Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Cake

You might wonder what is up with all of these cakes lately. I made a chocolate cake the other week, then a strawberry cake this week, and now another cake. Well, I guess my birthday month puts me in a cake mood. I am hitting a milestone this weekend (can you guess which one?) and it feels like just any other day/year. No biggie for me. Last year I celebrated on here with some chocolate chip cookies.

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In reality, birthday celebrations haven’t been a big deal for me for a while. The last two good ones were the last two when my mom was alive. I’m not trying to be a downer about it, it’s just that she always knew how to make birthdays special. I hope to pass that on to my (future) children. Birthdays serve as a reminder that we are lucky to have another year to share with our families, and hopefully many more. As the numbers get bigger, it is even more important to stay connected.

Now, off that topic for a moment, because I have some coffee…..cake. So to speak, anyway. I had made ice cream and wanted to use the egg whites for something good. Cake frosting it is! But, I had already made vanilla frosting. In fact, I had some leftover that could work as a crumb coat and filling. But, I wanted something more special for the outside. Apparently coffee frosting is quite easy to make, and quite addictive.

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This cake should look familiar…I made it before, but this time I doubled it. For your mathematical relief, I have included the new numbers below, but you will have to check out the pictures on the original recipe for the step-by-step. What’s funny for me, is I think I might not have doubled all of the ingredients. I am doubling all of them below, but after thinking about it…I think I only doubled the flour, salt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, mayonnaise, and water…but I don’t know if would recommend that. If you want to, go for it….For the buttercream frosting, I halved the vanilla buttercream recipe I used, and added coffee. This is because I had some leftover frosting and was frosting a smaller cake. You can feel free to double it and have some extra frosting leftover.

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Directions for Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream

Chocolate Cake (make first)

Adapted from Bouchon Bakery

  • 202 g flour
  • 62 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used half Dutch-processed and half KAF black cocoa)
  • 5 g baking soda
  • 1 g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (large) eggs
  • 252 g granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 172 g Mayonnaise (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and baking spray. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the egg, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed just to combine, then increase the speed to medium for 5 minutes. The mixture will become pale yellow. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, then raise the speed to medium-high for 5 minutes. During this time, the mixture will thicken and when you lift the whisk, it will form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Then, stir in the salt. Beat the mayonnaise into the egg mixture. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and water into the mayo/egg mixture in two batches each. Pour the batter into the cake pans making sure the batter is level and halved for each pan. Bake for about 25 minutes until the cake springs back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Then, allow it to cool completely before continuing.

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Coffee Buttercream

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature); feel free to add a bit of meringue powder to make up a “half egg white”
  • 5.2 ounces sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1.5 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in a teaspoon of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

Whisk the egg whites in a mixer on medium speed for a couple minutes until frothy.

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Then, heat the water and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the temperature reaches 238 degrees F. While the water and sugar are heating, continue whisking the eggs. This will take about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and pour the hot sugar mixture directly into the egg whites, being careful to avoid splatters. Once poured, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the bowl is no longer warm (about 8-10 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to add the vanilla, dissolved coffee, and salt.

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On medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Then increase the speed to medium-high until the mixture is smooth. The mixture might look curdled, but if you take a spatula and pull it through and it smooths out, you are fine.

Curdled, but after a couple minutes, it was fine.

Curdled, but after a couple minutes, it was fine.

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You can use the buttercream now to frost your cake, or refrigerate it (or freeze it).

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Decorating Portion

I used the vanilla buttercream I had leftover to fill the cake and for a crumb coat. The buttercream is tinted pink, so don’t let that confuse you. Then after letting it chill for an hour (the time it took me to get the coffee buttercream together), I frosted with a healthy amount of the coffee before decorating. I used a star tip around the bottom, and an open hole tip to pipe the dots and the loop around the top. A plain butter knife worked well to smoosh the dots and turn them into petals.

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Messy is good!

Messy is good! (Well, I did smooth it out a bit with a bench scraper before continuing.)

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For the back (you can't smoosh the last column of dots) I piped some plain dots.

For the back (you can’t smoosh the last column of dots) I piped some plain dots.

A loop around the top cleaned up the edges.

A loop around the top cleaned up the edges.

Smooth the top before the sides....don't be like me.

Smooth the top before the sides….don’t be like me.

A sprinkle of my Trader Joe's grinder (coffee/chocolate/etc.) works well as a finishing touch.

A sprinkle of my Trader Joe’s grinder (coffee/chocolate/etc.) works well as a finishing touch.

 

Super moist cake inside!

Super moist cake inside!

 

Directions for Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream (without pictures)

Chocolate Cake (make first)

Adapted from Bouchon Bakery

  • 202 g flour
  • 62 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used half Dutch-processed and half KAF black cocoa)
  • 5 g baking soda
  • 1 g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (large) eggs
  • 252 g granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 172 g Mayonnaise (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and baking spray. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the egg, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed just to combine, then increase the speed to medium for 5 minutes. The mixture will become pale yellow. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, then raise the speed to medium-high for 5 minutes. During this time, the mixture will thicken and when you lift the whisk, it will form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Then, stir in the salt. Beat the mayonnaise into the egg mixture. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and water into the mayo/egg mixture in two batches each. Pour the batter into the cake pans making sure the batter is level and halved for each pan. Bake for about 25 minutes until the cake springs back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Then, allow it to cool completely before continuing.

Coffee Buttercream

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature); feel free to add a bit of meringue powder to make up a “half egg white”
  • 5.2 ounces sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1.5 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in a teaspoon of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

Whisk the egg whites in a mixer on medium speed for a couple minutes until frothy. Then, heat the water and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the temperature reaches 238 degrees F. While the water and sugar are heating, continue whisking the eggs. This will take about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and pour the hot sugar mixture directly into the egg whites, being careful to avoid splatters. Once poured, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the bowl is no longer warm (about 8-10 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to add the vanilla, dissolved coffee, and salt. On medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Then increase the speed to medium-high until the mixture is smooth. The mixture might look curdled, but if you take a spatula and pull it through and it smooths out, you are fine. You can use the buttercream now to frost your cake, or refrigerate it (or freeze it).

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12 thoughts on “Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Cake

  1. Happy birthday weekend!! 25?
    Great cake, too. The buttercream looks ridiculously smooth and I’ve got to look into those rings for the baking pan because your cakes are perfectly level. Enjoy your birthday. I’m sorry your mom isn’t here to celebrate with you but you are right in that bdays are a reminder to celebrate the time we have with our loved ones…

  2. Pingback: Tips-y Tuesdays: How to Save a Cake | fudgingahead

  3. Pingback: Moist White Layer Cake with Chocolate Chips and Coffee Frosting | fudgingahead

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