Making a good cake is not only fun, but can be very rewarding. Ditch the boxes of chemical-laden cake mixes and conquer the simplicity of a homemade cake.
Trust me, once you get the hang of making your own cakes from scratch, the box cake will be a minor blip in your culinary history.
A few hints to make this process easier: First gather all of your ingredients. Measure everything and make sure that all your supplies and tools are near. Secondly, prepare your pans and heat your oven. I think you will find that a fresh cake, made with love with ingredients from your kitchen will taste far superior to anything that comes out of a box, and will be just as simple.
Simple Chocolate Cake With Ganache Frosting
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (one and a half sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by lining with parchment paper and lightly buttering, then dusting with flour. Tap out excess flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another bowl combine the buttermilk and sour cream.
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. You can do this by using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg before adding the next. Stop mixing and scrape down the bowl.
With the mixer on LOW add half of the flour mixture, when slightly combined add half of the buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining flour, following with the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Before pouring batter into prepared pans, mix by hand to assure that all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pans and smooth the tops with off-set spatula. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake prior to frosting.
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups chopped chocolate
In a heavy saucepan, boil heavy cream. Turn off the heat. Add chopped chocolate pieces and let it rest until melted. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until all the pieces are melted. Strain chocolate mixture into a clean dry bowl through a mesh strainer to assure that ganache will be smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
When you are ready to frost your cake whip ganache until it becomes fluffy. Frost your cake and ENJOY!!!
Editor’s note: This is a best-of column that first appeared on anewscafe.com on Feb. 2, 2009.
Andrea Charroin was a trained baker and pastry chef in San Francisco before she and her family moved to Redding nine years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and husband Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.
Copyright 2008 Andrea R. Charroin. Visit my blog at bakerslove.typepad.com