Tuesday Treat/Baking for the Firemen – Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing and Sugared Coconut Chips

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Time to bake for the firemen again and I decided to make a cake!
Chocolate, of course ’cause is there any other kind?


I found a recipe in Baking by Dorie Greenspan, for Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I needed 2 sticks of unsalted butter softened so I set them out earlier to do so.
I melted 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate and set it to cool.

First up – preheat the oven to 350°

Then butter the cake pans and line them with parchment rounds. I LOVE parchment rounds. I can’t tell you how easy they make my baking life.

To a bowl I added:  2 cups of all purpose flour (I used King Arthur, of course!), 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.

I whisked that together and set it aside.

Then the softened butter (2 sticks/8oz) went into my mixing bowl with 1 1/2 cups of sugar.

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I beat that until it was fluffy and then added, one at a time, two eggs and two egg yolks. Scraping down the batter as needed. Then in went 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.

Lowering the mixer speed to low I now gathered my dry ingredients and 1 cup of buttermilk.  I added the flour mixture and the buttermilk back and forth starting and ending with the flour mixture. The photos did not come out of this process so sadly, I have none.

Now I took the batter and added in the cooled, melted bittersweet chocolate and folded it in with a rubber spatula. Which left me with a very thick, rich batter.

I divided it between the two prepared pans and put it in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes.

After the cakes came out of the oven they sat on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then I took them out of the pan to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting.
I hate super-sweet frostings so went for a classic buttercream. The kind where soft ball sugar is poured into whipped egg yolks. Yeah, I know. I’m crazy.

I found the recipe in my Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine cookbook. It’s really not that hard to do. It just takes a bit of patience. I usually do this with whipped egg whites but thought I try it this way.

OK – first up I made a sugar syrup using 10.5oz of sugar (with this cookbook everything is by weight) 7 TBSP of water. I put it in a heavy bottomed pot with a thermometer set for soft ball stage – 234° – 240°.  I let it cook. You need to watch this and if any crystals start to form on the sides of the pan you just wash them down with a pastry brush and water. It doesn’t happen to me that often I think ’cause it’s so dry here.

While that was heating I took 5 egg yolks and put them in the mixer and let them rip. They need to beat until they are very light yellow and very fluffy.

In my other mixer (I know how spoiled I am) I put 1 pound, 3oz of softened butter and let it whip until it was light and airy.

When the sugar syrup hits soft ball stage you slowly pour it into the egg yolks while the beater is going at high speed. You are supposed to do this without hitting the side of the bowl or the whisk. I have never achieved this. The buttercream still comes out delicious.

This whips until the mixture is thick and has cooled to the touch. Then you start tossing the butter in bits at a time until it is all incorporated. Then you can add some vanilla for flavor. I also tossed in a pinch of salt.Trust me; this is worth it and it’s not as hard as it reads. The stuff tastes like vanilla air. I popped it into the ‘fridge to firm up a bit as it was a very hot day.

When I was ready to frost the cake I took a bit of the frosting and mixed it with some of my homemade cherry jam for the center filling. I thought the cherry would taste good with the coconut topping.

Then I just put the bottom layer on my cake carrier upside down, added the cherry buttercream. Added the top layer and filled in the sides with the regular vanilla buttercream.

Then it was just a matter of frosting the rest of the cake…

And adding the sugared coconut chips.
The cake was a big hit as I mentioned in the Organic Coconut Chips giveaway post.
The firemen enjoyed it and that’s what really matters.

I also had fun making it!

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