Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Very-Homely Chocolate Cake (Barefoot Contessa)

Hello everyone, I'm back to Melbourne and blogging...

My family and I had a great time in Seoul and Singapore. We missed everything in Korea and Singapore especially the beautiful views of both cities, both contrasting but nice weather, cherry blossom in Korea and lots of yummy Korean and Singaporean food. Of all, I missed most is my home with all the people that I love and all that have loved me. I miss my Singapore home. I lived and grew up in Singapore for 25 years and leaving my home is never easy.

Now back to baking which is super-therapeutic for all sorts of reasons... Today, I'm baking this Barefoot Contessa chocolate cake and it is simply superb! No wonder it has been highly rated in Food Network.The chocolate cake is so moist and velvety and yet not oily at all. The chocolate buttercream is so soft and beautiful. 

Originally, this cake is known as "Beatty's Chocolate Cake" and this recipe is published too in the book, Barefoot Contessa at home. The original recipe makes a nice two-layer 20 cm cake and you can bake it too like Jacquelyn's (Marin Mama Cooks) and her cake is a glamorous celebration cake. For me, I've simplified this recipe by baking it in just a layer and iced it with only a quarter amount of the frosting and I'm glad that I've transformed my cake into a simple and homely chocolate cake. *clap! clap!*

I think that I've adopted and accepted the fact that Melbourne is my new home. Although a nice and simple home-baked chocolate cake is never commonly found in my "Singapore" home, it is now found in my Melbourne home. *Home Sweet Home*

moist chocolate cake Barefoot Contessa

Making the cake...
I'm impressed with this frosting! It is so smooth and creamy.
My son is very happy seeing this! - "Chocolate Cake! Hurray!"

Here's the recipe from the book, Barefoot Contessa at home or Food Network
(with my modification in blue)

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 (I used Dutch processed cocoa)
2 tsp baking soda  
(replace with baking powder, *please see notes for details)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (replaced with just hot water)

Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (or 160°C fan forced). Butter two 8-inch x 2-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 min, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 min, 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.

Note:

*My family and I dislike the after-taste of baking of soda in all our cakes and cookies. For this reason, we prefer to replace baking soda with baking powder in regardless.
However, if you are using non-Dutch processed cocoa, you can choose not to replace baking soda with baking powder if you don't mind the presence of baking soda in your cake. Non-Dutch-processed cocoa is known for its slightly acidic pH. Therefore, to ensure the pH balance of the cake batter, the addition of baking soda (being alkaline) is essential to create an ideal cake chemistry. As I was using Dutch processed cocoa in my cake mix, I reckon the use of baking soda is not very essential.

I baked this cake using only half the amount of this recipe with one 20cm diameter round cake pan.

Chocolate Buttercream:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (I used 70% Cocoa chocolate)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature (I didn't add this)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder (I didn't add this)

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 min. Add the egg yolk (I didn't add this) and vanilla and continue beating for 3 min. 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 tsp of the hottest tap water (I add this into the cream being just boiling 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.

Note: I iced this cake using only 1/4 of this buttercream recipe and it is more than enough to iced a 20cm diameter round cake.

Happy Baking
Please support me and like me at Facebook.

52 comments:

  1. I love a good chocolate cake and this looks absolutely delicious! I would love to try some.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love a simple cake and even better that it's chocolate. You can never go wrong with cake in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Zoe, now I have a terrible hankering for chocolate cake and it's only 9.40am here in England. This blog reading (and writing)is doing terrible things to my waist line! Love your blog x

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello! After visiting your blog, I invite you to join us in the "International Directory Blogspot"
    For this is the very simple, just follow our blog, enter your Country, your blog url, and you will automatically integrate into the Country list.
    We are fortunate to be on the Blogspot platform that offers the opportunity to speak to the world to share with us the different passions, fashion, paintings, artwork, photos, poems and so be able to find in other countries people with similar passions.
    I think this community could also interest you.
    Have a great day with the hope that you follow our blog "Directory".
    After your approval to join us, you will receive your badge
    Regards
    Chris
    To find out, click on the link below:
    http://world-directory-sweetmelody.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This cake looks just so good!! It has risen to perfection and it must be ever so delicious. Well done X

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love that cake..looks rich and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Isn't this cake just a very gooey delicious morsel of life :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to add, I didn't realise you were a Melbourne person :D
      Hi I am from New South Wales :)
      Always nice to meet bloggers at home!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

      Delete
    2. Hi,
      Nice to know you too. Being down-under, we are always different from the upper side of the world and always nice to have friends that can share and relate the same weather of the day.
      Zoe

      Delete
  8. Love this Zoe look amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mmm, looks like perfect chocolate cake and that frosting does look delish!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Looks so delicious! I'd have to eat the whole thing immediately :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is such a lovely recipe! I have baked it many times and it has been enjoyed by one and all. I have also joined in on the Cook Like A Star blog hop, seeing as it is one of my fave cooks, Ina Garten.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Welcome back, Zoe! Your chocolate cake looks deliciously moist and chocolaty! I would not mind having a slice right now! With a cup of hot black coffee!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a perfectly baked cake, Zoe! Love simple chocolate cakes like this!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That looks like the perfect chocolate cake!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just came across your blog and am so glad I did!! This cake looks amazing. Can never go wrong with chocolate cake!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Zoe! Welcome back. We missed you in our bloggotopia :D. Glad to hear that you had a nice vacation.
    The cake looks super moist and I can totally polish it off by myself :D.
    Going through Ina's recipes right now but can't decide where to start.
    Have a nice day.
    P.S. Sorry for the late comment. I was out of town for a couple of days and then my kids fell ill after coming back. So didn't get time to check posts regularly.

    ReplyDelete
  17. i've cooked a few of ina's recipes, this looks really lovely, everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe (i don't have one!!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was looking for a good chocolate cake recipe and here it is; perfect; thank you.
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  19. Glad you enjoyed your time in Singapore and Korea, welcome back! In looking at this cake, I would say it does have all the wonderful qualities we would expect when craving a slice of chocolate cake. It looks stunning.
    Moving to another area does have a way of influencing what you cook and bake. Thanks to Melbourne, chocolate cake has found a place in your house!

    ReplyDelete
  20. The cake looks beautiful, and so does that frosting! It may only be 8 in the morning, but I would love a slice of this!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Woo...I like your chocolate cake...so rich and yummy

    ReplyDelete
  22. I made this cake from the book once and it was so good and rich!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi, I have nominated you for the following blog awards: Sunshine, Keativ Blogger and Versatile Blogger!! Stop by and check the rules!

    http://cakewithlove.me/2012/05/03/blog-awards/

    ReplyDelete
  24. This chocolate cake looks great...light and fluffy and perfect paired with the buttercream frosting.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe and hope you are having a wonderful week Zoe...by the way, welcome back :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Gorgeous!!I just love the cracks in one of your pics!!I'm sure your son must have been very very happy with this cake!Your frosting also looks so delicious :)Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Zoe, glad to see you in blogging again! 2 new postings in 3 days, very hardworking! The pictures tell all, as good as what it looks like!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Zoe,
    Nice to have you back & bake along again! Guess what I 'm actually baking this cake for Cook Like A Star, right now! LOL Hopefully it will turn out as lovely as yours! It does look amazingly moist! I'll add the coffee coz we are coffee addicts here! hahaha Will post & link it on Monday! Have a lovely day, Zoe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beautifully done!!! My family would love this one, too :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. wow, also very impressed with the frosting myself. it reminds me of this very famous chocolate cake back home in singapore, called Lana's, and you had to call in advance to book it. hah this looks like it could give Lana a run for its money!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think of Lana's cake until you mentioned it. Lana's chocolate cake is always my fav during my growing-up days. I think you are kinda right making the comparison of this cake and Lana's. This one is actually quite good being what it is :D

      Delete
  30. Wow, you made this cake without the coffee? How did it taste? I think the coffee adds so much flavor but I see that you used dutch processed cocoa and that has flavor. I always use the unsweetened cocoa powder so that is why the coffee is added. I always make this cake with cream cheese frosting as I think the cake is so rich. I tried her frosting above with the coffee in it and it was way to rich and you could really taste the coffee in it, so I may try your version sans the coffee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made this cake without coffee so that my son can eat this cake without us worrying about the caffeine content in this cake. We want our sanity and sleep...LOL! You know.
      I love the richness of Dutch processed cocoa and wouldn't want to miss out this nice ingredient in this cake. to be honest, I think that the frosting tastes really good even without the coffee and will prefer to make the cake again without any coffee :D

      Delete
  31. Wow, this looks good. I dunno y I really love cakes... Gonna try this ;)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Yes I too do not like the taste of baking soda and tried to use as little of it as possible if a recipe calls for it. This chocolate cake looks so moist and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Can't go wrong with a deep, chocolate cake! :) YUMMO!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Zeo,
    You're back. Love your chocolate cake and the frosting too.
    My sons sure will love this too. Will try making your version..:) of chocolate cake without the coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Zoe, can I have the whole cake just for me?No serious! I love it:)))

    ReplyDelete
  36. hi! just want to clarify that if you used only half of this recipe, you used 1/2tsp baking powder and no baking soda? please enlighten me as i would like to try your recipe too! thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cecil,

      For half of this recipe, I used 1 1/2 tsp baking powder in total and used Dutch processed cocoa instead of regular cocoa powder.

      Hope that will help. Happy Baking.

      Zoe

      Delete
  37. hi Zoe
    is it possible for u to send e- mail updates
    lovely recipes
    thany you

    ReplyDelete
  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi nafesa,

    There is a "print friend or PDF" button at the bottom of each post and you can print or save it at PDF format if you wish to save any of my recipes for your future bakes. Cheers.

    Zoe

    ReplyDelete
  40. This looks really great! I can't wait to make this chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Very nice explained recipe, it looks nice on the photos!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Birthday cake is a part of the birthday celebrations. Many thanks for your post.I am very interested by reading this..
    Childrens Cakes

    ReplyDelete