There is nothing so wickedly good as chocolate cake for breakfast. There is something about pushing the fork through a layer of cake then a stripe of rich frosting... It's cold, it's chocolate-y,and with milk it's ... Nirvana! . But to do this one must either have a terrific bakery cake or a terrific homemade cake, yes? So,I went on a Quest to find the best Chocolate Cake recipe. What a monumental task. It felt like the Quest for the Holy Grail!
As we all know, Chocolate Cake for Breakfast is usually leftover from the night before. This is especially good if it's YOUR birthday cake because after all, it's your responsibility to eat it. If it's your husband's you sorta have dibs through marriage. Be sure and save most of it for him, however,--or you may end up with a fork in your heart and a guilty expression on your face.
The frosting for this cake had to be really special. I envisioned something that tasted like fudge, but was much more creamy. I tried 5 different recipes. I ended up using Larry Hayden's cake recipe from "The Barefoot Contessa". But I wanted to find a less expensive frosting recipe than his. Sybill Olson graciously sent me her recipe for Rich Chocolate Frosting and it was just the thing. I wanted to sit down and eat half the bowl! Here's a slightly adapted version--thanks Sibby!
Note: You will need two 8-inch cake pans. If you only have 9-inch pans, do the fractions and increase the ingredients by 1/2.
Chocolate Buttercream Cake:
1 3/4 C. flour
1 C good cocoa powder (I recommend Droste--it's mild and not too expensive)
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 C unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 C sugar
2/3 light brown sugar
2 X-tra large eggs at room temperature (put them in a bowl of warm water for 10 min.)
2 t vanilla
1 C buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 C sour cream (I just used 1/2 C buttermilk instead)
2 T brewed coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with buttered wax paper or baking parchment. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approx. 5 minutes. (I have a small hand mixer and regular beaters work fine). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Tip: never crack eggs over the mixing bowl, do it over a cereal dish instead so you don't get shells in the batter by mistake. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended.
Divide batter between two pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, remove from the pans and allow to finish cooling.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
4 oz. good unsweetened dark chocolate (Scharfenberger is fine)
1 cup, 2 sticks, real butter
2 eggs (at room temperature)
2 t. vanilla
2 t. lemon juice
3 1/2 C unsifted powdered sugar
In a double-boiler or a 1 qt. saucepan over low heat, heat unsweetened chocolate and butter until melted ans smooth. Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes to cool chocolate mixture slightly. Do not let chocolate solidify! In small bowl with mixer, beat egg until mixed; beat in chocolate mixture, then vanilla and lemon juice (which is what makes this frosting awesome). Beat until smooth. The mixture may look a little lumpy and strange-- that's fine, keep beating until all is incorporated, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually beat in powdered sugar. For the last cup and a half of powdered sugar--increase speed of mixer and whip it until it's the consistency of whipped cream. If you must wait to frost your cake, beat frosting with a mixer for a minute or two before you frost the cake to make air bubbles disappear.