Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ultimate chocolate birthday cake

You have turned *beep* if:
your first lunch box was the original Star Wars lunch box
you watched Donny and Marie sing "I'm a little bit country/rock'n'roll"
you remember Michael Jackson's nose
you remember when an apple was just a fruit
Orwell's 1984 was still a book about the future
seat belts were optional growing up
shoulder pads were a big part of becoming a teenager

More reasons to feel old:
1. you were born last century
2. you husband remarked during your birthday dinner that your dad wasn't much older than you are now when they first met
3. the language of the country you live in has a different suffix from this decade on

You know you did pretty well your first *beep* years:
1. when you celebrate your birthday dinner with a husband and two children you are head-over-heels in love with
2. tons of people you care about from all around the world call you, text you, email you and write you to wish you a happy birthday

Many years ago my mother-in-law (who is not Chinese by the way) passed on a real pearl of wisdom that I think of every day of my life: never complain about your age because if you are alive to talk about it, you should consider yourself a blessed person.

So true. I am a very lucky girl woman. I am 40 and I am proud of it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

To celebrate, chocaholic that I am, I decided a wanted a dark, moist, rich, chocolate birthday cake. I wanted the kind I can't get on this side of the ocean, with layers and frosting. For the beginning of my fifth decade I wanted the whole shebang.

That is how I came to attempt my first layer cake ever. It was also one of my first frosting experiences. It was fun, it was easier than I expected. It turned out delicious.

It wasn't me, it was the recipe.

It delivers exactly what it promises: the moistest, darkest, most chocolaty cake you could imagine. It is a recipe I have been seeing around a few blogs, it has been handed down through generations apparently. It turns out it is a recipe posted on the Hershey's website. I followed the "Especially Dark" Chocolate cake recipe and used a some coffee as suggested in the Black Magic Cake recipe. 

The batter is very runny. So runny you will think you went wrong somewhere. You didn't. Also, there is no butter or chocolate in the cake, so it is not as heavy as you would imagine. Go on, what are you waiting for? Don't wait until you turn 40. Any day is a good day.

Runny batter. See how runny it is?

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup dark unsweetend cocoa (sorry Hershey's, can't buy you here so I used Lindt instead)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup black coffee

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cups dark, unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (+ more)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and flour two 9-inch (23cm) round baking pans. 
Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer for about 2 minutes. Stir in the hot coffee. Don't worry if the batter seems too thin. It should be. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (I used one twice).

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and let cool completely on wire rack. Frost the first cake (flatter side down) with the frosting (recipe below). Cover with the second cake, turning the flatter side up. Frost the sides first and then the top. Do not store in fridge. The frosting will set a little and will not melt at room temperature. It keeps for up to five days.

Melt the butter and stir in the cocoa (which I sifted to avoid lumps). Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until it reaches spreading consistency. You may need to add a little more milk but add a tbsp at a time so it does not get too runny. Stir in vanilla extract. It makes about 2 cups. I could've used more between layers but I was worried I would run out. The result is I have some left over frosting.



    I had no idea it was your birthday! I am so happy to read you had a great day!!! And that cake looks perfect! My kind of cake indeed... I am a chocoholic too! I cannot believe it was your first layer cake... it is so beautiful! Well done!

  2. Congratulations on your big birthday! This cake looks absolutely amazing - all dark and moist and chocolaty and delicious (as soon as I saw your Twitter link I had to find out what this chocolate thing was!). I don't normally like converting recipes in cups into grams (I don't understand cups!) but this looks 100% worth it :-) yum.

  3. Magda, Manu, LL - thank you! It truly is a full on chocolate cake.
    LL - thanks. I put a converter link on the top of my page, but I agree, it is a pain to convert. It is much easier (and cheap) to buy some cups and spoons for American recipes

  4. Happy Birthday and I so agree, never complain about your age because if you are alive to talk about it, you should consider yourself a blessed person.

  5. It's so beautiful! A cup of coffee in the cake! Have to try this one!
    Very Happy Birthday to you. Totally agree with your mother in law. Embrace it!

  6. Auguri!You really are the cake master! Every cake you make turns out magnificent! Love it!

  7. Happy birthday lovely Fiona!:)And what a perfect cake to celebrate it with! Goodness me it looks so moist and rich I think I would be over the moon if anyone made me this black beauty!

  8. Happy Birthday! (I wish I was forty still). Enjoy your forties and your family and your cake!

  9. Auguri!!! I totally agree with your mother in law's view. Somehow I feel I have conquered the years I have. I lived through them, they left marks, and I would never want to cancel them, at least for the moment.

    Actually, I'm looking for a very special birthday for my mum & dad who are turning 60. This looks like a very good candidate. I want to go the extra mile and use the tackiest cake decorations I can find - still don't know what exactly, but it needs to be loud and sparkling! Do you think this cake will be able to support them, or is it too delicate? Your decoration is very pretty, and very minimal..

  10. OH MY!!! I was hoping to find a simple recipe to throw together tonight, but yours caught my eye. I have to make this ASAP. I love chocolate recipes with coffee in them. No one ever notices that it's there, even my mother that hates coffee never notices. Thanks for sharing, and happy birthday!

  11. What a great post. Love your writing. Could totally relate. And your cake is absolutely 'masterchef perfection' right down to the decorative hearts.

  12. Thank you all for your birthday wishes. I tried answering you all individually several times but the comment disappeared as soon as I clicked on publish. Hope this goes through today!

  13. Yaaay, it worked!
    Hotly spiced and Accidental Cook - hi!!
    CR - this cake is perfect for tacky decoration and is not delicate once frosted!
    Pola - I am actually not a baking master in the least, I have even posted some disasters hehe

  14. Happy Happy Birthday and Tanti Auguri!!! Wow I think everyone needs a dark, gooey chocolate layer cake for her birthday, especially a big one! And yes, we do need to appreciate that we are still able to get up, bake a cake and enjoy said gorgeous cake no matter how old... and your birthday layer cake is almost exactly the same as my favorite birthday layer cake!!! Enjoy!

  15. Now I really want chocolate cake. Have to bookmark this one. Happy Belated BD!

  16. It looks delicious, thank for the recipe. I was looking to eat something like that for me and my family. but it is quite hard to find a recipe that it is easy to understand.

  17. Love the cake! You’re amazing. This ingredients is fantastic, It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect cake like this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.


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