Barefoot in Chocolate

It’s been a little while since I posted a recipe, so here’s a good one for no other reason than ‘I felt like it’!

I baked this chocolate cake a while back for a co-worker’s birthday and it turned out beautifully. A chocoholic’s dream, it’s everything a chocolate cake should be: foolproof in its preparation, with a resulting treat that is deep, dark and intensely fudgy, yet light and moist with a tender crumb. You can eat a whole piece and not feel like it’s sitting in your stomach like a brick. I think it’s weightless quality comes from the buttermilk in the batter, the acid in which reacts with the leavening agents to produce air bubbles that make the cake extra fluffy. I love baking with buttermilk–it always seems to make everything just a little bit better.


The recipe comes from one of my favourite–and most reliable–cookbooks, Ina Garten’s ‘Barefoot Contessa at Home‘. This was one of those books that I picked up simply because the photos made me ravenously hungry at the bookstore, but unlike most impulse cookbook purchases, I’ve actually used it quite a bit. The chapters on desserts and breakfasts are especially droolworthy (but that could just be my penchant for sweet bready goodness speaking!)

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake (recipe courtesy of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I use my stovetop espresso maker for extra vim and vigour)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. (Ina says line them with parchment but I can’t be bothered with that).

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low until combined. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer still on low, slowly add wet to dry, then add the coffee until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (until a tester stuck in the middle comes out clean). Cool in pans for 30 minutes then turn onto a rack and cool completely. Frosting recipe below.

Ina’s Chocolate Frosting (a medium-depth frosting that perfectly complements the richness of the cake)

6 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (I just used 1 tablespoon espresso left over from making the cake)

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, then add egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. On low, add sugar gradually, scraping bowl as necessary. On low speed, add coffee and melted chocolate until just blended. Ina says, "Don’t whip!" So don’t whip. But do slather generously between, on and around the layers of chocolate cake. And be sure to save a dollop for eating straight up!

2 Responses to “Barefoot in Chocolate”

  1. Anna Says:

    Hi Anne!
    I love chocolate cakes made with buttermilk too. It adds such a unique flavor and it also contributes the moisture. I haven’t tried this particular cake, so I’m putting it on my list. If it’s from Ina Garten, it has to be good.

  2. Anne Says:

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. If you try the recipe, I’d love to know how you like it!

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