Angie baked. I know….it’s crazy. The woman has infinite talent; great mom, great wife, the cheeriest, cutest front-of-house bakery Manager on the planet, doll maker, parking spot finder and world champion Bejeweled player. I could go on and on but Id never get to the part about what a great baker she is. For one, that’s my territory and I’m super competitive. Secondly, well, she doesn’t bake. When I came home from Nashville a couple of weeks ago, much to my surprise, and possibly with a little pang of competitive ire, there it was; possibly the best tasting cake I’ve ever eaten.
How is that fair I ask you? I have, like, three, maybe four areas of minor excellence; these include the ability to make the wrong joke at exactly the wrong time, looking very angry when I’m not angry at all, getting into a fist fight (which, yes, dear, I promise never to do again) and baking. I score pretty high on the Dad and Husband thing too, ok. But baking is MY thing. I’M the baker around here.
But alas, it is no more. My reign is officially over. My incredibly sweet wife, assisted by equally sweet daughter and Josh, who we can call at lot of very good things, but sweet is not one of them. I came home after a long, tiring trip to the most moist, delicious and delicately frosted cake that’s ever been put at a table. If I could, I’d complain, but who complains about great cake? I got over any dents in my ego with a couple of bites. Angie rocked my cake world.
The original cake recipe is from the Miette cookbook, which I’ve fancied a bit lately and the frosting is an adaptation of our previously posted bakery style buttercream with fresh raspberry syrup. I had avoided this particular cake recipe, thinking it a little too complicated (and having been happy with my own for years), but I have to admit that it’s a complete winner in taste and texture. The moistness of it superb, with the double chocolate (the cake’s name per the Miette book) resulting in a bittersweet cake that pairs perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the frosting. It requires some of straining, which helps create a super smooth cake that presents well. This is important to the look as the cake’s sides are left bare. Enjoy.
Adapted from the Miette cookbook; Recipes from San Francisco’s Most charming Pastry Shop. (c) 2011, Chronicle Books.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f)/ 180 degrees (c). Prep 2 6′X3″ pans per our previous post instructions and position a rack in the center of your oven.
1 1/2 Cups organic, all-purpose flour
1 1/4 Cups natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 oz. 70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Cup boiling water
1 Cup organic buttermilk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large, organic, free-range eggs at room temperature
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 Cups organic, granulated sugar
Raspberry Bakery Style Buttercream Frosting (makes about 2 Cups)
3/4 Cup organic granulated sugar, set 1/2 aside
2 oz. water
4 Large organic egg whites, at cool room temperature
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (strained to remove seeds and pulp)
3 Sticks organic, unsalted butter, room temperature, split into 10-12 pieces
2 Tsp. pure organic vanilla extract
2 Cups fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. sugar
Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy (about 2 minutes). Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated (about 30 seconds).
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the chocolate mixture (cooled) into the egg mixture. Slowly add the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid (about 2 minutes). Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix by by hand just to incorporate them without over mixing. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again briefly by hand. The batter may still have a few lumps but stop mixing anyway.
Pour the batter into a large, clean bowl through a medium, wire mesh sieve to remove any lingering lumps. Use the spatula to push through as many of the lumps as possible. Divide the batter between the two pans equally. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Carefully run a straight edge knife around the outside edge of the cakes to remove any batter that may have baked to the sides of the pans. Turn the cakes over (upside down) onto the racks, gently remove the parchment paper and place it loosely back on the cakes while they cool. Let cool completely before frosting.
Over medium heat in a small sauce pan, bring water and 1/2 of the sugar to a boil and cook until the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees, F. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of your pan and watch the temperature closely.
With awire whisk attachment fitted to a stand mixer, on medium speed, whip egg whites, salt and lemonjuice until a foam forms. Add the sugar you set aside and beat to medium-stiff peaks. With any luck, your peaks are forming just as your water and sugar (henceforth called “the syrup”) are arriving at 250 degrees (f). If not, you have a few degrees wiggle room but keep it as close to 250 as you can. Add the syrup to the stiffened egg-white mixture with the mixer on medium-high by carefully pouring the syrup in a stream along the inside of the bowl. This cools the syrup a little and helps avoid curdling the egg whites. Whip for 5-10 minutes and until room temperature.
Still at medium high speed, add the butter, a single piece at a time, waiting to add the next until each piece is fully incorporated. Increase to high speed. The icing might look a bit curdled at first, but it comes together, so have faith and be patient. Whipping can take 10-15 minutes depending on temperature and until your frosting is fluffy, spreadable and slightly glossy. Slow your mixer to medium-low, add the vanilla and let it incorporate completely as your final step.
To make raspberry juice, add two cups of fresh raspberries to a medium saucepan, along with 2 Tbsp water and and 2 Tbsp sugar, cook on medium-low heat until raspberries are liquid. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container and let cool completely. Makes about 3/4 Cup of juice. For each cup of basic buttercream frosting, add 3 Tbsp raspberry juice to completed frosting and stir until thoroughly combined and uniform in color.