Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake

The CAKE BIBLE. It sounds intimidating. But life is all about conquering fear and freeing yourself from inhibitions right?  So I made a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. It was pretty damn good. A bit flat perhaps, because we had no cake flour, but still, pretty damn delicious. You should make it. You should eat it. 

It took an afternoon.It's a light chocolate cake. Soft, cakey, and when smeared with buttercream... In brief it lasted a day at my house. That's right, one day. 

Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake

The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (lightly spooned into cup)

1 liquid cup boiling water

3 large eggs

2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl whisk together cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature. 

In another bowl lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 of the cocoa mixture and vanilla. 

In a large mixing bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Scrape down the sides. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about half full. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Cakes should start to shrink from the sides of pans only after removal from oven.

Let cakes cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto cooling racks. To prevent splitting reinvert so that tops are up. Cool completely before frosting. 

Classic Buttercream

6 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

Optional: Liqueur or eau-de-vie of your choice 

Have ready a greased 1-cup heatproof glass measure near the range.

In a bowl beat the yolks with an electric mixer until light in color. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan (Preferable w/non-stick lining.) and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is boiling. Stop stirring and boil to the soft-ball stage or 238 degrees F. Immediately transfer syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking

If using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream. Avoid getting syrup directly onto beaters. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with rest of syrup. Continue beating until completely cool. 

Gradually beat in the butter and, if desired optional flavoring. Place in an airtight bowl. Bring to room temperature before using. Rebeat if necessary to restore texture.