Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Martha Stewart's Ultimate Chocolate Cake---A Chocoholic's Dream


Physical health problems due to stress are very common. Any present disease in the human body gets aggravated up to 10 times when stress is allowed control. Many diseases not present come to be because stress is not managed well. Some might say what's the big deal? Why do people stress so much? But the truth of the matter is that stress is a part of life and if anyone said that they never stressed over anything, they would be downright lying! The key to a mentally and physically healthy life is managing stress and channeling the energy it takes to go crazy into something productive or comforting.

For many it  might be sports, others might prefer a bath or such other relaxing activities, still others will turn to food. Although stressed eating is not usually the healthiest for you, but who doesn't love a nice, big bowl or plate of your favourite indulgence to help calm the nerves? My stress relieving activity among other things, includes inventing a new recipe from the ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes Ill eat it and sometimes I won't, but the process of using my creative brain helps to calm down the irritated side.

One one such day some 3 years ago, when I was looking in my fridge and pantry to gather ingredients, I found cocoa powder, butter, flour and eggs. I just knew I had to make a chocolate cake, but I was afraid to try it off the top of my head because I knew baking is an exact art and can be done with a loose hand only when you are really experienced. As I had not baked many cakes from scratch as of yet, I went online and found this heavenly recipe for chocolate cake with chocolate icing that I found so easy and satisfying, that I have probably made it 7 times since then.

 I encourage you to give this recipe a try and if you like chocolate as much as I do you will thank Martha Stewart till you drop!


Ultimate Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
Makes two 8-inch layers
  • 1 cup Valrhona cocoa, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee, boiling
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Ultimate Chocolate Frosting
Directions
  1. Place rack in middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, and dust with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Sift cocoa; whisk in boiling coffee and milk. Let cool. Sift together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, mix the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour in the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 4 cups in each pan). Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Carefully run a small offset spatula around the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the pan. Remove cakes from pans, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  5. To assemble, using a serrated knife, level the top surface of each cake layer. Place four strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of the cake stand. Spread with 3/4 cup of frosting. Top with the remaining layer, bottom side up. Using a swirling motion, cover the outside of cake with the remaining frosting. Remove parchment-paper strips.


Ultimate Chocolate Frosting
Makes about 3 cups
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup Valrhona cocoa powder
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, milk, and vanilla; stir until smooth and free of lumps.

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