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Thursday, September 24, 2009

BB: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

This week for Barefoot Bloggers we had the second of two cakes. I made this earlier in the month for a party to honor a friend who is getting married. Since she loves chocolate and this cake was on my To Do list for the month, I thought it would be a great fit for this special occasion.

As I started making the cake, I was pleased to see it was one of the easy recipes... combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other, them mix together. To me, nothing is worse than having to add each ingredient one at a time to a whirring stand mixer. I love easy. At the end, as I added the coffee, I realize that this was quite similar to my favorite chocolate cake recipe, Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake (which I used here for S'mores Cupcakes). A quick look at the two recipes shows that they are nearly identical! Slight variations in baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract and the use of hot coffee or hot water are all that separate these two recipes.

I made 1.5 times the original recipe because I have 9 inch cake pans and hate having flat cakes. I divided the batter between those two pans, but it proved to be too much batter as the cake rise quite a bit. Mine collapsed a little in the center, so I should have reserved some of that batter for cupcakes.

Ultimately, I loved the lift that these cakes had, but love the ease of using regular milk and water in the Hershey's recipe. I'll probably tweak the two recipes together the next time I need chocolate cake. Both recipes make truly fantastic, moist, rich, chocolatey cake. The frosting was very easy to work with, spread smoothly (even with my poor decorating skills) and was a good amount of chocolate and sweet.

I topped the cake with lazy chocolate covered strawberries and white chocolate shavings. Everyone loved it!

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home on pages 165-166
Chosen by Mary of Passionate Perseverance

  • 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 the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake 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. With 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 or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 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 it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan 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.


Lisa said...

BEAUTIFUL JOB!!! I didn't get to either cake this month, but yours sure looks inspiring. Nice work!

Smitten Sugar said...

wow you did a great job! I take a slice please. The chocolate covered strawberries are beautiful on top!

Chris said...

I have been wanting to make this for years. Glad it worked out well. Your cake is gorgeous!

Amy said...

That came out so pretty! I love it!

Jade said...

Beautiful!!! It looks so good, I can't wait to try this one!

Macaroni and Cheesecake said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!

BMK said...

Absolutely beautiful. I'm going to keep in mind your decorating ideas next time I make this one!

elly said...

It turned out beautifully!

Karin said...

I am seriously scanning kitchen for ingredients for this cake NOW! Looks great!

Unknown said...

oh my - this looks so good. I want to jump through the screen and bite it!!
although i will add that it almost looks too beautiful to cut (almost!)

Olive said...


WOW! your cake is so pretty.. deliciously pretty, love the strawberries and the scroll piping..
hands down, the most beautiful of all the cakes I've seen today :)

Yudith said...

OMG! I love it, thanks for the idea on using strawberries on top, I may do that on mine this weekend for DH's surprise party!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...


DeltaWhiskey said...

Your (poor) decorating skills? My goodness! That thing looks like a work of art! I really liked the coffee in the recipe, but I'm sure the milk would have been great too.

Unknown said...

That is really a great presentation. I also tried these as cupcakes and were fun and different too!

Dolce said...

Your cake is a beauty! That's a definite achievement...

Maria said...

WOW!!! This looks so, so good! Great Job!!

Jennifer said...

Great job! Its perfect and so pretty!

Peabody said...

Turned out gorgeous!

Asmita said...

I recently baked this for a friend's surprise birthday party. People just raved about it. I used valrhona cocoa powder that i found in wholefoods in new york city when on holiday. Unfortunately the whole foods in tampa Fl, does not keep these cocoa powders. next time I shall try it with pernigotti.
I love your idea of decorating it with chocolate dipped strawberries. Great job.

Anonymous said...

The cake is beautiful. I have made this recipe many times (cupcakes) and while it is moist and delicious, they don't rise at all, but come out very flat. I even added a bit more baking powder. Have you had this experience?

Stefany said...

I only made this cake once, because I prefer the ease of Hershey's perfectly chocolate cake over this one. From my notes, I see that the cake rose for me, but that might not translate the same when made in cupcake form. Some recipes rise while others don't, just by their nature. I would check to make sure your baking powder and soda are really fresh, since that can prevent a cake that normally rises well, from doing so.