Danger Cake

Ok, so if you're a regular reader (thanks and yay!) you may recall that I am doing this whole no refined sugar and flour thing, trying to eat a little better and make better choices.  I'm heading into week 4 and I'm feeling pretty good - I haven't been perfect about it, but I'm down 4 lbs and that's a happy day in my book.

BUT, you also may know that I love - adore - am obsessed with baking.  And baking with honey and whole wheat pastry flour isn't as fun as the refined stuff.  I'M SORRY.  It's just not.  So I jumped at the chance to make a meal and a dessert for a friend of mine who just had a baby.

I call this "You Just Had a Baby" Chocolate Layer Cake.  Or, in my case, DANGER CAKE.  This cake is so good there is no way you can take a few bites and walk away.  Oh no, my friends.  This is a stick your head in the mixing bowl and lick it clean kind of cake recipe.  

The big fluffy layers - the creamy, coffee infused chocolate buttercream.  It. Is. Heaven.  I am not exaggerating even a little bit.  In fact, the first time I made this cake, the layers rose so high they spilled over my cake pans.  It required a trip to my favorite place, Sur La Table for deep dish 8" cake pans.  And was it ever worth it.

This is an Ina Garten recipe that was then perfected by Food & Wine magazine, so you know it has to be divine.  If you don't trust me, you trust Ina, right?

  It's an easy recipe to make, and it tastes like you spent hours and hours on it.  Win Win!

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules                                       

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper. 

4. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water. Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.

6. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Make sure to lick some frosting off the spoon...