Chocolate Cake with Coffee Frosting

IMG_2019 (575x383)Did you know that this past Thursday was National Chocolate Cake Day?  I made this cake in plenty of time to post on that day but life got busy and here I am four days later.  Bad blogger!  If I had a blogger boss, they might fire me; but, since I am a self-employed blogger who “works” for free, I will just slap myself on the wrist and go have another piece of cake!

I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for cookbooks put out by churches, schools, etc., because I know that people like to contribute their very best family recipes to be published in what is usually a fund-raising book.  I’ve contributed a few recipes myself to these kind of fund-raising efforts.

About 30 years ago, I purchased a cookbook put out by the Junior League of Palo Alto and was pleased by the number of one-of-a-kind recipes contributed by members.  I’ve made several recipes from the book that were outstanding.  For some reason, though, I never got around to making the chocolate cake offering in the book despite the following testimonial:

Every baking enthusiast has a chocolate cake recipe that he or she considers the best.  Some truly outstanding ones were submitted for this book and, for a time, it seemed impossible to choose “the one.”  After much testing, this recipe took first place as the richest and most appealing to true chocolate lovers.  Beware!”

Well, after that testimonial, it still took me over 30 years to make it!  I kid you not when I tell you that I could make 10 or more new recipes daily until the day I die and still not make them all—but I will die trying!

So, it was with great excitement that I made this chocolate cake to see if it would make my all-time top 10 list of the best-ever chocolate cakes.  It has been a similar odyssey to the quest for the best-ever chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I decided a long time ago that there couldn’t possibly be just one best-ever chocolate cake and set my cap to find the best-ever top 10.

Let me tell you up front that this is not a one-two-three, throw-it-together kind of cake.  You have to make a chocolate custard and then let it cool.  You have to (or are supposed to) sift cake flour not once, but twice.  It also calls for eggs to be separated with the whites beaten stiff and folded in.  Phew!  I don’t care how fussy a recipe is when the results are outstanding.  To my great disappointment, however, I have to say that the good ladies of the Jr. League of Palo Alto have some ‘splaining to do with regard to their testimonial.

I thought the cake was mediocre at best without the depth of chocolate flavor I had expected.  The only thing that saved it from not being worth the calories was the coffee frosting.  I brought a good portion of it to work the next day, and most of the professional foodies agreed with me.

After all the work involved in making a custard, sifting flour and separating eggs, when I finally got to have a piece of cake after my labor-intensive efforts, I expected to hear bells ringing and angels singing—but all I heard was Roger burping!

So—honest opinion, good cake but not worth the effort!  The search continues…

IMG_2016 (575x408)One year ago:  Lamb Stew

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Frosting

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Ingredients for Cake

  • 5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Ingredients for Coffee Frosting

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 to 3 tbl. instant coffee, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Directions for Cake

Preheat oven to 350o.  Butter two 9” round cake pans.  I sprayed pans; then used parchment paper which I sprayed with baking Pam.

In a sauce pan, slowly melt chocolate and add 1/2 cup buttermilk.  With a whisk, stir over low heat until mixture is smooth.  Add 1 cup sugar and 1 egg yolk.  Stir constantly for 3 minutes or until the custard is thick and smooth.  Cool.

Cream butter and brown sugar well.  Add 2 egg yolks, one at a time.  Resift cake flour with baking soda and salt.  (I did not resift—once was enough for me!)  Add to butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with 3/4 cup buttermilk.  Stir the cooled custard and vanilla into the batter.

Beat 3 egg whites until they are stiff but not dry.  Fold into batter.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake just begins to leave the side of the pans or centers spring to touch.  Completely cool in pans before removing.  When cool, spread coffee frosting between layers as well as on top and sides of cake.

Directions for Coffee Frosting

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.

IMG_2021 (575x362)Source:  Recipe from A Private Collection by the Junior League of Palo Alto

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