'there will be cake.'

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

try to ignore the goo-covered mess that has become one of my 
favorite cook books.
that's how much i love it and use it, 
that i don't even bother to wash my hands while using it. 
but seriously.  
i have to share.
i told some of my fave chicks today at our playdate,
that i made this AMAZING cake and wanted to bring them a piece,
but i decided against it,
because i couldn't part with it. 
i'm a terrible friend.
and a terrible share-er.
i LITERALLY had the knife-in-hand, ready to cut two big fat slices,
and put it down and covered it back up.:)
i'm obsessed with chocolate cake.
i think i've tried every piece of chocolate cake from every restaurant i've ever been too.
none stick out in my mind like this one does.
(although, bar la grassa in minneapolis has a pretty slick one,)
this is by far, THE best.
and apparently, so coveted that i can't even bring myself to share it.
why's it so special?  
i don't know.  could be the cup of coffee in the batter 
or the coffee grounds in the BUTTER frosting!
either way, amazing.
so amazing, that i'm going to forego a deep, meaningful and heart-wrenching post,
to share this recipe.
like my mother-in-law always says,
'if you can read?  you can cook!'
these words have brought me much courage and strength over the years,
as i've slowly transformed from culinarily-challenged 
to a 'decent' cook.
and if these yahoos can make this, so can you.
(and yes, we finally squeezed some of gracie's shennanigans into a ponytail.
did someone say vera de milo?)
day #2 of spring break and trying to fill lazy afternoons while charlie sleeps,
with SOME excitement.
how about a cooking class with a crazy mommy?!
(they actually did pretty well.  i tried hard not to micro-manage.
jack read the recipe while grace dumped things in.
i helped with the fractions.
and made a mess passing out ingredients.
that's how i bake, much to brian's dismay.
and let me just say,
i'm so thankful i have a camera and love using it.
so i have proof when the kids are older,
that we DID do fun things together, 
that not EVERY moment with mommy was filled with chores, snuggling and 
'go play with your sister, mommy's busy.'
so hear goes the cake-bake fest.
ina garten {barefoot contessa} BEATTY'S CHOCOLATE CAKE
butter for greasing the pans
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour (don't be silly, use the real stuff.)
2 C sugar (again, use real sugar)
3/4 C cocoa powder (i use the good stuff, ghirardelli)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C buttermilk, shaken
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 XL eggs (i just use large), at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C freshly brewed coffee
homemade chocolate frosting (see recipe below)
preheat oven to 350.
butter 2 8" round cake pans and flour (to keep cake from sticking.)
sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder & salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment & mix on low speed until combined.
in another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs & vanilla.
with the mixer on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl as you go.
pour the batter into the prepared pans, evenly.  (don't be alarmed if it seems they're pure liquid and runny.  it should be.  not thick.
bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
cool IN the pans for 30 minutes
turn out on to a cooling rack and cool completely.
when ready to frost, place one layer flat side up, on a platter/pedestal.
spread the top of that cake with frosting.
place the SECOND cake on top of that one, rounded side up, and evenly frost ALL of it.
mmmmmmmm. . .

now for the FROSTING:

6 oz GOOD, semisweet chocolate (don't be cheap.  get ghirardelli or callebaut.)
2 PHAT sticks of unsalted butter (so worth it,) at room temp
1 XL egg yolk (again, i use large,) at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C sifted confectioners' sugar
1 TBS instant coffee powder (this is what i use. . .)
i'm not sure what the big thing is with the 'double-boiler' method,
but if ina tells me to do it, i will.
she's my hero.
is there anything more beautiful, 
than chocolate?
yes.  chocolate melting. on the stove.
and, well, maybe this guy.
but hey, it's ok.  because brian knows about the obsession.
(patrick, not the chocolate.)  
and he kind of looks like him anyway, so it works out.
tuna wakes just in time for the baking.
and trying to keep his meat fingers out of the chocolate,
was like trying to keep a fish out of water. . .or something.
just like mommy.  he's drawn too all things sweet and cakey.
oh.  i thought of something else JUST as beautiful as chocolate.
my DAUGHTER, decorating a chocolate cake.
the BEST part of baking.
{and this cake pedestal is one of my most favorite things i've purchased recently, 
from my favorite store downtown stillwater, rose mille.  a vintage cake pedestal.}
let me just reiterate, this is NOT my recipe.  just one of my fave's,
again, it's ina garten's, otherwise known as barefoot contessa.
i adore her.
i love her and her cooking and style so much,
that i want to go the hampton's and snuggle on the couch between her and jeffrey (the husband who she DOTES on in most episodes,) tell stories, sip hot tottie's, (i don't know, is that what they drink in the hampton's?) laugh heartily and take a nap nestled in her button-down silk shirt.
ok.  that got weird.
her shows make we want to cook (because her stuff is so flavorful, so elegant, but SO easy,) and then take a nap.
her deep, soothing, calm voice puts me to sleep.
happy cake baking!
if you can find a better one, let me know.:)
 it's all mine.
(well, and the kids, of course.)
(and that little clump in the corner?  that's where my stomach told my brain, 
'dude.  you better stop or you're going to vomit.  just put the fork down.'


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