I’ve known for many, many months what kind of cake I wanted to make for Tova’s first birthday – a small chocolate layer cake with pink vanilla frosting, and a big gold gum paste flower on top. Nevermind that I’d never used gum paste before in my life. I was determined to figure out how to make the picture in my mind a reality! After countless internet searches for information and instructions I went for it, and on my third try I ended up with a flower I was truly happy with:
As for the cake: I used Miette’s Double Chocolate Cake for the cake layers. This is quite possible the lengthiest chocolate cake recipe ever — at least that I’ve ever made! But it was also the fudgiest and most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever made, so it was definitely worth it! Plus, the recipe makes enough for 2 (6-inch, 3-layer) cakes, so I have an extra one in the freezer to use another time. For the frosting I used one of my favorites — Sweetapolita’s Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting, dyed a lovely pink color.
All in all, the cake was fabulous, and a perfect way to celebrate my youngest daughter’s 1st birthday.
Double Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT Dutch processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 72%)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups (16 ounces) granulated sugar
1. Liberally butter two 6″x3″ regular or contour cake pans and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
4.Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.
7. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar ans whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
8. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing.
9. Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl to remove any lumps. Press against the solids in the sieve with a rubber spatula to push through as much batter as possible, then discard the lumps. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
10. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle but still warm to the touch, invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. Let cool for about 20 minutes longer. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure the interiors are completely cooled before cutting/icing, at least 1 hour or for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Makes 2 6-inch cakes
*Adapted from Miette