Chocolate Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Last Thursday was my birthday (and I’m not saying which one!). I am a big lover of homemade birthday cakes, and since it was my big day, I knew I wanted a home-baked rich chocolate cake. Although my husband gallantly offered to make it, I knew he was busy going to the grocery store for my big dinner and then cooking, so I decided it would be fun to make the cake with my daughters.

But which chocolate cake recipe should I use? One with melted bittersweet chocolate or cocoa? A flourless cake or a traditional one? Should it be topped with fruit, a ganache, whipped cream, or frosting?

And then I remembered an episode of the Barefoot Contessa (aka Ina Garten) I saw a few months ago when my mother was visiting. I recalled that the cake she made looked rich and moist, and that she used some freshly brewed coffee. I easily found her Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe at the Food Network site and after giving it a quick look, decided I had all the ingredients on hand and then called in my daughters to help. We made the cake and I have to say it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. Although the batter looks incredibly soupy (which worried me a bit), in the end, the coffee accented the chocolate flavor nicely and gave the cake a velvety richness it wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I decided at this point to skip the chocolate frosting Ms. Garten pairs with her cake as I find the chocolate on chocolate combo can be a bit overwhelming. I also think that pairing chocolate cake with a vanilla frosting simply makes the cake taste richer and more chocolaty. After a little consultation with my husband, I decided to use the frosting I usually make with my carrot cake. It’s a simple cream cheese and vanilla frosting that takes about three minutes to make and is delicious. It also has the added bonus of having a thick but not stiff texture, so it frosts cleanly.

After topping the cake with our standard cream cheese frosting (recipe below) we were ready to dig in. Happy Birthday to me!


Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
1 box of powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Just combine these together with a mixer until smooth.

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