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    Best Birthday Cake

    Source of Recipe

    From "Chocolate American Style" by Lora Brody

    List of Ingredients

    • Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour, for preparing the cake pans
    • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 1-3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising flour)
    • 1-1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
    • 2-1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 extra-large eggs
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1/2 cup)
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla
    • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water, cooled
    • .
    • -- Frosting --
    • 4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • Two 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/2 cup)
    • 4 cups powdered sugar (1 pound)
    • .
    • Semisweet chocolate shavings (optional)


    1. To make cake: Heat the oven to 350 F with the rack in the center position. Coat the interiors of two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Line each pan with a 9-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment. Dust with flour, knocking out the excess.

    2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs well, then beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer still on medium speed, beat in the buttermilk and espresso, and beat only until they are combined. The mixture will appear curdled. Scrape the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed just until all traces of the flour mixture disappear. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you mix.

    3. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it equally. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pans and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the cake pans to a wire rack and cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto another rack, remove the cake pans and parchment, then invert the layers again so that they are right side up. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.

    4. To make the frosting: Melt the white chocolate in a metal bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven. When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from over the water and let the chocolate cool while you continue with the frosting. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat them together on high speed for about 4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes. Add the melted white chocolate and beat until blended. Refrigerate the frosting, covered, until it is firm enough to spread on the cakes.

    5. Use a long, serrated knife to split each cake layer in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of one split layer cut side up on a serving plate. Use an offset spatula or kitchen knife to spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting on the exposed surface. Frosting the cut surface will loosen many chocolate crumbs, but don't worry about that. Top this layer with its other half, smooth side up. Frost this layer the same way, then stack and frost both halves of the second split layer, ending with the smooth layer up. Frost the top and sides. Scatter semisweet chocolate shavings on the top of the cake, if desired.

      Makes 16 servings.



      This cake can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate the cake in a cake saver. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.




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