A few months later, I started examining the specimen. I quickly saw that it kinda earned its place on TIWYF... 2 sticks of butter, 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks, buttermilk, melted chocolate. This made me... hesitant. But, praise be, a solution presented itself in the frosting that the cake was paired with: a peanut butter icing used by Ina Garten to top some chocolate cupcakes. Having made my way to her corner of Food Network's website (here goes yet another food blog adventure...) I saw another recipe of hers for chocolate cake that had a 5-star review, but no butter and fewer egg yolks. I decided I would not be the reason WYF, so I would make Beatty's Chocolate Cake into Trent's Birthday Cake.
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
(adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder, plus more for pans
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee or espresso
Frosts and fills 1 two-layer 9-inch cake Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch (or 9-inch if you only have those) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter the pans and then "flour" the pans with cocoa powder (works just as well as flour without the risk of white spots on your dark cake!).
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 mixer still on low, add the coffee/espresso and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
To assemble cake (frosting recipe follows) Place one layer, flat side down, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. Depending how the cakes rose, you may need to trim off the rounded tops a bit. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, flat side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
Peanut Butter Frosting (Ina Garten)
Frosts and fills 1 9-inch two-layer cake
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.
Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
Thanks to Pennies on a Platter for the great ideas for decorating the cake. I didn't think lots of PB cups could look any better than they do just sitting in the table. I was wrong.
A quick play-by-play after the cake was frosted and the birthday boy was ready: