Chocolate Squared Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Per tradition, I asked Evan’s roommate, Andy, to tell me what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. Request: chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Since he was sweet enough to invite me to dinner with his mother and roommates, I put extra effort into making this cake great. I chose Ina Garten’s chocolate cake recipe (and added in chocolate chips) with real vanilla bean buttercream frosting. IMG_0366
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 cup chocolate chips
All the dry ingredients are sifted together.
I brewed some Dunkin Donuts coffee, and when added it makes the batter smell amazing.
It passed the lick test, a few times.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans (these are sticky cakes!).
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips (if using). Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely. IMG_0381
The real test today was the buttercream icing. This isn’t your everyday icing. It took blood, sweat and tears…so to speak. The tears came from schlepping up to Friendship Heights in the snow and constant traffic to buy one vanilla bean. The sweat came from holding the pot of boiling sugar on it’s side for 10 minutes so the candy thermometer would read the correct temperature. Luckily, there was no actual blood. 
The ingredients and detailed (down to the minute) instructions for this frosting can be found on the link above.
When that process was over, I frosted her up. It was so light and fluffy, I’d never worked with anything quite like it.
The cake was well received, even after a very heavy Italian dinner. (Thank you Ms. Ross!)IMG_0393
Chocolate chips in the cake were a thumbs up. I don’t understand why they aren’t in more cakes? Why do cookies get all the fun?


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