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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cake with Hot Chocolate Buttercream

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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed I posted a picture of this cake a few weeks ago with the caption "You know a cake is good if you make it twice in one week!"
The first occasion was my friend Maggie's birthday. After last year's Giant S'Mores Cake, I knew I needed something equally impressive. Maggie requested chocolate and I immediately went to the recipe for this cake, which I'd had saved ever since seeing it on Megan's blog.
This cake was, in a nutshell, perfect. The cake is tender, moist, and so dark it looks burnt. It matched wonderfully with the chocolate buttercream, flavored with some hot chocolate powder.
Maggie loved it, and so did the friends who celebrated with us. When it got two thumbs up from Mike, Maggie's husband, and Ryan, two self-proclaimed cate haters, I knew I had something special on my hands.
A few days later I made it again so that Ryan could bring it to work. His coworkers requested a cake for a surprise baby shower. A raging success again, trust me that you must give this cake a try! I love making layer cakes--in part because I do it so infrequently--and making this one twice has inspired me to try them more often. Which kind should I try next? (I've already made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and White Chocolate Amaretto Cake)

One Year Ago: No Potato Venison Stew
Two Years Ago: Black and White Bean Soup

Dark Chocolate Cake with Hot Chocolate Buttercream
from What Megan's Making

For the cake-
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 cups granulated sugar
-3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
-2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-1 cup strong black coffee
-1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

For the buttercream-
-1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 tbsp milk
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/3 cup powdered hot chocolate mix

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans with butter and flour or parchment (I did both to ensure it didn't stick!). In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be very liquidy!
2. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven (I placed them on the same rack but still rotated after 20 minutes). Bake an additional 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (35 minutes total!). Cool pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes before carefully inverting the cakes onto racks to cool completely.
(Note--At this point I wrapped the cakes in saran wrap and foil and placed each layer in a gallon-sized freezer bag. When ready to frost, I removed cakes from the freezer and frosted immediately.)
3. To make the frosting, cream together the butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. In a small separate bowl, mix heavy cream with hot chocolate mix. With mixer on medium, add cream mixture to frosting until you've reached your desired consistency (I used it all).
4. To frost the cake, place cake on plate or whatever you plan to serve it on. Put approximately 3/4 cup frosting on one layer and spread evenly to cover. Top with second layer. Frost top and sides of cake until even and smooth. Decorate as desired. Cover and store at room temperature.