Birthday Cake

Chocolate_cake
Josh turns 12 on February 14th.  We had his bday party this weekend due to a band performance coming up next weekend.  We took a group for dim sum, home for chocolate cake and a few kids spent the night.  A few kids is really nice.  A lot of kids is insane. 

I rolled up my sleeves and made a triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate mousse frosting on Friday afternoon.  A winner.  The frosting was the most time consuming but well worth it.  Rich, buttery and moist. 

The cake part is easy.  The batter may seem not as thick as you expect it to be, but don’t worry, it works.  In order to make 3 layers, I had to made the recipe twice.  The third layer is not necessary, frankly it is a bit over the top.

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter two-8 inch cake pans, then line with parchment paper and lightly flour.

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot/warm coffee  ( I just reheated coffee I had made in the morning, not too hot )

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.  Sift this all into an electric mixer bowl, then turn the paddle on low to mix up the dry ingredients a bit more.

In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  While the mixture on low, slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry until combined.  Then add in the coffee with the mixture still on low.  Scrape the bowl to make sure everything is really incorporated.  Pour half the mixture into one of the pans and half into the other.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Let cool before taking the cake out.

Chocolate Mousse Frosting

2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp. pure vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
7 large egg whites, at room temperature if you can
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Set up an ice bath with ice and cold water in a large bowl. 

Combine the cream and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally.  Slide the pan off the heat and add in the chocolate and butter, whisk until completely melted.

Scrape the chocolate mixture into a bowl (smaller than the ice bath bowl) and add in the vanilla.  Place the bowl in the ice bath and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides.  The mixture starts to get thick and you want to keep it smooth and not lumpy.  Once this cools, remove from the ice bath.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on a medium speed until they are foamy.  Then slowly add the sugar, continue beating until the eggs create soft peaks.  I always go on the side that harder peaks is better than softer peaks or the whole thing fails.

Quickly scoop about 1/3 of the egg whites in the cooled chocolate mixture and fold together with the rubber spatula until blended.  Complete the process until the egg whites are completely incorporated in the chocolate mixture.

Cool in the refrigerator for about an hour before using.  I actually waited a few hours before I put the cake together.  It makes it easier to assemble.

As an added touch, I grated some dark chocolate to scatter over the top of the cake.  Honestly, even if the cake didn’t look beautiful, it would still taste fantastic.