Friday, December 24, 2010

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream - made December 21, 2010 from The Magnolia Bakery by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey (book #31)

It's hard for me to make a good chocolate layer cake.  They never come out moist enough for my taste.  The outer ring of the cake is just a trifle dry while the middle is moist.  I want uniform moistness in my cakes.  One answer would be to use the Magi-Cake strips to prevent the outer ring from baking faster than the center but I can't find the velcro version in stores and keep forgetting to order them online until I want to make a layer cake and by then it's too late.

I also have realized I don't make good chocolate frosting and after making this layer cake, I finally figured out why.  My deep dark secret when it comes to frosting?  I never measure how much powdered sugar I put in.  Blasphemy, I know.  Especially since baking is supposed to be such a science.  But when it comes to frostings, I go by taste and spreadable consistency.  Which actually works well for frostings that aren't chocolate like vanilla or cream cheese.  But chocolate?  Remember chocolate sets once it's cool.  So even though I might've liked the consistency of my chocolate frosting when I first mix it and frost with it, it invariably hardens to be more like thin fudge on the cake.  Which makes cutting cleanly somewhat problematic, not to mention eating it.  I solve the problem by microwaving the frosted cake for 20 seconds.  Then the cake is warm (and moist) and the frosting is just melt-y.  Those 20 seconds cover a multitude of baking sins.

For this particular recipe, it calls for making the cake in two 9-inch round cake layers.  When I mixed up the batter, there seemed to be quite a bit of it, too much for only 2 cake pans so I ended up pouring it into three 8-inch round cake pans.  Hence I got quite the towering cake once it was put together and frosted.  The taste was good but the texture could've been a little softer.  That could also have been my error since I didn't read the directions that closely and didn't whip the egg yolks for 2 minutes as instructed.  That would've put more air into the yolks/batter and made it lighter.  I don't mind a dense cake but definitely should've baked these a few minutes less.  Back to the cake drawing board.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1.     Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Grease and lightly flour two 9” round cake pans (or three 8” round cake pans), then line the bottoms with waxed paper or parchment circles.
2.    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
3.    Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 2 minutes.
4.    In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks, beating until well combined.  Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract, beating after each addition until smooth. 
5.    In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the batter.  Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.  When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake.

Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1.     In a medium-size bowl, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the milk and beat until smooth.
2.    Add the melted chocolate and beat well.  Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy and of desired consistency.

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