Our Little Miss turned two earlier this month. To mark the happy occasion I wanted to make a birthday cake I knew she would enjoy. Based on her responses to cupcakes I’ve made, I knew that she prefers chocolate cake to white and is definitely an icing girl.
I found a rather unusual-sounding recipe for chocolate cake over at Movita Beaucoup’s blog. Now Movita is a pretty crazy and creative kind of gal — funny as all get out and an incredible baker — so it didn’t surprise me that a) she would have a recipe for the wettest cake batter I’ve ever seen; and, b) it would turn out so well. Really, if you’re looking for a good time (oh dear, that doesn’t quite sound how I mean it) and some good recipes, head on over to Movita’s place for a visit.
This is a dense and rich chocolate cake (it just kept getting better until it was all gone), so good that Movita says you should consider making this cake for someone you love. I took her very good advice, and made it for the little girl who has put such a big claim on my heart ❤
Instead of a chocolate frosting, I wanted something more colourful, so I mixed blackberry jam into my standard vanilla buttercream, creating a pale lavender-coloured frosting that I first used as a crumb coat and then swirled prettily onto the cake with a palette knife.
Little Miss was so delighted with the cake that she ate it with a big people’s fork. Two, and growing up fast! She was less delighted with our singing, and burst into tears at the first strains of “Happy Birthday.” Note for next year: cake, yes; singing, no.
I found this recipe at Movita Beaucoup, here, and am presenting it with some adaptations. Movita found it at foodess.com and made some adjustments to the notes, which I’ve taken some liberties with as well.
Pre-heat oven to 350º. Grease two 9-inch circular baking pans and line with parchment paper.
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1 tbsp white vinegar and skim milk to make a cup – fuller fat milk would do well here)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (you can also use vanilla bean paste)
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together.
Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. Beat for 2 – 3 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the hot coffee until well-combined. You will have a loose, satiny batter.
Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool on wire racks for 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans. Allow to cool completely on the racks before frosting.
Note: I made the cake a couple of days ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. Take out a few hours before frosting, because the cake is more flavourful at room temperature.
Blackberry Jam Buttercream
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp meringue powder
- 1/2 cup blackberry jam (plus extra jam for the filling)
Whip the butter until light and pale. Add half the icing sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Add the remaining sugar, vanilla, meringue powder and mix slowly until combined. Add the 1/2 cup jam and mix at medium speed, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times, until well-incorporated and the frosting is a consistent pale lavender colour. This is enough frosting to lavishly adorn the cake.
Place one cake bottom side up on a serving plate. Spread a few tablespoons of blackberry jam evenly over it. Add a few big dollops of the frosting and spread evenly to the edges at least 1/4 inch thick. Place the other layer of the cake on top, right side up. Apply a thin coating of icing (the crumb coat) to the top and sides. Then, apply the rest of the icing, using a palette knife to make a freeform swirly pattern.