Well let me tell you... she really outdid herself this time.
She created every element of this scrapbook herself, right down to the pages, literally hand cutting the heart shape over and over for each page. We share a love for all things Twilight, and the paper she found for this project is undoubtedly very Twilight-esque... deep reds, black gothic details... very romantic. My bumbling words don't do this piece justice (neither do my photos). It is absolutely one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received and one that will be cherished.
On to the cake... Last year when I asked Ginelle what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, she answered, "A homemade, very June Cleaver-y chocolate cake." And I knew exactly where I would go for just such a cake.
Ina Garten's cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa At Home", features this decadent cake. It is, without a doubt, the absolute best chocolate cake you will find anywhere. Trust me. I've eaten a lot of chocolate cake from a lot of different places, and this is the real deal. I've never come across a cake that stays as moist as this cake, and the buttercream is sinfully rich. Note: the recipe for the buttercream calls for an egg yolk to give more depth to the flavor and give the icing a nice shine. I leave this out as most people aren't comfortable with the idea.
Ginelle loved this cake, so what better way can I say "thank you" than with her very own June Cleaver chocolate cake? :)
Always make sure your ingredients are at room temperature (yes, even the eggs and buttermilk). It truly does make a difference.
Ginelle's "June Cleaver" Chocolate Cakefrom Ina Garten
1 3/4 c flour
2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8" round cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment. Dust pans with flour.
In your mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low speed. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Carefully beat the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated. Then (SLOWLY!) mix in the hot coffee. Divide batter evenly between both prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in the pans, then invert onto cooling racks. Once cakes are completely cooled, frost with chocolate buttercream.
Chocolate Buttercream6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter - softened
1 lg egg yolk (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c + 1 tbsp sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 2 tsp hot water
Melt chocolate and set aside to cool. In mixer bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk and vanilla and beat for one minute, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula. Slowly beat in the confectioner's sugar on low speed (unless you want a sugar storm!). Add the coffee and chocolate and beat until fully incorporated.
Set one layer of the cake on a cake stand, flat side up. Spread 1/3 of the buttercream across the top. Add the second cake layer and frost with remaining buttercream. Summon all your willpower not to immediately dive into the cake. Enjoy!!
I promise this isn't waiting for you in that cake box, G ;)