Isn’t birthday cake just better than normal cake? There’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on. On Saturday it was Colin’s birthday. It was also Thanksgiving lunch for a few close friends. I’ll tell you about that in a bit, but first this cake.
What made it even more special were the tins. These tins.
When I moved out of home a few years ago, my nanna gave me about three boxes of kitchen ‘stuff’. She said “I don’t need these things, throw out anything you don’t want”. There was lots of great stuff in these boxes, and even greater were these two copper-coloured tins. They were so beautiful to look at, and all I could think about was an old fashioned sponge cake with strawberries and cream. I put them in my cupboard and forgot about them. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a baking dish, when I noticed the two tins. I pulled them out and put them on the microwave. This was a way of reminding myself to use them.
A couple of weeks after that, Jessica from Pencil Kitchen posted a very impressive 6-layer chocolate cake. I was inspired. If it were ever a time to make a layer cake, it was a birthday. With Colin’s only a week away, I search for a recipe and came across Ina Gartens. As I kept looking I realised a lot of people had cooked this same recipe, referencing various different sites. Seemed the best option!
The result. Wow. Awesome. Moist and light chocolate cake with sweet buttercream icing. It’s been a couple of days and the cake is still super moist. Will be making this one again for sure!
Oh and Thanksgiving – so much fun! Although there was a pool and it was extremely hot (felt like 40°C!) in American tradition, we did all pass out after lunch while American football was on TV. Great times..
And another note - ignore the crappy pipping.. I used a piece of baking paper to pipe, because well, I don't have a pipping bag. It's on my list.
Double-Layer Chocolate Cake
1 ¾ cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk*
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ½ cups icing sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or pouring cream (cream will give a richer flavour)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two 8-inch baking tins with paper, and butter the paper. Dust the pans lightly with flour and remove any excess.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and stir to combine all ingredients.
In a small bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk until all ingredients are well combined.
With an electric mixer, slowly beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then slowly beat in the hot coffee. Increase the speed to medium and beat for further minute.
Pour the batter into the prepared tins, and back for 40 minutes to one hour. (Ovens will vary on time, although the original recipe said 35 minutes, mine took an hour – when the cake looks cooked on top, test with a skewer.) Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the tins for 30 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, beat the butter in a medium bowl until very soft. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder and beat on a very slow speed. When ingredients have combined, add vanilla, salt and milk/cream, and beat on high for 2-4 minutes until you have a thick and luscious icing. Add more icing sugar or milk if icing is too wet or dry.
To ice the cake – if cake has a peak or dip, carefully slice a thin layer off the top using a bread knife, so you have a flat surface. Spread one-fourth of the cake mix on the top of one cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, and continue icing the top and sides. If the cake crumbles while you’re icing, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes. The icing will keep in the fridge in a seal container.
* If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk, and set aside for 10 minutes.