Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just About Perfect Chocolate Cake

I made this classic chocolate cake for my friend Sarah's birthday Saturday (also the day of the Iron Bowl..... ROLL TIDE!). It's from Tyler Florence's cookbook Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen. This was actually the first cake recipe I ever made from scratch when I made it for my dad's birthday a few years ago.

It's a very classic chocolate cake, moist, with a nice, rich chocolate flavor. There is a frosting recipe to go with it, but my attempt fell flat - it came out much too thin to use as a frosting, more like a glaze, and I ended up going with Betty Crocker instead.

The cake recipe, however, is fantastic. For now, it is my go-to chocolate cake recipe. I'd like to try some variations, like maybe using coffee or buttermilk in place of the water in the recipe, but this cake is also delicious just the way it is. I wish I'd taken a picture of the inside; it was light, fluffy, and almost had a reddish tinge to it, like Red Velvet Cake. It's the perfect cake for a birthday or for any time. What's your favorite type of cake to have on your birthday?

Triple Chocolate Threat
adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen by Tyler Florence
serves 8-12
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Prepare 2 round 9" cake pans by coating the hottom and sides very well with cooking spray and flour (or use Baker's Joy like I did and save yourself a step). Line the pans with parchment paper by tracing around the edge of them and cutting out a circle that will fit perfectly in the bottom of your pan. Then, spray the tops of the parchment. This will ensure your cakes come out.
3) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
4) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and beat for 3 minutes to incorporate.
5) Beat in each egg on at a time and then add vanilla extract until well blended.
6) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 3 minutes.
7) Gradually add in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the ice water. Beat for 1 minute after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the cake's structure. Mix until the batter is smooth.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it equally, and smoothing out the top. The pans should be two thirds full.
9) Place the pans on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and/or the cake springs back when touched.
10) Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack until completely cool. This is a very important step! Do not attempt to take the cakes out of the pan while they're still even remotely warm, as you risk this very light cake falling apart.
11) Once cool, turn them out and remove the parchment paper. Frost with your favorite frosting of choice!

I would post Tyler's frosting recipe here, but it didn't turn out well for me and I didn't care for it all that much. I used Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate frosting, but you could use your favorite buttercream recipe or whatever blows your skirt up. I decorated my cake easily by pressing handfuls of mini chocolate chips onto the sides.
Make this for a friend or family member's next birthday.... they'll love you for it!

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