Best Chocolate Cake I’ve Ever Had…

Chocolate Heaven with Chocolate Buttercream 3

This chocolate cake is absolutely delicious! It’s moist, light and chocolatey. You won’t stopping eating it and most of all it is a crowd pleaser.

The recipe is from the Splendid Table website ( http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/chocolate-heaven-with-chocolate-buttercream) and can also be found here:

Chocolate Heaven with Chocolate Buttercream:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 9 ounces unsweetened chocolate (see Tip), finely chopped
  • 2 cups hot freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)

Instructions

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Let the mixer run on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes to aerate the flour.

Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour in the hot coffee and vanilla. Let stand for about 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth.

In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together until thick, satiny, and light in color. Whisk in the sour cream, being careful not to overmix; leave some visible streaks of white. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate–sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing on medium speed until well blended.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the center of a cake springs back a little when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. The cakes will be a deep, dark chocolate brown with slight cracks on top. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

To assemble the cake: Level the tops of two of the cake layers with a serrated knife so they’re flat. Place one layer cut side down on a flat serving plate (you can keep the edges of the plate clean by sliding strips of parchment under the cake while you frost it). Using an offset spatula, spread the top with a big dollop of frosting. Place the second cake layer cut side down and spread the top with another big dollop of frosting. Place the final layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, making big luscious swirls with the spatula. The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Chocolate Buttercream:

Makes about 7 cups

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Instructions

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a simmering saucepan of water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted. Set the chocolate aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the milk, mixing until completely blended. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until completely incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat just until mixed. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and continue beating, adding more sugar as needed, until you reach a creamy, silky frosting consistency. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Tip: When a recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, we recommend using one with 99% cocoa content, such as Scharffen Berger, for its intense flavor and dark color.

From The Back In the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012.

Chocolate Heaven with Chocolate Buttercream 3

My Celebratory Dinner: Handmade Pork Andouille Sausage and Broccoli Ravioli with Cream Sauce

It’s always a dangerous thing when I watch the Food Network at 2am. Seeing pasta made from scratch always makes me happy and brings back fond memories of when I made it in culinary school. To celebrate my new job, I decided to make me a delicious ravioli dish with pork, broccoli and cheese.

Ravioli Filling:

Pork Andouille from Whole Foods
Lime juice
Chopped garlic
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese
Parmesan cheese

Sauté the items in a pan, but do not fully cook the meat. Add the cheese and combine off the stove top. Set aside.

Making the Ravioli:

Flour the surface and brush the pasta sheet with egg wash. Add filling and place the matching sheet over the filling. Press and fit the sheets carefully. Cut out the ravioli and brush again with egg wash. Press the edges with a fork. Keep the ravioli on pan dusted with flour. Cook ravioli for 3-5 minutes in seasoned boiling water.

Cream Sauce:

With some of the meat filling remaining add some milk, heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste and reduce by half. Add some Laughing Cow Garlic Herb Cheese to sauce along with some Parmesan cheese and continue reducing. The sauce will thicken. Finish the cream sauce with butter, salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and heat through before plating the dish.

Ravioli Dish:

Plate the ravioli with cream sauce and garnish with green onions and tomatoes.

Cooking the sauage 9-11-13Sauage filling 9-11-13Raviolli in the making 9-11-13Raviolli 9-11-13Sauage and cheese cream sauce 9-11-13Becoming one raviolli dish 9-11-13pasta dish 5 9-11-13pasta dish 2 9-11-13

Dinner in less than 30 minutes: Catfish Salad

I only had an hour to leave the store, make dinner, eat and be ready to walk with my neighbor. I made it on time.

 

I seasoned the catfish with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic salt and pepper. I seared the catfish on both sides and then finished the cooking in the oven.

 

My salad consisted of mixed greens, cranberries, Parmesan Cheese, and green onions. The salad was seasoned with salt and pepper and dressed in a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Very good and quick dinner.

 

Catfish salad 9-10-13