After all that talk about cake last week did you wonder if I was going to leave you hanging with out a recipe? Oh no no. I just wanted to give each element it's own moment to shine. As I shared, the Little Helping requested chocolate cupcakes for his birthday party. I cruised around Pinterest to find a suitable recipe. The final choice was a simple buttermilk chocolate cake from Taste of Home. The simplicity appealed to me. I wasn't look specifically for a lighter recipe however, I appreciated that these ingredients are a little slightly less decadent than other cakes.
I didn't set out to alter anything but I decided to punch up the flavor a bit. Without knowing, I got a jump on the baking tips we collected from Johnny Iuzinni and added a hearty scoop of instant espresso powder. It worked! The espresso gave the chocolate a good boost without taking on a mocha flavor. Both the cup cakes and cake were made the same way. For the frosting I was excited to use the technique for homemade Cool Whip for a second time. The simply sweet whipped frosting added a nice fluffy texture, and provided a place for the sprinkles to hangout but allowed the cake to be the star of the show.
This is a solid recipe; I am sure I will come back to it in the future. The cake turned out moist but not sticky with a texture dense enough to eat with a fork but not heavy. I was only able to make 20 cupcakes from the batter but perhaps I was too generous with my servings. If you are looking for a great no-fuss cake, for birthdays or other celebrations, Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is a great choice.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
- 1-½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1-½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ confectioners sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly butter the sides of two 9 inch round baking pans and line the bases with parchment cut into circles to fit the pans.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda then add the salt. Set aside.
- Combine the espresso powder with ½ cup of boiling water and set aside to cool.
- Place butter and sugar in a large bowl or stand mixer - cream until they are light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time mix well between additions. Beat in vanilla.
- Add buttermilk to the cooled espresso. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until just barely combined. Add ½ of the liquid, again mixing on low until just combined. Continue to add the remaining ingredients alternating dry and wet and finishing with dry. Mix gently on low speed or with a rubber scraper just enough to blend all the dry ingredients into the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool briefly before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- Chill a metal mixing bowl and your whisk in the freezer for 15+ minutes. Sift the confectioners sugar.
- Whisk together the boiled water and gelatin - move quickly at this point so it doesn't have time to solidify.
- Pour cream into the chilled bowl and begin mixing on medium speed. When the cream becomes frothy (about 2 minutes) add the vanilla and sifted sugar. Continue mixing another 2 minutes until the cream begins to thicken then add the gelatin. Beat an additional minute or two until the cream is thick and fluffy. Recipe yields approximately 2 cups of frosting (aka whipped topping).
*This frosting uses the recipe for homemade Cool Whip reduced in volume.
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