Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream and a 30th Birthday Wish

These holidays must really be killing me this year b/c I have been lagging on posts like no body’s business. But that does not mean there hasn’t been massive commotion in my kitchen!

My sister’s 30th birthday was December 10 and I told her I would bake her cake. She chose, double chocolate. What can I say; she is a girl’s girl.

For the cake, I used my ‘go to’ chocolate cake recipe. I got the recipe from a local Michigan baker, Michelle Bommarito. My girlfriend Angel had her bake the cake for her wedding and let me tell you…by far the best wedding cake I ever had. It was dense, moist, and REALLY chocolate-y. Since then, I have been an absolute cake fanatic and went on a wild man hunt to find a similar recipe.

When I saw her on the food network months after my friend’s wedding…I swear it was like winning the cake lotto or something because now I have the recipe. I have the “golden ticket”!! (Who says that wedding cake should taste like dried up old gritty cake anyway? Ugh! Nothing worse.)

For the frosting, I based it on the same stipulation as the cake. I don’t skimp on flavor. When I make something, I go all out and it better taste good. I found a similar buttercream to that of my friend’s wedding cake in a book called Cake Love by Warren Brown. By far one of my favorite cake books and I can honestly say I have read it cover to cover….NUMEROUS times. The Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe is absolutely superb, it’s surprisingly easy to master, and I get compliments on my cakes/cupcakes EVERYTIME.

So here we go…a celebration to my sister’s 30th. May your next 30 years, "be the best days of your life." (And remember Kris…you may be getting old…but our big sister Sher will always be older than both of us. Lol! Jk !)

Love ya!

Rich Chocolate Cake
Recipe by: Michelle Bommarito from Food Network.com

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) cocoa powder (I used Valrhona, don’t mess around use the good stuff!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces French roast coffee, freshly brewed and cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
3 whole eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla –This was my addition

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a (2) 8-inch round cake pan or line cupcake pan with liners. (I used (2) 9-inch square pans--they were WAY too large for this recipe.

Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Reserve.

Brew a fresh pot of French roast coffee. Cool and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, and butter. Mix on medium speed until combined well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the brewed coffee and combine on low speed.

Once combined, add in the buttermilk and then the eggs, 1 at a time.. Continue to mix on low speed. The mixture may look ‘curdled’ …this is ok.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and fill half way up.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
Recipe from “Cake Love” by Warren Brown

5 egg whites, room temperature
10 oz. (1 ¼ cup) fine granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup cold water
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, broken into 1 tablespoon chunks

1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, add 1 cup of the sugar (save the ¼ cup of sugar for the egg white mixture) and the cold water. Stir with your candy thermometer and set up the thermometer to sit inside the saucepan so you can keep an eye on the temperature. Heat on medium heat until it reaches 245 degrees. (Just above the ‘soft ball’ stage).

a. Tip: Place the lid half way on the pot to collect the condensation so the sugar crystals don’t build up. To prevent it further, use water and a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan.

2. While the sugar syrup is heating, begin mixing your egg whites on high until you get stiff peaks. Once you get stiff peaks, add the ¼ cup of sugar while the mixer is still running.
3. Check on your syrup. It should be about 245 degrees now, if not, turn up the heat and KEEP AN EYE ON IT. You don’t want it going too far or else you will get caramel.
4. Once the syrup reaches 245 degrees, remove the thermometer. Keep the mixer running and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer along the side of the bowl. Be careful not to splash yourself with the hot liquid.

5. Keep the mixer running on high for 2 minutes, and then turn it down to medium speed for another 5 minutes or so until the meringue is cooled.

6. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time.
Mix until it’s fully incorporated. Add your flavorings. I added about 2-4 oz of dark chocolate.


AmyRuth said...

Totally Agree!!! No short calories on desserts here either. If you're having dessert have the best! Including all the goodies. You don't have to eat the WHOLE thing. I love Italian buttercream too. How can you not with the pounds of butter? he he Nice job and good job getting Michele's recipe.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving nice comments.

Sweet as Coco said...

haha! I know...you cant really skimp on calories but I usually only have one piece! I am ready for some normalcy here....all these holidays are making my butt expand! haa!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Bammarito...isn't she the one that has been on a few of the Food Network cake challenges? The first time I saw her, she was on the old Martha Stewart segmented show and was making a garden cake with things like radishes made out of marzipan. She is incredibly talented. I've no doubt the cake was delicious...sounds like a great time and great eats!
Happy 2009!

Sweet as Coco said...

YES! Michelle was on the Food Network cake challenge...I think 2 or more times. She is incredibly talented! I never saw that Martha segment! Ill have to keep an eye out for it.

Moi said...

Can I make this frosting the day before using?

Sweet as Coco said...

Moi- YES, you can make this up to a week ahead. Just put it in the refrigerator. Pull it out and bring to room temp, then beat it again until it gets fluffy again. Its best and easiest to work with right when its made though!

Jessica said...

I want to do this for a baby shower of about 25 people in sheet cake form not round....would it be ok if I just doubled the recipe?

Sweet as Coco said...

Jessica, you can definitely double the recipe. I have never made more than one but I would imagine doubling would work out just fine!

My life....Ruled by BOYS!! said...

Are the sticks of butter, 8 TBSP each? The butter I get is 4 TBSP per stick. I can not wait to make this for my friend's birthday!!!

Thank you!

Sweet as Coco said...

Yes, there are 8 TBSP in one stick of butter. Ill fix that so that its clear.

Sunscented said...

It looks like you used a quarter sheet pan- is that right? Could you tell me what the baking times for that are? Did you use one pan & cut it in half or two pans?

Also, the dark chocolate you added to the frosting, was that cocoa powder? Or did you grate a chocolate bar?

My sons 14th birthday is tomorrow and he requested chocolate cake with raspberry mousse filling. Thanks for your help and the great recipe!

Sweet as Coco said...

Sunscented- The bake time says about 25 minutes but depending on your oven you can always adjust it accordingly (ie check it early if you are more comfortable with that. Just check it with a toothpick or cake tester. When it comes out clean, it's done). Dark chocolate is a chocolate bar. Make sure its something higher than 60% cocoa (the darker the better, I usually use a 72-90%) You should chop the bar finely THEN melt it. Let it cool, then beat into the frosting. Hope this helps!

Sweet as Coco said...

Oh and I used 2- 9inch square pans. I would recommend 2 - 8 inch pans however. This really was not enough for the 9 inch pans; it made the cake layers too thin.

Rage2208 said...

What pan size do I have to use if I wanna make the Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Mousse Filling and Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Shavings and Chocolate Covered Strawberries ?? Thanks !!

Unknown said...

I tried the buttercream, total fail I don't know what I did wrong. It came out a little more runny then creamy.