Cake seems to make everyone happy whether it’s your birthday, a holiday celebration or just because. Store bought cakes are fine, but why not go the extra step and bake your own? The flavors of a homemade cake are lighter, fresher and you can tailor them with your own special touch.
I remember in pastry school, we spent two solid months making just cake. The technique had to be perfect with a light fluffy interior texture and creamy topping that was beautifully smooth. I think this is where I really appreciated the art of actually baking your own homemade cakes. There’s just no substitute.
Chocolate Cake seems to be a favorite in my family, though I am slightly partial to vanilla. The intense chocolaty taste from the cocoa powder is magnified with a smear of fresh Swiss Buttercream. American Buttercream is a mixture of powdered sugar and butter, however European buttercream is made with a meringue base created by whipping eggs whites and sugar into a marshmallow-like frosting, before adding the butter. I am a huge lover of Swiss Buttercream because it is less sweet, than our American version and has a silkiness that is just delightful.
This Chocolate Cake with Swiss Vanilla Buttercream is not difficult to prepare, just read through the instructions before you begin and you will be set. There is something deeply satisfying about making your own cake, I hope you will give this recipe a try!
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Valrhona is my favorite
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup boiling water
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line with parchment two 9-inch cake pans. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda, set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and oil.
2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until combined. Add the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter equally into each pan and bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Remove and let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Using a knife, loosen around perimeter and invert onto a rack. Cool completely before frosting. You can store cakes wrapped in plastic overnight in the refrigerator to frost the next day, if needed.
3. To make frosting – In a double-boiler, add egg whites and sugar. Cook until warm to touch and sugar is dissolved. Pour warm sugar mixture into a stand mixer or large bowl and beat on high until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.
4. While the mixer is running, add room temperature butter in pieces and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk on high until all the butter is incorporated and the buttercream starts to pull away from sides of bowl. Trim tops off cakes and place first layer on plate or cake stand. Add 1/4 of frosting to the center and spread evenly. Place second layer on top and dollop frosting on top. Using an offset spatula or knife, spread frosting out and over the sides to cover. Decorate as desired. Either store in the refrigerator or serve immediately. Slice and Enjoy!