For some reason I really wanted to make a good impression on this particular Iron Chef. Maybe it had something to do with a local magazine called Richmond Magazine featuring us in a little article in one of their upcoming issues. Or, maybe it had something to do with coffee being our secret ingredient and knowing how well coffee can play up a dessert. Nah, it had to do with Richmond Magazine. So, I went searching for the best recipe. I tried many, but ultimately went with this cake which was featured on one of Barefoot Contessa's Food Network episodes. I actually requested this cake for my birthday back in March. So, I had a pretty good idea how it would taste and look. It's a pretty cake and it definitely tastes wonderful. In my opinion, you can taste the coffee in the chocolate icing and a tad in the cake. The cake itself is very moist and rich. I'm not sure who Beatty is, but this is a splendid cake!
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. The recipe indicates placing parchment paper into an 8 inch cake pan and butter and flour the parchment paper. First of all, I had a 9 inch cake pan and the parchment paper was driving me nuts. So, I dusted cocoa powder onto the cake pan after spraying the cake pan with cooking oil spray. I will say I had a bit of trouble getting the cake out of the pan after baking. So, using the parchment paper probably would have been a good idea.
I used a sifter and sifted the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of my electric mixer. I used a paddle attachment mixed on low speed the above ingredients. Next, in a separate bowl I combined the 2 eggs, the shaken buttermilk, the oil, and vanilla and stirred to incorporate. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry at low speed. Then, I slowly added the coffee stirring just to combine. Then I stopped the mixture and scraped together the ingredients with a spatula. I did use espresso instead of regular coffee because that’s what I had in my pantry and I think it turned out just fine. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I believed mine took about 30 minutes to bake. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes. Then place them on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Place the one layer of cake flat side up on your cake plate and spread with your prepared frosting. Then, place the second layer of cake round side up and spread the frosting evenly on top of the cake and around the sides.
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place in a sauce pan set over another sauce pan over simmering water. Stir until it is just melted and set aside to cool. I just used regular old semi-sweet baking chocolate from the grocery store. Next, I fitted my electric mixture with the paddle and beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and then the vanilla and continue your beating for 3 minutes. Then turn the mixture to low and gradually add in the sifted confectioner’s sugar beating at medium speed until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula to get it all incorporated into the mix. Next, dissolve the instant coffee into 2 tsp of hot tap water. On low speed add the chocolate and coffee mixture, and I just let mine mix for a couple seconds. Then I took a spatula and finished mixing it all together.
(Click here for printable recipe)