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Chocolate Butter Cake Tested Recipe

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Chocolate Butter Cake Recipe

This Chocolate Butter Cake has two layers of moist and tender butter cake that are sandwiched together and frosted with a satiny smooth chocolate frosting. It is the cake I make for birthdays, anniversaries and other festive occasions. All the garnish it needs is pretty candles and maybe some colorful sprinkles or fresh berries.

What makes this chocolate cake unique is that we use both unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder to achieve its rich chocolate flavor and color. Unsweetened chocolate is also known as baking, plain or bitter chocolate. This is chocolate in its rawest form and is known by professionals as 'chocolate liquor'. This means that unsweetened chocolate is just ground cocoa nibs that have been refined and contain between 50-55% cocoa butter (cocao fat). This type of chocolate contains no sugar so it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand. Scharffen Berger has a very nice unsweetened chocolate that contains 99% cacao that you can find it in most specialty food stores. But you can also use the unsweetened chocolate that comes in squares that is stocked in most grocery stores. Besides the unsweetened chocolate, we are also using unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder (not Dutch processed) in this recipe. It has an intense bitter flavor that makes it well suited for use in chocolate cakes. When adding the cocoa powder to the cake batter, we first need to dissolve it in boiling water and this is done to bring out its full flavor. You may also notice that this recipe contains a little extra leavening (baking powder and soda) and this is to counteract the drying and strengthening affect cocoa powder has when used in batters.

Once the cake layers have been baked and completely cooled, they are frosted with a delicious chocolate butter frosting. Again, we are using unsweetened chocolate and this, along with unsalted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, makes a smooth and buttery chocolate frosting that contrasts nicely with the deep chocolate colored cake.

 

Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, and line with parchment paper, two - 9 x 2 inch deep (23 x 5 cm) round baking pans.

In a stainless steel or heatproof bowl place the chopped unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until they have melted. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk to combine, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and beat to combine.

Add the milk and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from their pans and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.

Frosting:  Melt the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool. Then place the melted chocolate, milk, confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer.) Add the pieces of softened butter and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes. When the frosting starts to come together increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting for 1 - 2 minutes more or until it is of spreading consistency. If necessary, add more milk or sugar.

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake, top side down, on your serving plate and cover with a layer of frosting. Then place the second layer of cake, top side down, onto the first cake layer and then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Can garnish with fresh fruit or shaved chocolate.

Serves 8 - 10 people.

Sources:

Stern, Bonnie. 'Desserts'. Random House of Canada Limited. Toronto: 1988.

Yockelson, Lisa. 'Chocolate'. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New Jersey: 2005.

Chocolate Cake:

4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)

1 cup (240 ml) boiling water

2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml) milk

Frosting:

5 ounces (140 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup (80 ml) milk

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

4 cups (1 pound) (454 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted to remove lumps

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

 
 
     
 

 

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