Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Spring Birthday Cake - a Chocolate and Coffee lover's dream!

Right before we left on our trip I received this amazing box of goodies from Joy the Baker and King Arthur Flour. When we got back, it was my mother-in-law's birthday, and I knew this would be an amazing opportunity to use these new treats, and create something that I hoped she would love!

With these goodies came a recipe from Joy for Deep Dark Mocha Cupcakes. They sounded amazing! I also had a recipe for Annie's (of Annie's Eats) Chocolate Frosting bookmarked in my inbox (I am currently on a hunt for the best chocolate frosting recipe).  Deep dark chocolate cake + coffee buttercream filling + chocolate sour cream frosting?? Oh man, this was going to be good!

I was so excited to make this cake, it just felt sooo right :) The 4 weeks with no baking or cooking (jet-lag attacked us when we got back and I was useless for an entire week, oops!) might have contributed to the 'excitement' factor a bit as well.

I doubled the Deep Dark Cupcake recipe and baked it in two 8" round pans for 30 - 35 minutes. The cake came out perfect! This chocolate cake recipe is amazing, it is definitely at the top of my list with the Devil's Food Cupcakes recipe right now.  I decided to make the cake 3 layers by cutting each of the cakes in half since I really liked the height it produced, so the remaining fourth layer was sacrificed as breakfast that day. Yum.

I also doubled the Coffee Buttercream recipe from Joy, I had just enough leftover after filling the cake to pair with our breakfast layer.  You could also go for thicker layers in the cake as the coffee buttercream paired perfectly with the chocolate cake, or it would be just enough to fill a four layer cake if you decided to use all of the cake (and not eat the last layer for breakfast. Don't be like me).

The entire cake was then iced with the Chocolate Frosting recipe from Annie's Eats.  And you know what? She was totally right, this is the best chocolate frosting I have ever had. It is slightly tangy from the addition of cream cheese and sour cream, but still sweet enough to top off your favourite cupcakes or cake.  It does take a bit longer to make than the traditional American chocolate buttercream, but please trust me when I say that it is completely worth it!

The cake was then topped off with some fresh yellow flowers (Hello Spring!) and voila!  Here is one insanely tasty cake, perfect for an adult's birthday. The coffee buttercream wasn't overpowering, it had just the right amount of 'kick' without taking over the flavour of the entire cake.

I think this would also be amazing in cupcake form. Deep Dark Chocolate cupcakes filled with Coffee Buttercream and topped with Chocolate Sour Cream frosting? Yes please! I think I'll need to make those a reality sooner than later.  

In the meantime, whip up this cake! Please :D I think you will be glad that you did.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream filling and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
- Recipe from Joy the Baker. The original recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but I doubled it (listed in the 'doubled form' below) to fill two 8" round cake pans

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup double-dutch cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp instant expresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray two 8" round baking pans with baking spray (or coat with butter and flour)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, expresso powder, and salt
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, buttermilk, and vanilla
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, but be careful not to over-mix. The batter is ready when it has just come together
  5. Split the batter between the two prepared cake pans, and level the batter with a spoon or off-set spatula
  6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake
  7. Let cool completely before torting and icing
Coffee Buttercream
- Recipe from Joy the Baker. This recipe is doubled from the original and is enough to fill the 8" cake
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp hot water
  • 2 tsp instant expresso powder
  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 2 cups of the icing sugar until thick and light in colour (an egg beater or stand mixer would work the best)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, hot water, and expresso until dissolved
  3. Add the expresso mixture to the large bowl and beat well
  4. Add the remaining 4 cups of sugar slowly and beat until smooth and fluffy
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- This recipe is from Annie's Eats.  It is amazing.
  • 9.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp sour cream
  1. In the bowl of a double broiler, melt the chocolate by stirring constantly until smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let cool until almost room temperature
  2. In a large bowl (of a stand mixer, or using an egg-beater), beat the cream cheese and butter for about 4 minutes, until pale and fluffy
  3. Slowly add the icing sugar, cocoa, and salt, mixing until well incorporated
  4. Add the melted chocolate, and then the sour cream
  5. Beat the frosting until it is smooth and fluffy
  6. Use immediately (the frosting will begin to set, which is amazing for transportation!)

  1. Using a cake leveler or a serrated knife, cut each cake in half length-wise so that you end up with four 8" round cakes
  2. Set aside one layer (you can make cake balls, freeze it to use as a cake layer later, or eat it! Taste testing AKA quality control is very important)
  3. Place one layer of cake on a cake board (or a plate/cake-stand) and spread just under 1/2 of the coffee buttercream on top of the cake
  4. Top with a second layer of cake, and frost with some more coffee buttercream
  5. Add a third layer of cake on top of the coffee buttercream (preferably upside-down, this way you have a nice layer to frost that won't produce as many crumbs)
  6. Using the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, give the cake a quick crumb coat, and then set it in the refrigerator for 5 - 10 minutes
  7. Now slather on the rest of that amazing chocolate frosting! I used my off-set spatula to create some texture on the sides and the top of the cake
  8. Finish the cake off with some chocolate sprinkles, and some fresh cut flowers
  9. Enjoy!