My good friend Mark called me on Thursday and was already sort of drunk and said he was going to bake a cake. I told him if he took pictures he could be a guest post ha! Thanks Mark- I wish I could have been there to try some!
A little background Mark and I have been bffs since 9th grade when we got sat next to each other in Science. Since then we have gone to college in different cities but Mark has always been there for me over these past 12 years (wow). Anyway Mark has evolved into Martha (or Marktha) Stewart with peen and he is excellent at organizing, baking, decorating, and pretty much anything crafty. Mark this post is in Penn State blue for you :)
|Mark and I at my rehearsal dinner|
Here is the recipe and Mark takes it from here. Please be sure to read his tips following the recipe :)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for pans
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 T baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk
Dark Chocolate frosting (follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter two 9-by-2 inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes to make level. Place one layer on a cake plate, and spread top with ¾ cup dark chocolate frosting. Place the other cake layer on top. Spread the entire cake with remaining frosting, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion. Cake can be kept in the refrigerator, covered with a cake dome, for up to 3 days. Let cake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut)
6 T Dutch-process cocoa powder
6T boiling water
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off the heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
The beverage of choice was a Pink Russian. Delicious and easy. Mix equal parts Chambord, good Vodka, and cream, shake over ice and strain into a glass.
The key to any good cake, for me, is something with lots of butter, and this fit the bill. There were 2 sticks in the batter, and 3 in the icing. It should be room temperature!
The recipe I used was from one of my favorite books, “Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.” It starts by having you butter the pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the parchment, then flour. A couple tips: The easiest way I find to fit the parchment paper perfectly to the pan, simply place the pan on top of the paper and trace the pan with a very sharp knife. If you get the tip of the knife slightly under the pan it will glide along the edge and cut out a perfect circle. Second, butter the parchment before you put it in the pan so you can hold it still.
You start the batter similar to a cookie dough and cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. It will be semi stiff.
Next you alternate the sifted dry ingredients with milk. Another tip: To prevent over-mixing but still getting a well mixed product I like to make my first addition of dry ingredients the largest so the last one is pretty small and incorporates quicker. The end batter is pretty stiff, and it can actually hold the beater upright.
Divide the batter equally between the two pans and smooth with an offset spatula. VERY IMPORTANT. Pay extra attention to make sure the batter is perfectly level. The cake rises and sets the same way it was put in. It does not level itself out in the oven. I didn’t do it perfectly and my cakes came out slightly uneven and required extra trimming.
The icing was really easy, although I wish it was a bit thicker. You creamed the 3 sticks of butter with powdered sugar, and then add 1 pound of cooled melted semisweet chocolate. Then you add a slurry of cocoa powder and water. This adds an intense chocolate flavor, which by itself makes the icing kind of bitter so I’m not sure if I would add that again (this could also what makes the icing thinner) . However, the intense chocolate flavor is balanced AMAZINGLY with the sweetness of the cake.
Final tip: if you are going to ice the cake directly on the beautiful platter your maker (note from Jules- I am what Mark calls his maker, ala True Blood, because he says I made him gay :p) bought you, slide a few pieces of parchment under the cake and carefully slide them out when you’re done icing for a clean platter.
To continue the drinking I served the cake with a delicious champagne drink consisting of champagne, Midori, and a cherry
|Maker bought champagne flutes too :)|
Hope everyone enjoyed Mark's guest post - Thanks again Markie!