Finally finished the cake last night, which I was making for a silent auction at church. (Do I sound like my grandmother or what?)
I dispensed with Cook’s Illustrated and their Consumer Reports approach to cooking and turned to James Beard’s American Cookery for the chocolate cake recipe. It was the Chocolate Custard or Devil’s Food Cake on page 676–a tender, light cake. Very tender. Especially when you cook it a tiny bit too long, which makes the waxed paper you used to line the pan stick to the firm (but not burned) edges of the cake and cause them to crumble.
But then: Here comes the frosting to SAVE THE DAY!!!
This is a variation on Fanny Farmer’s (1990 version) of Cream Cheese Frosting (p. 600). I love that recipe because it’s incredibly versatile–you can add most any flavoring you like.
Here’s what I did for this cake:
Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosts a 9″ 3-layer cake
16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. strong brewed coffee (espresso would probably work too)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
Set aside 1 c. of the sugar. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add remaining 1 c. sugar until it’s sweetened to your taste.
I don’t care for very sweet frosting, so you may need to add up to 4 cups of the sugar.
Final confession: I actually had to use a mix of extra fine and confectioner’s sugar because I ran out of confectioner’s.
I bet that never happened to Fannie Farmer.