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About Me

Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The most important thing in my life is my family. I love my dear husband and 4 wonderful children (ages 11 through 18). I am a stay-at-home mom (my dream job!). Some of my favorite things to do include cooking (and eating!), photography, reading, piano, flute, watching my favorite TV shows, swimming, traveling, and most recently...using the rip stick with my kids. I would love to attend culinary school someday & fit my love of photography in with that somehow. My dream vacation is Italy - something I was recently blessed to experience! I'd love to return and see more of that beautiful and DELICIOUS country! My days are usually full of running kids to and from activities - scouts, sports, music and church. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, but I absolutely LOVE my crazy life and the people I am lucky enough to share it with!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

chocolate buttercream cake (from Ina Garten's 'The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook')


This traditional chocolate layer cake comes from Larry Hayden, former pastry chef at Union Square Cafi and cookbook writer. We have been lucky to have him with us at Barefoot Contessa and he has taught us many wonderful recipes.

1 3/4 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 CUP good cocoa powder
1 1/2 TEASPOON baking soda
1/4 TEASPOON salt
3/4 CUP unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 CUP granulated sugar
2/3 CUP light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 TEASPOONS pure vanilla extract
1 CUP buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 CUP sour cream at room temperature
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax paper, butter the paper, and dust the pans with flour, knocking out any excess. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attach­ment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, and sour cream. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended.

Divide the batter between the 1:\<\10 pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, remove from the pans, and allow to finish cooling.

Place one cake on a serving plate, flat side up. Frost the top of that layer with buttercream. Place the second layer on top, also flat side up, and frost the top and sides.

chocolate buttercream

10 OUNCES bittersweet chocolate
8 OUNCES semisweet chocolate
1/2 CUP egg whites (3 extra-large eggs) at room temperature
1 CUP granulated sugar
PINCH cream of tartar
1/2 TEASPOON salt
1 POUND unsalted butter at room temperature
2 TEASPOONS pure vanilla extract

Chop the chocolates and melt in a bowl over simmering water until smooth. Allow to cool.

Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Heat the egg whites in the bowl over simmering water until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.

Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the chocolate, vanilla, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.

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