Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Moistest Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting
(for my birthday)

Moist Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting

Today I am twenty-six. A quarter century of life behind me.

I really feel like twenty-five taught me a lot. What I love, what I don't. What and who really matters to me. How to embrace the good fully, completely, and honestly. How to let things go and brush things off. That I don't have to like and/or please everyone, or even pretend to. That things aren't as bad as I sometimes think they are, and that things are far better than I sometimes realize. What I want to be, who I want to be with, where I want to end up. How to be better and more and enough and myself. That I am so incredibly lucky for all that I have.

Big things, important things, worthy things, I guess. Things to get me at least through twenty-six.

Sometimes I think that my life is so much different than others around me. That's probably true in some ways and not at all in others, but it can, at times, feel that way. I suppose the weight of decisions, responsibility, disappointment, and reality has something to do with it. These have been reoccurring themes throughout the last year that have, I think, taught me all that stuff up there.

Moist Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting

But, today, I am twenty-six. And despite all the seriousness behind/within this post, I am happy today! And I feel like I have so much more to come as I say goodbye to twenty-five. There is cake after all.

I don't typically go for chocolate when selecting desserts, but lately, I've had a craving for a seriously moist chocolate cake. I tried many a chocolate cake recipe leading up to this one. And if this cake is anything, it is moist. It's other things as well--rich, decadent, soft, delicious. Exactly what one hopes for in a chocolate cake. Or what I hope for anyway, and that clearly matters on your birthday!

I frosted this cake with a berried mascarpone frosting. I sort of have a thing for the chocolate and berry combination. Moist chocolate cake + creamy berry frosting + fresh berries + cake flags = birthday victory! Obviously...

Moist Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting
I threw a cake-eating party for myself, and it looked like this.

The Moistest Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting

For the cake
adapted from Sweetapolita

210 g (1 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
400 g (2 cups) sugar
90 g (2/3 cup plus 2 tsp.) dark cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk, room temperature
240 ml (1 cup) good quality coffee, hot (I used Cuvée)
120 ml (1/2 cup) canola oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste or extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8x3 cake pans--butter, line bottom of pan with parchment, butter paper, and dust with flour.

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Transfer bowl to mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat together eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix on medium speed just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 7-9 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean (with just a few crumbs). Cool cake in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a blunt (butter) knife along edges of cake then gently invert onto racks to cool completely before assembling.

For frosting

56 g (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
230 g (2 cups) confectioner's sugar
450g (16 oz.) mascarpone, softened
113 g (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
68 g (1/4 cup) berry preserves, divided (I used black raspberry)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar until combined. Add mascarpone and cream cheese and mix just until combined, no more than one minute. (Be sure not to overbeat, or frosting may separate and/or become too loose.) Stir in preserves with a spatula.

For filling

2-3 Tbsp. prepared frosting
136 g (1/2 cup) berry preserves

In a small bowl, stir together preserves with frosting. (I found that adding a little bit of frosting to the preserves thickened it a bit so that it would hold better in between the cake layers. Feel free to add more or less frosting to suit your desired consistency and taste.)

Notes

This cake is lovely on its own, but I do love it with a couple of handfuls of berries.

Cake will keep a couple of days in the fridge in a cake keeper. Let sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Head over here for a great how-to on assembling and filling a layer cake, here for a how-to on frosting a layer cake, and here for some cake-baking tips.

Moist Chocolate Cake with Berry Mascarpone Frosting

28 comments:

  1. This looks like all the things I love in chocolate cake - moist, dark and fantastically chocolaty. I imagine the sour cream and coffee really help with that.

    As for the berry cream, I don't often pair chocolate and berries but it looks beautiful and is definitely something I'll try soon. Happy birthday!

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  2. I have just discovered you, and you already have a new follower. My name is Cinta, I am from Barcelona, and I am also 26 (until march, but it is enough is'n it?). Your situation reminds mine, and I feel the same... Hope you have an amazing day and wonderful 26th year! You can visit me in my blog, I have just started to write recipes in english too... Happy birthday!!

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    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment. I'm happy to have you! Looking through your lovely blog now!

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  3. Simply gorgeous! Loving the sound of the frosting :)

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  4. I love chocolate cake, but I feel like it can so easily go wrong. Too dry, not chocolatey enough, etc. This cake sounds perfect! The chocolate/berry combination is one of my favourites, too!

    Happy Birthday!

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    1. Ah, I know! I tried quite a few chocolate cake recipes before finally finding everything I wanted in this one.

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  5. Cake eating party for one = perfect birthday tbh :) That cake, wow, I can seeeee the moistness, ahhh! Belated Happy Birthday!

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    1. All I need on my birthday is cake, really. Thanks!!

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  6. Happy, happy birthday my fellow Capriarian (Capricorn/Aquarius cusp). I posted a birthday cake for myself as well, although don't nearly as decadent or happy, happy as yours. So excited to have discovered your blog, I can tell I'm going to become a big fan, it's simply gorgeous and the recipes sound so unique. Thanks for creating such great content, I'll definitely be back for seconds.

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    1. Such a sweet comment, thank you. I'm so happy you found me. I love your blog and drool over your photos!

      Your birthday cake looked quite decadent to me! And who doesn't love a good bundt?

      I'd never heard Capriarian before--I'll have to look into that more. I've always thought I was straight up Aquarius! But I have to admit, this couldn't be more on point: "I’m stubborn but creative with lots of ideas and fantasies of what could be. ... Security craving but independent. And I have a tendency to see both sides of things... Just don’t make me order first at a restaurant because inevitably I change my mind."

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  7. This cake was so delicious!! Everybody at work loved it - my only recommendation would be to put more of the icing in the filling. Other than that - wonderful.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for the recommendation on the filling--I'll be sure to make a note of that!

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  8. Fantastic cake and the pictures are gorgeous too!

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  9. heeeey, fellow 26 year old here.. just wanted to say that your recipes / photography skills are awesome.

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  10. Paula @ Vintage KitchenFebruary 14, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I have a thing for chocolate and berries too, and blueberries are like the black sheep when it comes to using with dark chocolate. This cake is fantastic! Thanks for the comment, you have a gorgeous blog. Happy belated birthday!

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  11. Whoaaa! I actually just made that same cake for my friend's birthday but it looked nowhere as moist!! What is your secret?? Also, I envy your frosting skills. Just once, I would like to make a photograph-able layer cake--ours was a disaster!

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  12. Thanks Erika! There are a few things I do that might help.

    Mixing: I weigh all my ingredients, and I mix on low just until the wet ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth (rather than mixing on medium for several minutes). I also use canola oil (instead of vegetable), although I'm not sure that makes too much difference in the moisture.

    Baking: I actually set my oven about 10 degrees lower than the temperature called for, because I know that my oven runs hot. So you may try getting an oven thermometer to test your oven. Also, a tester inserted in the center of the cake will come out with a few crumbs (not totally clean).

    As soon as the cake layers have cooled, I wrap each layer in plastic wrap and keep it wrapped until I am ready to assemble the cake. I find that this really helps to lock in the moisture. The cake actually doesn't even need to be completely cool--just enough so that it can be easily handled and doesn't break/crack when you try to lift it.

    Hope that helps!

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  13. Jo Endell-CooperMay 2, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Hi there, I tried this cake out the other day for a friend's house-warming party. It turned out great! I used plain vanilla mascarpone cream instead of berry flavour and it tasted like a giant Oreo and balanced the richness of the cake really well. Getting a good chocolate cake recipe is really hard but this is great - thanks!

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  14. Ive made this cake and it is officially hands down my favorite chocolate cake! So my quesrion is, Do you think it's possible to use this recipe for cupcakes? Would you recommend a lesser baking time?

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  15. Oh good! It is my favorite too. This recipe can certainly be used to make cupcakes. Depending on how many cupcakes you want, you might consider halving the recipe. And I would also cut the baking time in half (so bake 16-17 minutes), and keep an eye on them so as to not over bake. Let me know how they turn out!

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  16. I just noticed your comment! I'm so glad you liked it. A cake that tastes like a giant oreo sounds awesome! I just might have to try that next time.

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  17. All cakes are looking delicious !!

    Martin Jonson
    cake stand
    cake stands

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  18. Is there a substitute for the mascarpone? I don't know where to find it in the US. Thanks!

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  19. Gorgeous! How long will it keep and does it need to go in the fridge?

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  20. Cake will keep a couple of days in the fridge in a cake keeper. Let sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

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  21. most grocers sell mascarpone in the USA. I just bought some at Meijer. Look near the cream cheese or ask...you really can get it almost anywhere!

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  22. Hey! I have had this cake bookmarked for the longest time. Its my husband's b'day in a coupla days & I intend to bake it finally. One question though. My oven will not accommodate 3 cake pans. Do you think the cake can be baked in 2 pans instead?



    - Pooja

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