The Cake That Wooed a Husband

I met my husband at my own birthday party on New Year’s Eve.  His sister is an old friend of mine and she dragged him out on the promise that he was getting set up with someone at a NYE party…..this someone was not me, they were merely stopping by “a friend’s birthday party” on the way to the bigger NYE party.  He came through the door, made a beeline for the cake (which I was standing next to), cut himself a piece and starting eating.

Me: “You Like That Cake?”

Him: “I love this cake!”

Me: “I made that cake.”

Him: “You made this cake?”

Me: “It’s my birthday cake.”

Him: “You made your own birthday cake?”

Me: “It’s pretty good, right?”

We’ve been together ever since.

For those of you who are wondering, his sister called off the set-up at the other party…to this day she won’t tell us who they were going to set him up with.

And yes, he kissed me for the first time at midnight.  Swoon city, am I right?

Though, to look at the story another way, I kissed him within 2 hours of meeting him. What. A. Hussy.

I’ve been thinking about this cake since posting Cosby’s Chocolate Cake For Breakfast clip a few days ago. I’ve also been thinking about nice things I might do for my hubbo throughout this magical time in our lives…especially if I turn into a crazytown hormonal space beast once I start shooting myself up with hormones.  He is notoriously patient and supportive and the least I can do is make dude a cake.  We’re actually trying to eat super well right now, but I think once we’ve done the egg retrieval and I’m trying to chill out, it’ll likely be cake bakin’ time.

The recipe’s taken from one of my favorite cookbooks: The New Basics cookbook by Julee Rosso & Shiela Lukins. I’ve killed the spine on my copy and many pages are covered in….ingredient remnants.  I’ve made tiny indications of a few tweaks – the cake’s delicious without them, I just like to tinker….but for Pete’s sake – do yourself a favor and bake this cake at some point.

For the cake:

3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate	
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar (light brown will also work, you can always add a little molasses)
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
 1 cup boiling water
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
***tweek: add a Tablespoon or two of instant coffee to pump up the chocolate flavor

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans; set them aside.
2. Place the chocolate in a small heavy saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
3. Cream the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate.
4. Combine the cake flour, baking soda, and the salt. Alternating between the two, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the chocolate mixture in three stages, ending with flour. Then slowly stir in the boiling water and the vanilla.
5. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a layer comes out clean, 30 minutes.
6. Remove the pans from the oven and let the layers sit for 5 minutes. Then invert the pans over
wire racks, releasing the cake, and let the cake cool completely before icing.

For the icing:

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels (tweek: I've used milk chocolate or dark chocolate, which are equally amazing).
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Combine the chocolate and butter in a small heavy saucepan, and melt over very low heat.
2. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the milk and vanilla, and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
3. Add the sugar gradually, beating with an electric mixer. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth; it will be runny.
4. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour, beating it every 15 minutes. (The icing will stiffen.)

Two last tweaks: 
1. bake the cake in 3 layers instead of 2 (cut baking time by 5ish minutes) 
2. Make a raspberry filling for between the layers - use your favorite recipe or this is a good one:

Combine 3 cups fresh raspberries, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup 
granulated sugar in a pan over low heat, bringing to a low and slow bubble.  
Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  
Remove from heat and allow to cool.  
Chill in an air-tight container for at least 4 hours and overnight.


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