Are we really in the second half of 2012 already? It seems not so long ago that I baked this super delicious chocolate cake on New Year’s Day. It’s Barefoot Contessa’s famous chocolate cake recipe that’s always sure to be a hit. You can’t go wrong with this recipe. I’ve made this cake more times than I can remember, and each time, the results have been consistently excellent. You get a really soft and moist cake perfectly complemented by the velvety smooth and silky chocolate frosting. I added the cupcakes just as an afterthought—plain vanilla iced with vanilla frosting.
I baked the cake in three 8” round pans instead of two as the recipe calls for. The batter will be loose and will rise a lot, so you will surely get some spillage if you use only two pans. It’s so easy and quick to make, if you’re pressed for time, turn to this winner and you’ll make everyone think you slaved in the kitchen all day.
Chocolate Cake – from Barefoot Contessa
Butter for greasing the pans
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
¾ cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three (recipe calls for two, but I used three) 8-inch x 2-inch round pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
- Sift the flour, sugar cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. While mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, and repeat. Place the third layer rounded side up and spread the rest of the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 extra large egg yolk at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
- Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
- Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water.
- On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.