Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

I made this cake for my little sister's birthday. She only has a mild obsession with shoes...

The unique thing about this cake recipe is the way in which you mix it. Rather than creaming the butter and sugar, then adding the wet and dry ingredients alternately, you first mix the dry ingredients with the butter, then add the wet ingredients in timed stages. It is called a "high ratio" cake. Following the mixing times closely is important to the end result of the cake.

The frosting is just my standard "go-to" recipe for buttercream. You can substitute any type of extract you like, to change up the flavor. In this particular cake, I used coconut extract (at the request of the birthday girl), but feel free to use whatever you're in the mood for.

High Ratio Chocolate Butter Cake
Adapted from Not So Humble Pie
Makes two tall 8" or 9" cakes or one 13x9 cake

2 3/4 cups (318g) cake flour (can sub all-purpose) (or 13 oz Soft White wheat flour)
3/4 cups (62g) dutch processed cocoa (I used "natural" processed)
2 cups (400g) sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 tablespoon (17g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, divided
4 large eggs (200g)
2 large egg whites (56g)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

(If using two 8" or 9" pans, you will need them to have 3-in high sides, otherwise the cake will rise over the top. Feel free to use 3 or 4 of the shorter sided pans instead. Or you can opt for a 13x9 cake, or cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Greese cake pan(s) and line with parchment paper.

Lightly beat eggs, egg whites, vanilla, and half of milk in a bowl. Mix until incorporated. Set aside

In stand mixer bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. (Note: If using the wheat flour, sifting may remove the bran. You can just dump the bran back in after sifting, or just sift everything but the flour, and stir it in afterward.)

Equip your mixer with whisk attachment. Add butter and remaining milk. Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 4 minutes), scraping bowl as needed.

The mixture may start out rough looking, then turn thick and paste-like. After beating, add one-third of the egg mixture and mix on medium for two minutes. Add another third and beat for two minutes on medium (the mixture will start to increase in volume). Add last third of the egg mixture, and beat for two minutes on medium speed.

Pour batter into pan(s) and level it out smooth. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back slightly when touched in the center. If it feels under-baked after touching, add 5 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and cool completely in pan(s) on wire wrack. (The cake should pull away from he sides of the pan as it cools, but if it doesn't, just run a knife around the edges to release). After cake is cooled, remove from pan(s) and peel parchment paper off.

Once ready to frost, level top of cake and spread with frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Wilton
Makes about 3 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (about 1 lb.)
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar gradually. After all the sugar is added, beat for 1 minute. Scrape bowl as needed. Once mixed, if frosting appears dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk.

For whipped frosting: After frosting is mixed, switch to whisk attachment and beat for 1 minute on medium.

Frosting can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Just rewhip slightly before using.


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