Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The best chocolate cake you'll ever have...really! And a 78th Birthday, a gathering of generations

This will certainly, surely be the best chocolate cake you've ever had.  It's rich mocha with a layer of cream in between.  It's dark, moist perfection.  Oh yes it is. 

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa 
"Beatty's Chocolate Cake"


  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder (I used King Arthur's Dark Dutch and this makes a BIG difference!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With 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 to 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.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli's )
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.
* I made a cream filling whipping together 8oz cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar then folding in one carton of heavy whipping cream.

Ok, go be a baker!  Your lil mouth with thank you for it!

The occasion for this decadent cake?

 My sweet grandma turned 78 this year!  

We were able to spend it together because she visited us in Colorado for the holiday season.  The last time she visited us over her birthday I threw her a Blue Birthday (as in the color not the mood) ;)  My grandma has always played a very special place in my life and my heart feels extra blessed and expanded to have the GIFT of her love.

Not only is she cute and sweet, she is a crazy girl! And she looks SO YOUNG!
She will do almost anything.  I remember how much she loved roller coasters when I was a little girl.  Some things never change.  I wrote a blog post a couple years ago about how she went SLEDDING with us!  (See here for pics)

Wellll...on this trip:

My Grandma learned how to rap & dance, 
My Grandma did the Can-Can line dance, 
My Grandma had sword fights with my boys, 
My Grandma held a big gun with a mean face, 
My Grandma did yoga stretches on the floor, and lifted weights!

Ohh,  I have videos of this stuff!  but I suppose I don't need to share everything. ;)

with her great grandsons

Grandma was able to stay in our home for just a handful of the days during her visit.  As I stood back and observed life in action, I realized what a beautiful thing it was to have so many generations living under one roof: Grandma sitting on the chair by the fire, working on her to do list, the boys noisily racing hot wheels around her feet and across the floor, Chris making black coffee, and me working on preparing kids' lunches.    It just makes sense how other cultures live together as a norm!  The blending of generations weaves together dynamics that can't be felt elsewhere.  Every generation has something valuable to throw out into the world, we simply need to look up, keep our eye on it, and catch it.  Recognizing and embracing what the blend of generations has to offer will overfill our lives with depth. 

My grandma doing her signature thing: 
making beautiful music

Nighttime puppet shows for Great Grandma!

She is back at her Arizona home now, but we're leaving the chair out by the while just a little while longer, to remember the smiles she brought us for those days when we had 3 generations under one roof, each of us learning NEW things from one another.

What have you learned lately from the generations ahead of you?...
or the generations under you?

The cool "IT" generation isn't the one you're in, it is ALL of them, collectively together, that makes the biggest impact on this life we live. 

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Jenny said...

Awww, Lisa! She is beautiful!

What a wonderful celebration! You always know how to throw a party!

I am soooo bookmarking this chocolate cake! It looks divine!

Jacqueline said...

Besides salivating over the cake and the ingredients in the frosting - I almost cried at your Great Grandma. What a fabulous time you had and she is just adorable and obviously the life of the party. So glad you captured all of these memories with photos. What a treasure.

Can't wait to sink my teeth into this one.

Chubby Chieque said...

Hi Lisa,

How I wish, when I grow up §:-) I will like your grandma. She is awesome.

Happy Bday, grandma. Wish many many years to come. GB and stay cool.

TY for the recipe. The dish stand is a great idea too.

Greetings from a frozen Stockholm,
/CC girl

EveryDay Bloom said...

The cake looks devine. I really love your cake plate. Thanks for sharing. Lynaea @

Jane said...

What a great tribute to Grandma! You are so right...each generation has something special to share...I wish my parents had been "grandparents" for my boys. The guys missed out on something very special...but it was the choice my parents made. Not only did my sons miss out on having the "older" generational guidance, my parents...and Marty's parents... missed out on getting to know 3 really interesting young men.

Your cake looks wonderful. I'll be trying it for our next gathering. (Can't have it without lots of people to eat it...I would devour the whole cake!)

Brenda @ Chatting Over Chocolate said...

How special!! The cake looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe...pinning! ;)

Have a lovely weekend!

Leigh Anne Wilkes said...

Totally pinning this for a cake buffet I am doing for a wedding open house - looks delicious!
I'd love for you to come over and join my Finding the Pretty & Delicious Linky Party.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

You are such an amazing person, my friend, and I loved hearing about your grandmother. What a great time you all had, and she is SO blessed to have you as a granddaughter. This was just the best post!

Let's see, what have I learned? From my young godson who is young enough to be my grandson, I learned that a few sweet words from an even sweeter boy can turn your whole day around. He did that for me on Friday, and I love him for it... for that and for so much more. I learned to slow down and listen and to remember to tell him how much I love him. Words and actions are both important. Some people need those words of reassurance, and I only want him to hear loving words from me. My own grandmother set a great example of that.

And speaking of words, thank you for yours. You inspire me, too, and I am sending so much love your way. Hope you hold out both arms because you will need to in order to catch it! ;-)



Ali @ said...

What a special day :) The cake turned out so pretty. Pinning it now.

If you don't mind I wanted to invite you to come link up at Recipe Sharing Monday and share your favorite recipes. Have a super week. :)

Lulu said...

You got my attention with the word chocolate, and if it's the best ever cake I'll for sure have to make it.

Brooke said...

My mouth is watering! Can't wait to try it! Such great pictures of your family! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonderful day!

Holly Lefevre said...

What a great birthday! I should not be reading about chocolate cake at 11 pm! I am hungry!

Unknown said...

YUM! Chocolate cake is my favorite! Looks like a great party too! We would love it if you would link up at our new linky party: Two Girls and a Party Hosted by:
Dana @ This Silly Girl's Life
Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
We hope to see you there!

Julia Kendrick said...

Oh my!! This looks amazing! I am on a diet and this would totally break the rules! LOL Julia @

Unknown said...

Uh YUM! I saw you linked up at The 36th Ave. I love all the birthday pictures, so fun.. it feels like she is my grandma! Also, I am your newest likes on facebook and I would be giddy if you'd like me back!
Beth @ The First Year Blog

Jamie-So Much Better With Age said...

Aww what a precious post! Your grandma must have loved this. I'm definitely going to try it! Thanks for sharing ;)
Jamie ~ Better With Age