Wednesday, April 4, 2012

From the Kitchen: Belgian Chocolate Birthday Cake



I’m sorry!!! I know it’s still Lent. Really I do. And I do try to be considerate of my readers. But… but… we’ve got this baby. And he’s turning ONE… we just have to celebrate every inch of his pudgy, gorgeous existence. My baby! And how could I make something other than chocolatey chocolate cake covered with chocolate mocha frosting and topped with chocolate shavings for a FIRST BIRTHDAY? I couldn’t. And so, you see, this was unavoidable. You can’t blame me since you must see that I had no alternative. But I still feel a little bad about it. Just a teeny bit.


For my mini guy’s actual birthday (today), I made cupcakes. Kid-friendly, chocolate, lots of icing… yes, they’ll be delicious. But not as decadent and divine as this company-worthy cake that I’m making for the bigger extended family Easter-First-Communion-First-Birthday celebration we’ll have on Sunday. It is a fussy recipe - true. By the time the cake is in the oven you will feel like you’ve dirtied every bowl and pan in your kitchen, and you may begin to have doubts about how good it’s going to turn out. Will it cook through? Will it look good?


The answer to your worried hesitations? Yes. Yes, it will turn out. Yes, it will be as fabulous, rich, dense, moist and luxuriously satisfying as you hope. Yes, it will be worth the gigantic cleanup it will require. Yes, it will be best to serve to many people so you aren’t left alone with any extra at the end of the night because then, only then, might you regret making this cake.

{And if you are wondering why I am talking about this cake in the future and showing you pictures of it all cut up… it’s because I’ve made it 2 other times in the past year, and I have zero time in the present to take new photos. Zilch. Good thing I had some from last time!}

Belgian Chocolate Birthday Cake
from Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2003

Ingredients: (I omitted 4 oz toasted hazelnuts from original recipe, FYI, in case you care)

13 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 2/3 sticks), softened, plus a bit for pan
2/3 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. boiling water
1 3/4 c. packed dark-brown sugar
4 large eggs , at room temperature
1 1/3 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×3″ springform pan. Dust with cocoa, tap out any excess.

In the large bowl, add flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk together cocoa and boiling water until smooth. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.

Stir buttermilk and vanilla into cocoa mixture. Mixing on low, add half the flour mixture to butter mixture until well blended; pour in cocoa mixture, and add remaining flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven; let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.


Mocha Cocoa Frosting
(I’m not sure if this is the exact recipe from my mother-in-law which came from her wedding-cake-making friend, but it’s close. I applaud any combination of mocha and cocoa in frosting form!)


1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup strong, hot, brewed coffee
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine coffee and cocoa in small bowl of electric mixer. Beat until blended. Add sugar, butter or margarine, salt, and vanilla. Beat until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat icing until it has a spreading consistency.

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So, after all that delicious detail, I must wish a very Happy Birthday to my darling Baby Boy! May God richly bless you this year, keep you safe and sound, teach you love and joy, and make each day a journey of wonder for your little baby heart. I’m so immensely glad that you are mine!


Oh my… I love this handsome little guy sooooo very, very much. So much more than the best chocolate cake, even :) But since you can’t have him, you had better give the cake a whirl at the earliest opportunity…


Reenie said...

I know that I'm biased, but I do think he is the cutest baby alive. Can't believe it's been a year already!! My heart sank when I saw this delicious cake will not be on the menu tonight-- just might have to stop in on Easter too ;)

Sweety said...

Rich Belgian Chocolate Cake - Light in texture, this cake is created with 70% dark chocolate and layered with a choice of buttercreams and conserves.