Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rx - Chocolate


I feel like a bear. I've been hibernating. My friends and family probably wonder where I've been because I've been so silent. The truth is, I feel like hiding from the world. Every time I look at the news it's frightening. My stomach churns when I glance at the headlines in the newspaper. Even the comics page has references to the decimation of our kids' college savings and our retirement fund. Where to go to in stressful times like these?

There is always the old reliable - chocolate. Times like these call for more than just a Snickers bar, though. They call for chocolate with chocolate on top. Deep, rich, luscious chocolate that wraps you in comfort and soothes you, saying, "It's going to be all right" with each delicious bite.



If you're stressing out, might I recommend this cake to you? It doesn't mess around with distracting flavors or fluffy fillings. You get a serious hit of chocolate in each and every forkful. And if you want to wash it down with a tall glass of chocolate milk, I won't tell. Just pass me the carton when you're done with it.

Chocolate Prescription Cake
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Desserts

2-1/3 cups (220 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (90 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (500 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

For the frosting:

12 oz (375 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-3/4 cups (430 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (125 g) sour cream
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F (180 deg. C). Lightly grease theo bottoms of two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan and dust with flour.

2- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.

3- In another large bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches, mixing on low speed after each addition.

4-Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread it out evenly. Tap the pans gently on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, lift off the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.

5- To make the frosting combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water until the chocolate melts, then remove from the heat and whisk until well blended. Let cool slightly. Add the sour cream and salt and stir just until blended. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until room temperature. Whisk in the powdered sugar, stirring until the frosting is thick enough to spread.

6- Place about 1/3 of the frosting on the bottom layer, place the other layer, top side down on the first layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to seal in any crumbs, then thickly coat the cake with the remaining frosting. Serve at once or keep covered at room temperature until ready to serve.

35 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Perfect Rx :-) Hang in there, Lynn!!

Melinda said...

Chocolate always makes me feel better. This cake would do the trick for sure!
We are all in this boat together.

southern daze said...

Exactly what I need to hopefully help me break out of my funk. Thanks for sharing!

JohannaB said...

Chocolate is cheaper (and yummier) than therapy. It looks delicious.

Heather said...

holy good lord. that cake looks like it would solve all of life's problems. i want some right now!!

Peabody said...

You are going to need to make a whole lot more of that now with Boeing laying off 10,000 and Starbucks laying off 6,700. Lots of chocolate is going to be needed...and jobs. :(

Elyse said...

Chocolate is the perfect remedy! Your cake turned out beautifully and looks deliciously chocolatey. You've got my stomach growling.

Gigi said...

Oh, Lynn you have no idea how much I need a big hunk of that cake! I am going to have to buy some buttermilk so I can make this cake.

Rose&Thorn said...

That's what we call "Death by Chocolate Cake". I would die a happy girl with a slice of that in my hand.

Lien said...

Mmm chocolate on top of chocolate... I love it.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I have been worrying too - about our jobs and all that. I'll have two slices, please. ;)

natalia said...

We should take a chocolate bath !!! Baci

Abby said...

Nice job. That would definitely help someone like me, a newspaper editor, who can't escape the madness!

Marjoke said...

this cake looks gorgeous and the recipe seems to be what I was just looking for.
Being stress-less, at this moment, I think I'll just bake this cake to celebrate the return of my daughter from Berlin. She just love chocolate.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'll have two slices and call you in the morning.

Aimée said...

Take this three times a day with food, is that it? I can do that.

The Cooking Ninja said...

I know what you mean. This recession is felt globally and that's the scariest. At least we can take some comfort in our food. Love your cake.

LyB said...

I have never seen a more chocolatey looking cake, ever. I want to reach through the screen, grab a slice, and then give you a big hug for sharing the recipe. :)

Eva said...

Very seductive! The birthday of a friend is coming up who loves American-style sweets - that might be just the right cake for him!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Now THAT is just the kind of chocolate cake recipe I've been looking for - thank you, Lynn!

Eva said...

Hi Lynn,
I have a question cos I'm not so experienced with American-style cakes: Does the buttermilk contribute to the flavour or is it mainly there as an acid to react with the baking soda? I'm wondering if I used baking powder only and milk instead of buttermilk, could I decrease the amount of sugar?

German recipes usually contain milk and the amount of sugar for these ratios probably wouldn't exceed 250g. But I suppose I shouldn't fiddle around with the recipe or it ain't American no more..;-)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Eva - Thanks for the question. Buttermilk is used to react with the baking soda, also for flavor and moisture. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute 1 Tbsp vinegar + enough milk to = 1 cup for 1 cup buttermilk.

As to substituting baking powder and reducing sugar...gee, I don't know. I know the sugar is considered a liquid, so as long as the total liquid amount remains the same, it should work. I think...?

Eva said...

Thanks for the quick answer, Lynn! If it was for me, I'd take chances with fiddling around but I guess the texture wouldn't quite be the same.
I'd better stick to the recipe knowing that my friend has a very sweet tooth!

Katrina said...

Holy Cow! That looks amazing!

Maria said...

That cake can cure anything!! Looks super delicious!!

alexandra's kitchen said...

how how how true. chocolate is just amazing. it's a pretty scary scene in my apartment when i've run out of chocolate. this cake looks like a very nice remedy!

alexandra's kitchen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
alexandra's kitchen said...

how how how true. chocolate is just amazing. it's a pretty scary scene in my apartment when i've run out of chocolate. this cake looks like a very nice remedy!

Sarah said...

lol you feel like a bear... I love that. I always feel like a bear. Clumsy, hairy, sleepy, and fairly cranky. The cake turned out beautifully. Who did you feed that bad boy to?

Sophie said...

Very decadent, it's tough to be sad when savoring a chocolate cake like this one :).

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Could I have two slices please and I think I can smile if you'll add two scoops of the peppermint cream with each.
Gad that really is gorgeous cake!

Marjoke said...

Lynn, made your cake last weekend. You're so right: it was delicious and I've planned baking it soon again.
He's on my weblog now, with a link to your recipe.
Thanks.

sopie lee said...

just happen to surf the blog and came to yours. Very captivatig recipes and blogs juct love it. Were check on it everyday.
Instead of cocoa powder, can i use semi sweet chocolate and what content to use. Thanks alot. I'm new to baking cakes on the otherside of the world: Asia

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Sopie Lee - I wouldn't substitute semi-sweet chocolate for the cocoa powder. You would be adding extra sugar and extra liquid to the cake and it would take quite a bit of playing around to get the ratios to work right.

sopie lee said...

thanks alot Lynn, then got to try our on the original recipes. I just love your blogs, keep it going.