Monday, March 27, 2006

Buttermilk Layer Cake with Chocolate Satin Frosting

I can't believe I fell for it! Again! I gave up years ago trying recipes from "gourmet" sources like "Gourmet Magazine" and "The New York Times Magazine" because they were always incredibly complicated, used a lot of pans, and utensils, were time consuming and never, ever worked out for me. I've been good literally for decades. Then I saw this recipe last week. I think I fell for it because it is supposedly from "Joy of Cooking", a cookbook that many people swear by.

So, let's go over the many, many ways that this recipe failed. First clue: it uses vegetable oil to grease the cake pans. I used Crisco. The pans are greased, but not floured so, of course, the layers stuck to the pans like glue. I had to pry them out, in pieces. Seriously, do people really not flour their cake pans? Since I've only seen this in recipes from the NYT Magazine section, I'm convinced that it is a joke on the rest of us by the snooty food editors who know very well that cake will stick to pans that haven't been floured! To add insult to injury, the layers didn't cook in the middle either. Based on experience, this is the fault of the recipe, not my oven.

Let's move on to the frosting. Whoever heard of using a food processor to mix frosting? I didn't boil the cream or use a food processor. Microwave and KitchenAid, like a normal person. I was in a hurry when I made this cake so I probably didn't allow the frosting to set long enough. It was a bit runny as you can see from the picture.

It's too bad that this recipe didn't work out well because it actually tasted pretty good. I liked the light texture of the layers. At least the part that actually cooked! And the cream was delightful in the frosting. Hopefully I learned my lesson (again!) and it will be another two decades before I try another recipe from this source.

Verdict: What were they thinking???
Buttermilk Layer Cake with Chocolate Satin Frosting
(Source: The New York Times Magazine, March 19, 2006)

Buttermilk Layer Cake
Vegetable oil for greasing pans
2 1/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Satin Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into chunks
3 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.

Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Over the course of 3 minutes, beat in the sugar. Over 2 minutes, add the egg mixture. Reduce the speed to low and alternate adding the flour and buttermilk in three parts,scraping the bowl.

Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then unmold onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Scrape into a food processor and add the confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla. Process until smooth, then 1 minute more. Set aside at toome temperatur until thickened into a spreadable consistency.

To frost cake, place 1 layer on a cake plate, rounded side down, trimming if necessary so it lies flat. Spread with a third of the frosting, top with the second layer and frost the remainder of the cake.

Adapted from "Joy of Cooking"

Recycle: vegetable oil bottle, vanilla bottle

Compost: eggshells

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tried this recipe and LOVED it. It came out perfectly, I even cooked it as one 12" round (without a baking core) which would make it a little thicker than in 2 9" pans. I did, however, use parchment on the bottom, and a "with flour" baking spray on the sides. It had a great flavour and was moist and light. Yum! I'll be using this recipe again to make a 2 layer 12" tier for a baby shower cake. Thanks!