Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chocolate Velvet

Just the sound of it makes me drool. I have never been in love with a cake before, but this one, this one might be different. The one. The cake of my dreams. And the one my husband begged me to make for his birthday.


Sam is kind of annoying about birthdays, and, well, holidays in general. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and you know what he said? Tires. I'm not kidding. And this happens every time I try to get him something. Clothes. Socks. Dude. So this year, I decided to give him a cake. And a trip to Disneyland. It was our first time back since before the summer, since our annual passes are blacked out from June to August. We had a great time in Radiator Springs!


It was too early for some grub, but Flo's Cafe sure had some tasty-lookin' chow!


Looks like we've found alternative, albeit hippy, fuel choices!


We went cruising through Radiator Springs with the ever darling Sally.

Unfortunately, our day was cut short when Sam, overcome with the heat and dizzy from our whirl on the California Screamin', got hit with a terrible wave of nausea and our day at Disneyland was cut severely short. But that's okay! I got to work on the cake that is my masterpiece, my Sistine Chapel, if you will. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little. But it was my first ever multi-layered cake, and it made my heart stop a couple of times.


Chocolate Velvet Cake with Instant Chocolate Buttercream
from Martha Stewart (Of course!)

For the Cake:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and the rest milk, set out for 5 minutes to curdle)


For the Icing:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 jars (7.5 ounces each) marshmallow cream
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.



In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until the mix is nice and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time until well mixed.


Uno...


Dos...


And tres!

Now, beat in the vanilla.


Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in sections, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.





Pour the batter into the pans. It should have the consistency of chocolate pudding. So creamy and yummy! You can definitely bet I licked that bowl clean!

Bake the cakes for about 25 to 30 minutes. Don't forget to check them with a toothpick or a knife to see if they're ready!

Cool them in the pans for about 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

While they're cooling, start on the buttercream frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and marshmallow cream until they're nice and fluffy.


I started out by hand, but quickly realized my folly and transferred it to mixer. Even though the butter is soft, getting it to fluff up is a painstaking venture. You're best off whipping it in a mixer or with a handheld. Trust me.


Now mix in the cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water.


Cocoa.


Melted chocolate. You just know something is going to be amazing when it calls for cocoa and melted semi-sweet chocolate.


Finished product should look like this. It's so fluffy!!!

If it's too thin, refrigerate it for about 5 minutes.

Now the hard part. I have never before in my entire life attempted a multi-layered cake. Make both layers flat by skimming a knife over the top of each cake.

Place one layer on your cake platter. We didn't exactly have a cute, fancy cake plate, so I whipped out the cutest cutting board we've got and improvised.

Spread the top with about 1 cup buttercream.


Place second layer on top. I swear, my heart almost stopped at this point. Who knew making a cake could be so terrifying? Sam, darling that he is, helped me to carefully inch the second layer off of the plate and onto the bottom layer. If you've never built a two-layer cake before, make sure the part being slid off the plate is supported, or the whole thing will crumble to pieces and you'll feel rotten. Luckily, that didn't happen. I think it was the Birthday Magic.


Frost the entire cake with the remaining buttercream. Make it look pretty! When you do the sides, you can hold up your spatula and turn the cake, adding more frosting as you go. That's the easiest way I found to work it!



And now, for its intended purpose: being lit on fire!



I'm surprised we didn't have a fire extinguisher ready! I kid, I kid. He's not that old. Just... older than me.


Another birthday success! I just need to top this for next year!


But for now, I'm gonna go back for more cake. :) Enjoy!

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