Birthday Chocolate Cake from Barefoot Contessa

Cake interlude to my NYC posts

Just over a week ago it was mine and my twin brothers birthday (we turned 24) and a large amount of my family came back home for the weekend for a visit. I wanted to make cake because it was my birthday and well…I wanted cake (not that I really needed an excuse). A request came through from Simon, my brother, that the cake should be chocolate so I started looking for a recipe as I didn’t currently have one I would turn to regularly. At first I was going to try the recipe from smittenkitchen.com but decided against it when I saw oil in the recipe, as so-far I have never been completely happy with oil cakes. None of my baking books had a cake I wanted to try apart from the guys from Baked. I have been wanting to try there Sweet and Salty Cake for ages but when I looked at the recipe I decided that this was not the occasion to try it. I then came across this recipe from Ina Garten on theamateurgourmet.com it looked great and I was settled on it until I saw the Oil!! Time was running late and I needed to go to the store so decided to trust the rave reviews I had read and im so glad I did. The buttercream is not overpowering or too sweet and perfect for the cake which is moisr with a really strong chocolate flavor but avoiding being dense.

1 3/4 Cups Plain (ap) flour, plus more for pans

2 Cups Sugar

3/4 Cups Cocoa Powder

2 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Buttermilk, shaken

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 Extra-Large Eggs, at room temperature

1 Tsp Pure Vanilla extract

1 Cup Freshly Brewed Hot Coffee


1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / 350 F and butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans, Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low to combine.

3. In another bowl, whisk to combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35/40 mins, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 mins, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

5. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with buttercream. Place the second layer on top, and spread the buttercream evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

My brother decided to film me baking and made a really great video of the process

Chocolate Buttercream

170g Quality Semisweet Chocolate

226g / 1/2 lb / 2 Sticks Butter, room temp

1 Extra Large Egg Yolk (room temp)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 Cup Sifted Icing Sugar

1 Tblsp Instant Coffee Powder

1. Chop the chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water and melt, set aside to cool to room temp.

2. In your electric mixer beat the butter on medium-high till fluffy and pale around 3 minutes.

3. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for a further 3 minutes.

4. Turn mixer to low and gradually add the sugar then beat on medium high until smooth and creamy, making sure to scrape the bowl halfway through.

5. Dissolve the coffee in 2 tblsp of hot tap water, on low speed add this and chocolate until blended.

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10 responses to “Birthday Chocolate Cake from Barefoot Contessa

  1. Wow, that looks delicious. I am normally not a chocolate cake girl (Sweet & Salty is more my thing), but looking at that photo, I’d do anything for a piece! I like that you say the icing isn’t too sweet- my pet baking peeve is overly sweet icing 😦

    Happy belated birthday!

  2. Wow, that looks so so so good. Ahhhhhhh, like really delicious looking. I just want to reach into my screen and grab a slice .. or maybe the whole cake.

    Happy belated birthday!!

  3. I made a really similar cake a few weeks ago and it was divine. Same concept with the coffee and buttermilk. I had heard of this recipe too so it’d be interesting to try this one as well and compare.

    • yeah i noticed the cake on your site it looks wonderful (Its the cake I mentioned at the start of the post on smittenkitchen), your cake looks so dense and fudgy, but I guess the frosting is the biggest difference being that its a ganache frosting so it will be even more decadant

  4. i make brownies with oil and they are delicious…soft and squdgy so I’m thinking that why ur cake turned out similar…it looks absolutely gorgeous and makes me want chocolate cake NOW!!! 🙂

  5. ohhhhhh my. that cake looks very very scrumptious.
    wow. not a lot of photos make me feel this way, despite my regular blog surfing, but something about that dark chocolate cake makes my mouth salivate! 😀

  6. the best chocolate cake i’ve ever had. LOVE

  7. I made this cake for my son’s Birthday recently. It was soooo good and moist. This is definitely my new fav choc cake recipe. Thanks Ina

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