortening into a few pieces and drop them into the flour.
- Rub together until mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs (I used a pastry cutter).
- Measure 1/2 cup crumb topping and set aside for later.
- Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and salt to the large bowl of remaining sugar mixture and stir until evenly combined.
- Add buttermilk and beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended. (Batter should be thick and shiny.)
- Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of reserved crumb mixture onto each muffin.
- Half-fill any empty muffin molds with water. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

See?! Not so bad. Mr Nemo below wanted one so badly. Just couldn’t post this without including this last picture. I just wanna squeeze him! Have fun with these!
Dream. Bake. Believe.
Love, Steffie

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