Friday, March 9, 2012

Cocoa Layer Cake

Well, it has been busy the last few weeks. Pancake breakfasts, gourmet cupcakes, and a conference luncheon have kept us busy. We have tried a few delicious dinners, ones that I, of course, neglected to photograph. I have been thinking lately of just posting recipes that I have been frequently looking for, without any little blurb about the endless thoughts that float around in my mind. I also have three or four more
restaurant reviews to write, from our trip to Napa, but I really don't know where to start. So, I guess I will begin with whats fresh in my mind.
I have made this cocoa layer cake quite a bit frequently, and I have to keep finding the recipe, over and over again. I had been using a devil's food cake, found here, but once I tried this recipe, I decided I am never going back. This cake is rich, dense and moist, with a deep chocolate flavor, satisfying any chocolate-y craving you might have. I made it for my little nephew's birthday, filled with fresh whipped cream, bananas, and homemade salted caramel sauce.
I made it again for a little Dr. Seuss party, but my cocoa mixture was too hot and melted the butter. The cake was far too dense, almost fudge-like, but, strangely, no one complained.
I made it again recently, for my cupcake explosion. I topped them with chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, and then a few more I filled with chocolate cherry mousse and topped with almond buttercream. I'm still not tired of it. In fact, for the last three or four days I have been  thinking about chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Sad, right? That I sit around and think about food. I know. What's worse is I dream about it sometimes.

Cocoa Layer Cake
from Epicurious

  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 cup luke warm water, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (spooned into cups to measure, then leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten to blend
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
·         For cake:
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper rounds; butter parchment. Whisk cocoa and 1/2 cup warm water in small bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 1/2 cup water in another small bowl. Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and butter in large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy (mixture will appear granular), about 5 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add beaten eggs, then beat until smooth and fluffy, about 15 seconds.  add vanilla and cocoa mixture; beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter among pans (about 1 3/4 cups each).
·         Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, reversing pans halfway through baking, about 18 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks.

For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 400. Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners. Fill cups with 1/3 cup of batter. Bake for 18 minutes, switching the cupcakes halfway through.

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