Did you know, before today, I hadn't had a cup of coffee in almost a week? I'm trying to make changes here people and my complete and total dependence on coffee was a good start. That, and I really hate cleaning my French press. Today is a different story. As I type, I am waiting for my friends to show up so we can head into the Cascades to do some hiking. Guess what time I woke up? 6:30 am. Without an alarm. Can someone please tell me why I naturally wake up so early on the weekends yet it is feat of strength for me to even pull the eye-shades off before 7:30 during the week?
Regardless, I had coffee this morning. A whole French press of coffee. I haven't done this since college and now I am remembering why I don't do this on a regular basis. I feel like I'm on magical cocktail of all the mood enhancing drugs in the universe. I sorted my laundry! I'm writing a blog post! I made my lunch! WEEE! Let's hope the inevitable crash comes AFTER I'm done hiking for the day. [fact: it didn't]
Now that I've forewarned you to how drugged I am, tally-ho! Onto the food!
This is a cake I made for my friend Sasha's birthday. We play kickball & bar trivia together, so she knows about my baked goods. When her birthday rolled around, she asked for a birthday cake knowing that I willingly make extravagant cakes. After questioning her about cake flavors (Chocolate? White? Yellow? Neon Green?) and toppings of choice (Rainbow sprinkles? Fruit? Fluffy clouds?) she decided on her favorite flavor combination: chocolate and raspberry.
Easy for me as I've made cakes & cupcakes with this combo countless times! As far as the raspberry buttercream goes, you can use either fresh or frozen raspberries, just make sure you strain the puree before reducing it. I made this mistake once… I almost lost a friend over a rogue raspberry seed. Even after adding some preserves to the puree, if the color isn't to your liking, feel free to add a pin prick of rose food coloring.
Stand-By Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 1/3 cups sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 3 circles of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, then press them in.
- In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar and eggs and mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix. Add 1/2 of the flour, then 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream.
- Drizzle in the hot coffee and mix until smooth. The batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pans and bake until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay), about 35 minutes. Halfway through the baking, quickly rotate the pans in the oven to ensure even baking, but otherwise try not to open the oven. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups (may need more or less) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup raspberries, purred in a food processor & reduced
- ½ cup seedless raspberry preserves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Puree raspberries in food processor & strain through a fine mesh strainer. In a small saucepan, reduce over low heat until volume is reduced in half. Combine with raspberry preserves, set aside.
- Beat butter and 1 cup powdered sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Add vanilla and raspberry puree and beat for 1 minute.
- Adding 1 cup at a time, add the remaining powdered sugar. You may find that you need less than 4 cups or more than 4 cups depending on the consistency of the frosting you are going for.