5-Star Recipe for Chocolate Butter Cake w/ Buttercream Frosting

Since baking is my coping mechanism for stress, I thought I’d share another recipe. This is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, a book I would highly recommend if you love baking cakes. I have tried many of the recipes for cakes and buttercream frostings and they are all delicious. Since I bake with alternative ingredients rather than with refined white sugar, my cakes are slightly different, but even sweetened with honey, maple sugar and/or maple syrup, these recipes come close to perfection. You just need to eye the consistency and make sure the batter is not too runny. I have included the original recipe below so if you’re a white sugar eater, you can go right in and make this cake. Let me know what you think, if you do. I’ll be interested in hearing how good you think it is!

Happy baking.

Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake
by Rose Levy Beranbaum The Cake Bible

2.25 oz or 1/2 c + 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (lightly spooned into cup)
8.25 oz or 1 liquid c boiling water
5.25 oz or 3 large eggs (weighed without shells)
2 1/4 t vanilla (no weight measure for this)
8.25 oz or 2 1/4 c +2 T sifted cake flour (I always used well sifted organic unbleached wheat flour)
10.5 oz or 1 1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder (no weight measure)
3/4 t salt (no weight measure)
8 oz or 1 c unsalted butter

All ingredients should be at room temperature, except boiling water.
Prepare cake pans : (2) 8″ or 9″ cake pans – grease the pan, line bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper. Flour pans.
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
3. In another bowl, lightly combine eggs, 1/4 of the cocoa mixture and vanilla.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low-speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low-speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.
5. Increase to medium speed (high-speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides.
6. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
7. Scrape the batter into prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full.
8. Bake 25 – 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.
9. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, re-invert so that the tops are up and then cool them completely before wrapping them airtight. Finished cakes will be about 1 1/2″ tall.
Store airtight: 2 days room temperature, 5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen. Texture is most perfectly moist the same day as baking.

Neoclassic Buttercream
Makes 4 cups
4 oz or 6 large egg yolks
5.25 oz or 3/4 c sugar (I use maple sugar)
5.75 oz or 1/2 liquid cup corn syrup (I use honey)
1 # or 2 c unsalted butter (must be softened)
1 to 2 oz or 2-4 T liqueur, eau-de-vie (I add 2 t vanilla)

All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Have ready a 1 or 2 c greased, heat-proof glass measure near the range.
This recipe is easiest with a stand mixer, but you can also use a heavy-duty hand mixer.
1. Place egg yolks in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until they are light in color (this will take several minutes in a stand mixer, and several more with a hand mixer).
2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and honey in a small saucepan (preferably with a non-stick lining, but my stainless steel one has always worked well for me) and heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a rolling boil (the entire surface will be covered with large bubbles). Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking. 3. If using a hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream. Don’t allow syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high-speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. For the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure. Continue beating until completely cooled (this will take several minutes – use the time to clean your glass measure and saucepan before it gets too sticky!). 4. Gradually beat in the butter and, if desired, any optional flavoring. Place in an airtight bowl. Bring to room temperature before using. Re-beat to restore texture.

Pointers – The syrup must come to a rolling boil or the butter cream will be too thin. Don’t allow the syrup to fall directly onto the stand mixer paddle as it will spin the syrup around the sides of the bowl and create a giant mess. Using a hand mixer for this portion can make this easier.

chocolate cake


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks divine and sounds straightforward, but I’ve gained weight just reading the recipe. Thanks for sharing. I don’t bake anymore. That way all that butter and–you know–calories don’t meet my lips and slide to my hips. 😀 😀 😀

    1. Ha. I should bake less!

      1. Lucky for me I somehow lost my sweet tooth and am not attracted to desserts or sweets even if I were starving. Every little bit helps. It’s a battle with calories.with or without sweets ❤ 🙂

      2. No loss here. Lucky you!

      3. I do think SO when my friends and I go to a buffet and they want they $$ worth and overeat. o_O

  2. Mary Jo Doig says:

    The picture says it all! You really know how to enjoy your stressful times! Checking in every day for the baby report!! Peace.

  3. Thanks, Mary Jo. Hopeful I will have something to report soon.

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