Monday, June 11, 2007

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake With Chocolate Espresso Buttercream

After promising to make a cake for a friends return to work and another friend's birthday, I scoured my favourite blogs looking for a recipe. I found what I was looking for at Cream Puffs in Venice with this Chocolate Buttermilk Cake With Chocolate Espresso Buttercream. I won't bother reproducing the recipe as I didn't make any changes, so just follow the link to get the full recipe and instructions. The quantities outlined in the recipe was enough for me to make two whole cakes fully frosted. This was the larger of the two cakes at about 9 inch round while the smaller cake was about 6 inch round.

I love the cake itself. It's a nice mixture of chocolate and coffee and the buttermilk makes the cake beautifully smooth. The chocolate espresso cream is also quite nice. It makes a good contrast to the cake although I would probably make it a little less sweet next time. I might try another frosting on the cake next time and see how that goes. The cake is not to hard to make. The only step that you have to wait for is when you make the espresso custard and have to let that set for about an hour in the fridge. But you can do that while the cake is baking and when the cake is done, you can use the custard to make the buttercream frosting and the timing is all just right.

EDIT: I've decided to post the recipe in case other people's blogs go down but mainly so its all easier to find when I want to make this recipe again myself.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Espresso Buttercream

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Line the bottoms of the pan with parchment paper.
* Place all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa) in the bowl of an electric mixer. Either with a whisk or with the paddle attachment, gently mix together the dry ingredients until combined.
* Add the oil and buttermilk and mix on medium speed until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
* Add the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
* Add the coffee and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until smooth. The batter will be very liquidy so be careful not to splash yourself!
* Divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the oven until the cake springs back when lightly touched. The recipe indicates that this should take 30 to 35 minutes, however, in my oven it took closer to 45 minutes!
* Once done, remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Espresso Buttercream:

2 cups half-and-half cream (10% to 12% milk fat)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I use the Medaglia D’Oro brand)
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of finely grated chocolate (I used Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate)

* In a saucepan, mix together the half-and-half cream, the egg yolk, the cornstarch and the espresso powder. Once mixed, turn the heat on medium-high.
* Stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil and is very thick (this should take about 5 minutes; you will know that it is ready when you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir the mixture).
* Strain the mixture into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on the surface (to prevent the formation of a skin) and refrigerate until cool (about 45 minutes).
* Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer and add the sugar. Mix on high speed with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. The butter should be light, fluffy and almost white in colour.
* Add the salt and mix.
* With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cooled half-and-half/espresso custard. Mix well.
* Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
* Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the grated chocolate.

To assemble the cake:

* If the tops of the chocolate buttermilk cake are not even, use a knife to thinly slice off the uneven bits from the top of the cake.
* Set one cake half, bottom-side down on a cake plate or platter.
* Spoon about 1/3 of the Chocolate Espresso Buttercream on top of the cake half and spread to within an inch of the cake border.
* Place the the second half of the cake on the first half, top-side down. Gently press the top of the cake to ensure that it is even and that the two halves stay firmly together.
* With the remaining 2/3 Chocolate Espresso Buttercream, frost the entire cake. You can either frost just the top or the entire cake. If you frost the entire cake, you will have just enough frosting.
* If you have any chocolate left over, use a vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate and garnish the cake with the chocolate shavings.


  1. All this talk of not being much of a baker, Thanh7580, but it looks like you've done a fantastic job here!

  2. I'm getting better as a baker Cindy. You should have seen me at the start. I used to not really follow the instructions and just chuck all the ingredients in at once and mix it. I made some awful bricks in the past.

    This cake turned out extremely well and tasted great too. Everyone said it was great at work today, with people grabbing seconds immediately.

  3. Oh yum- Thanh that cake looks delicious and I reckon I could down that frosting on its own!


  4. M, the frosting was nice. It wasn't sickly sweet and I did lick it a lot while I was frosting the cake.