I participated in a bake off this week for a friend's birthday. This one was the winning cake! I have made the chocolate cake from this many times and it is super easy to make and very tasty! The frosting is a little more work, but it is totally worth it.
Chocolate Cake (from this recipe exactly, except I increased the vanilla)
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (this time around, I used whole milk, but I usually make this cake with skim milk and it comes out fine! the cake is a little stickier with skim milk, but still tastes great)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and flour 2 8" round pans.
2. Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa, powder, soda and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix until well blended.
4. Add the boiling water. I think according to the original recipe, you are supposed to add it slowly, but I just pour it all in and mix until blended. The batter will be very thin.
5. Pour the batter into the two pans.
6. Bake 30-35 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and allow it to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
*normally, I don't sift things because I am lazy.. but with cocoa I think it's important to sift because there are always clumps of chocolate, and you want to make sure it will mix properly!
Coconut Buttercream (recipe taken directly from this book which is one of my favorite cakebooks!)
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (the recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I've made this twice and the first time it was not coconutty enough, so I added more)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp potato starch
4 Tbsp room temperature butter (1/2 stick)
Flavorings and Butter
1/4 cup muscovado (or dark brown) sugar
1 Tbsp coconut rum
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 lb chilled butter (4 sticks), cut into tablespoons
1. Pour milk mixture ingredients into a medium or large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. While the milk mixture is cooling, put the 6 yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp potato starch in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add 4 Tbsp room temperature butter but do not mix.
5. After 10 minutes, return the milk to a simmer. (I forgot to do this step the second time and it came out fine!)
6. Once it reaches a simmer, slowly pour the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking until fully combined.
7. Pour back into the saucepan and heat over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until the sauce thickens (and when you see "lava bubbles" as the book calls it, meaning large bubbles that pop slowly). Whisk constantly to prevent the cream from cooking on the bottom of the pan.
8. Reduce heat to low and whisk for 1 minute.
9. Pour the cream into a stand mixer. Add muscovado, rum, and vanilla and beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until cream gets down to room temperature.
10. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and add the chilled butter one tablespoon at a time.
11. After all butter has been added, whip on medium speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup of cream
favorings of choice to taste! I used vanilla and Contreau
Add all ingredients to a double boiler (if you don't have a double boiler, here is a way to make one with pots you have) and heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
Assembling the Cake
1. Cut the cooled cakes in half, so you have 4 circles (layers).
2. Put the bottom half of one cake on a cake plate.
3. Put a thick layer of coconut buttercream on the cake.
4. Take the top of the cake and put it upside-down on the buttercream, so the rounded side is down and the flat side is up.
5. Pour a layer of ganache on the cake.
6. Put the bottom layer of the other cake on the ganache.
7. Add another later of buttercream.
8. Put on the top layer of cake, round side up.
9. Cover the the top and sides with buttercream and drizzle with ganache (I used a spoon).
10. Allow frosting to set and ganache to cool before serving.