Paula Perfect and 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?