Last night I went to a cake party.
You heard me, a cake party.
Before last night I had no idea what a cake party was, however, I was intrigued (obviously).
I was invited to this party by a friend of a friend. So I actually had no idea who this person was, how many people would be there, or even what to expect. Well let me put it to you this way. A cake party IS as good as it sounds. Let me walk you though the evening.
I hop in my friends car, cake in hand, praying she doesn’t slam on the breaks or make a sharp turn, given I had just somehow managed to whip up one of my favorite Ina Garten chocolate cakes, all the meanwhile having a toddler wanting to “lick the spoon just a little bit mommy, ok!?” every five seconds, and an 8 month old who was fussy and squealing all the live long day.
You could say I was happy to get out of the house.
We walk into this woman’s lovely home where I am greeted with smiles and open arms. We proceed to the dining room area where she has a GIANT table (plus another because we had so many cakes), filled with homemade delicious cakes. 35 of them to be exact. 35 cakes that I had to taste!
This is my kind of party!
Each cake was numbered and had the type of cake and your name on the card. I tasted everything from Crack Pie, to Mandarin Orange Olive Oil Cake, to Cauliflower Cake! Once all the cakes were placed on the table each woman stood behind their creation, and introduced themselves and their cake.
This was actually my favorite part. Hearing all of the behind the scenes stories and recipe inspirations. It was so neat to be in a room with a bunch of women who I had never met, but could connect with simply through food (or cake).
The cakes were being judged in three categories. Everybody voted.
1) Best presentation
2) Most creative ingredient
3) Best overall cake, I HAVE to have the recipe
Once the introductions were complete it was off to the races! Plates were dispersed and we were free to dig in! Man oh man did I have some tough decisions to make. There could have been so many winners in my eyes. Tons of variety, creativity, and love was poured into each and every cake.
It should be no surprise that I made a chocolate cake. I went back and forth so many times on what to make.
Do I make an original recipe? Play it safe and go with an oldie but goodie? Or just go all out?
Well, I played it safe with one of my all time favorite tried and true Ina Garten chocolate cakes. I figured you really can’t go wrong with a room full of women and a big chocolate cake.
Check out the aftermath. I’m still full.
- Butter for greasing the pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Chocolate Buttercream recipe follows
- 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 pound 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
2) Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
3) With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 4) Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
5) Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
1) Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
3) Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
4) Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.
Adapted from Ina Garten