Someone reminded me that I owe you this recipe, this perfectly perfect recipe from Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson. This is the ultimate combination: luxury in the chocolate cake and then this creamy, almost fudgy frosting. My mother made this style of frosting, a long time ago, and I had forgotten about it. But one look at this picture and I had flashes of my teeth sliding through a thick layer of divine chocolate.
If you have room in your portfolio of recipes for only one chocolate cake, this is the one. The picture at the top comes from the book. The picture at the bottom is the one Suzi and I made. Yes, there is a different crumb size and our frosting is a little more fudgy. Those are the differences you can expect anytime you bake. It’s all about the chemistry and techniques you use versus those of the author.
Don’t worry. Our cake was ideal. And yours will be too!
Chocolate Comfort Cake
Yield: One 13 by9-inch sheet cake
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 cups unsifted bleached cake flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cups plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 batch Cream Chocolate Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Film the inside of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick flour and oil spray.
For the batter, thoroughly stir together the melted chocolate and boiling water in a small heatproof mixing bowl until very smooth. Set aside to cool to slightly warm, when it should be the consistency of a moderately thick pudding.
Sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing only to blend. Blend in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured. The consistency of the batter will be creamy.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until risen, set, and a wooden pick withdraws clean or with a few moist crumbs attached when tested about 2 inches from the center of the cake. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
Spread and swirl the freshly made frosting on top of the cake. Let the frosting set for 1 hour before cutting the cake into squares for serving, using a medium-width offset metal spatula to remove the squares.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
Yield: about 5 cups
- 5 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted with a large pinch of salt
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, warmed to tepid
Place 5 cups of the confectioners’ sugar-salt mixture, the melted chocolate, the chunks of butter, the vanilla extract, and the heavy cream in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Set the bowl in place and attach the flat paddle. Mix on low speed to blend, about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula twice, stopping the mixer to do so. Beat on moderate speed for 1 minute. Add the remaining ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar-salt mixture and beat for 1 minute to blend, then increase the speed to moderately high and continue beating for 2 minutes longer, or until very smooth and creamy-textured. Once or twice, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to keep the frosting even-textured.
Adjust the consistency, if necessary, by incorporating additional confectioners’ sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) or heavy cream (1 to 2 teaspoons at a time) to arrive at a frosting that is easy to spread. Use the frosting immediately.
Source: Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson [Wiley, 2011]