**Warning: This cake will make your house smell amazing. In fact, you may have unexpected visitors if you leave the windows open**
It's Birthday Time!
Ok so tomorrow is my husband's birthday and I just had to make him a fabulous cake - we have been through so much in the past year: We had our beautiful son, my husband finished his PhD, we moved across the country, I left work to stay home with our son, and we decided to start making our lives healthier by using more and more organic and less of the store bought preservative full foods that so often tempt us.
Such a busy year for sure! And what a better excuse to make a super fabulous, decadent, and whole wheat chocolate cake than a Birthday after a year like that? And to make it even more amazing, I frosted the cake with a homemade chocolate buttercream icing with a perfect drippy ganache! (in other words, heaven in your mouth).
So with another fabulous recipe for the family successfully made in our kitchen, I simply had to share. And don't worry, just because most of the recipe is preferred organic, you don't have to use orgainc. Only if it fits your budget:)
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake
What You Need: (all ingredients Organic Preferred)
2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 1/4 cups Organic Sugar
4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Warm Water
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
Butter or more coconut oil for greasing pan(s)
To start, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt). Dig a whole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the two eggs. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup) place the water, oil, and vanilla. Mix together by hand or on low while slowly adding the oil water mixture to the bowl. Once combined go ahead and grease your pans.
Bake the two cakes for 18-22 minutes or the large single cake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when there is no movement if you jiggle the pan and/or a toothpick comes our clean. For me it was 43 minutes exactly both times I baked.
Let the cake cool completely before icing (especially since we will be using a butter based frosting). In fact, I would even go so far to actually chill the cake in the fridge. A cold cake makes frosting a breeze.
For the birthday cake, I doubled the cake recipe and baked two separate large cakes (I wanted to layer them.... yes one recipe can make two cakes but I couldn't find my 9 inch pan and so used my 10 inch spring form. We all compromise and get creative in life).
I did not have to double the buttercream recipe below however, as it made plenty. Another reason for doubling the cake? I needed to be sure I made a serious cake to celebrate such a fun birthday... and since peanut butter and chocolate are my husbands favorite dessert flavors I took this cake to the next level.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
What You Need:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) Butter
2 lb. Powdered Sugar (yes. 2 lbs)
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup half and half*
This is the absolute best peanut butter buttercream frosting I have ever made or had. True story. Hands down... delicious.
To start, let your butter sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. This will help it soften. You could always try to microwave it but do so at your own risk and with 10 second intervals. You do not want liquid butter. You want soft butter.
Add the soft butter and sugar to a large bowl (or kitchen aid mixer). Before starting to blend (aka turning on those beaters) fold the two together (this will prevent the dust storm). Add the peanut butter and vanilla, then turn the mixer on low. Add in the half and half, starting with 1/4 cup. For me this was all I needed but you may have a different situation so have the half and half on hand. Once the ingredients are blended enough you won't have a dust storm of powdered sugar, crank up the beaters and let the frosting fluff.
When the frosting reaches a thick but soft texture you are done. It is a frosting that once made it is ready to frost. Just to repeat for sanity's sake. you can make this ahead of time (we all need to prep sometimes!). If you do make this ahead of time, please keep it in the fridge. Being butter based it must be chilled otherwise it will be super soft and drippy. In fact this whole cake will need to be refrigerated when you are not eating it.
With that, you should be ready to frost. Go to town and have fun! And if you have extra, well, grab a spoon! (or the spatula.....)
|Busted! Ok how do you not lick the frosting off the spatula?
Aimee wait! how did you get that chocolate layer on top?I did admit earlier I also made Ganache. It is so easy why wouldn't I? I mean... I recently started running again and have signed up for some races (with baby).... I actually served my cake with fresh whipped cream and a homemade hot fudge sauce... but trust me, the sweet factor was a whole new place on the list of sugar highs and indulgences.
What You Need:
1 1/2 cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Start with 2 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream*
Ganache is super simple. It is melted chocolate with cream blended in. Once you make it you can also whip it or chill it for fluffy frosting or truffle centers. It's super fun, simple, and delicious.
All you need to do is heat water in the bottom part of a double boiler. Some people prefer to heat the cream and then add that to the chocolate chips. Either way, it will work, I just always have the most success with it this way.
So you bring the water to a close boil, turn off the heat and place the top of the double boiler over the water. You cannot get even a mL of water in the chocolate pan or this will be devasting. No one likes sad chocolate, so be careful. Once the chocolate begins to melt, whisk in the cream. I say to start with 2 tbsp because you may want a thicker ganache.
Just be careful and don't add a ton of cream and make soup, otherwise you will have some of the best hot chocolate you can imagine. (or in my case I purposely did it for some hot fudge sauce).
You must wait for the buttercream to set again on the cake before pouring ganache on it otherwise the warm chocolate and the soft butter will make a big mess. A tasty mess, but a big one that will break your heart. You do not want a broken heart. Do not make the ganache until your buttercream frosted cake has chilled at least an hour.
|1. The water is hot, turned off the heat, put the top pot on with the chocolate chips
2.) Whisking the melting chocolate
3.Added cream and making a shiny silky, not too thick ganache.
So for close to what I would pay for a questionable cake, I made an organic one. You of course don't have to make it organic. everyone has their own preferences.
Organic or not, this cake is amazing. I am so happy to share it with you, and would love it if you shared your experiences!
Thanks for baking with us, and Happy Birthday Husband!!!
~Aimee and Family