Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bravo Birthday Cake

OK, I totally admit that the whole premise behind this one is completely mock-able.
That many people will be appalled by my behavior, and think less of me for it.
I know full well how this looks to the rest of the world.
I get it, guys.
This is absurd, genuinely disturbing, "Do I really even know you?" kind of stuff. In fact, I almost decided to just post the recipe without any explanation at all.

But I'm not going to do that.
I'm owning this.

Because it was friggin' awesome.

Truant Housewives in Orange County Chocolate Cake
Yes, I did abandon my husband and children to go away to a villa in Newport Beach with some girlfriends*.
Yes, the whole point of the trip was to play Mah Jongg almost constantly for two days straight.
And yes, we did have cocktails in the cabana while we were playing.

And massages**.
And mac & cheese.

And homemade chocolate birthday cake with chocolate frosting***.  Ahh!

For the cake:
2 c. flour
generous 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with circles of waxed paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl, and set that aside. 

In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugars until smooth and light, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each one.  Add the melted chocolate, mixing until that's well combined, too.  Add one third of the dry ingredients, 1/2 of the buttermilk, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk and the vanilla, and then the last of the dry ingredients, blending well each time before moving on.

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto baking racks to cool completely.

If making cupcakes, line 24 muffin cups and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched.  Mini cupcakes - about 12-15 minutes.  Just sayin', the mini cupcakes were GOOD.

Cool completely and frost.

For the chocolate frosting:

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, very soft
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. milk or cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar

The trick to this, according to the cookbook, is beating the ingredients for longer than you think you need to.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter until very creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and beat that in well, too.  Add the vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until creamy and light, just the way you want it.

Mocha variation:  Add 2-3 teaspoons of instant espresso powder when you add the powdered sugar.

Click to Print this recipe!

* My son supposedly told his dad one night, "We should tune into Bravo and see what's going on down there."  Honestly! Of course we did not look like this: The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7 - '80s Bunco Party. Because we were playing MAH JONGG, NOT BUNCO. Duh!
 ** Full disclosure.  My conscience didn't completely abandon me.  I did a bunch of work emails while the rest of the group went to the spa.  But I did polish off the pitcher of mojitos while I was at it.  God. I even hate me now, just reading that sentence.
*** This one is almost straight out of the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.  Why mess with perfection?  Although I did all chocolate by request, personally I'd love this cake even more with a vanilla or cream cheese frosting, and would have the chocolate frosting on a vanilla cake.
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