The cake batter is simple to make, and I baked it in three layers, instead of the two that the original recipe called for. I have learned that I am not a good eyeballer when dividing cake batter. So, for the first time, I actually weighed out my batter evenly for the three pans and it worked out great. Unless you have an uncanny ability to perfectly eyeball cake batter amounts, you should weigh. My third layer ended up being a little thinner than the other two, but it was negligible. Also, since I only own two 9 inch cake pans, I baked up the first 2 normal layers. Then I dyed the remaining batter and baked the final layer separately, after the first two layers were done and my pan was cool.
Restaurant Eve’s Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used non fat)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Melt butter and let it cool to room temperature.
Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer. On medium speed, add the butter, incorporating in several additions. Beat for about 2 minutes, or until combined; the texture should resemble cornmeal.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add to the flour-butter mixture in two batches (scraping the bowl once), and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans to cool completely.
I made these layers a few days ahead of time. After they were cooled to room temperature, I flash froze them for about 1 hour on baking sheets, and then I triple wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them back in the freezer. This makes them so much easier to handle and minimizes the possibility of layers breaking and cracking on you. I kept them in the freezer until I was ready to assemble the cake. No need to defrost ahead of time, since you want your layers to be sturdy (a.k.a frozen) when you are working with them. Just be sure that you assemble the cake in enough time for it to fully defrost before you will be serving it. I let mine sit for a good 2 hours before we ate it.
For the frosting, I did go with a buttercream, though not the buttercream that was part of the original recipe.
Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 pounds soft unsalted butter
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp espresso powder dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Begin by combining the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over a double boiler set over simmering water. Whisk intermittently as the mixture heats up. Allow the mixture to cook about 5-7 minutes, until it reaches 160F. At this temperature any Salmonella bacteria will be killed.
Pour the warm mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on high. In a few minutes the mixture will turn white and start to build up into a foam. In about 6-8 minutes, the meringue will come to stiff peaks.
While your egg whites are beating, melt your chocolate over the double boiler. Also prepare your espresso mixture and then whisk it into the chocolate. Set aside to cool.
Now switch to a paddle attachment and add your butter, one piece at a time. Don’t get concerned if your mixture is looking grainy or curdled, just keep beating the heck out of it until it looks creamy and delicious.
What you have now is a flavorless buttercream, which I personally do not think tastes very good. I added the vanilla extract first and tasted it before adding the chocolate and it made a world of difference. Yum! So, add the vanilla and the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
I made mine a day ahead and let it sit at room temperature until I was ready to use it.
Egg whites mixture cooking:
Melted Chocolate and Espresso:
Add your butter in small chunks:
Finished buttercream….is delicious:
Overall, this cake was delicious. I completely agree with a friends assessment that it tastes like a sugar cookie. I really enjoyed the flavor of the cake itself as well as the flavor of the frosting. However, I think the strong chocolate flavor of the frosting really overpowered the cake. Next time I will use a more subtle flavoring in the frosting so that the tastiness of this cake shines through.
This was a large cake and there was a lot left over. So I scraped off most of the frosting and mushed the left over cake into cake balls. I made a lemony glazed to coat them. They reminded me of chocolate munchkins.