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Paula Perfect and Chocolate Cake

September 24, 2009

Chocolate Cake

When I was young (and still today) my mom called me Paula Perfect.  The moniker refers to my never ending desire to do things right, no matter the cost… to make a pretty life.  I strive endlessly for the right attitude, the perfectly straight hair, the organization which would make a sane person itch, the perfectly cleaned home and ready to serve munchies for friends stopping by.  

As I get older I recognize the beauty in imperfection.  Don’t get me wrong, I still put forth the effort to create perfection, but I have my moments where I simply acknowledge that sometimes… perfection isn’t always best.  Sometimes, a chocolate cake is perfect just as it is.  Without the fancy adornments of piping, flowers and perfectly smooth frosting… slopped on frosting allows the people you love to dig into a piece of cake and simply… enjoy. This is the perfect cake for such a pay-no-attention-to-detail frosting job.  This cake… this cake is moist, delicious, full of flavor and… perfect.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 c flour, plus more for pans
2 c sugar
3/4 c good cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1 c buttermilk, shaken
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 c freshly brewed hot coffee
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c butter, at room temperature
1 t pure vanilla
4 c confectioner’s sugar (may need more depending on humidity)
1 -2 T heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 2 (8″) round cake pans.  Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.  (I never use parchment… sorry!)

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal.  With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.  Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

For the frosting:

With an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter together until well combined and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and gradually add in confectioner’s sugar, adding heavy cream and  sugar until it reaches desired consistency.

PS: Is there anyone else that usually loathes chocolate, but loves chocolate cake?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2009 11:42

    I so wish I had diverted to your version of this moist cake. I loved the cake, but I’m not fond of so much chocolate. This is a slice of cake I would greedily eat. Yummy!
    PS: If you email me, I’ll tell you what the hypnotist suggested to me to stop by chocolate addiction. 🙂


  2. September 24, 2009 11:57


    thanks for stopping by my blog. I like that you used white frosting, it gives a nice contrast to the really dark cake.. love your plate too ; )

  3. September 24, 2009 12:49

    looks like perfection to me! love your frosting change up too

  4. September 24, 2009 15:47

    Perfectly delicious! 🙂

  5. juju73 permalink
    September 24, 2009 17:12

    I LOVe chocolate cake with white icing…yours looks simply MAAHVALOUS!!!!!

  6. September 25, 2009 15:30

    I SO should have done this cake with the cream cheese frosting! Next time, for sure!!

  7. September 26, 2009 12:34

    Yours looks beautiful! As you know, I too loathe chocolate but love chocolate cake and I loved this recipe. It was perfection.

  8. Trish permalink
    September 29, 2009 08:49

    Sister!!!!! This looks awesome and I must have some!

  9. Christine permalink
    September 30, 2009 16:23

    YUM! Did you save me any?

  10. October 1, 2009 13:52

    Girl, I’m so like you in that everything has to be perfect or I’m not satisfied and feel like I’ve failed. Let me tell you, though, that cake DOES look perfect. Perfect in that it’s supposed to be disorderly as it adds to its scrumptiousness 🙂 I think I need to live close to you so I can come over to try all your fabulous treats!

  11. October 5, 2009 11:23

    Wow it looks wonderful! I can totally relate to the perfect thing, haha. I’m glad the cake worked out so well!

  12. October 6, 2009 11:53

    Oh mercy! That looks just divine. I love the pink plates, too.

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