This cake was a disaster up until the very end. All of my cakes seem to be. I get so nervous about 3/4 of the way through that I nearly give up, and then they turn out lovely.
I did some mixing and matching for this cake. I was going to make everything from this entry in Annie's Eats. Well, I made the cake yesterday, but I did not grease the pans well enough, so the layers did not come out intact. Frustrated, I decided to try another recipe for the cake. I used Annie's recipe for the filling and chocolate buttercream, though...and Walter's office will get more cake balls next week!
The handle (which is held firm with a wire inside the fondant) and top of the basket are made with chocolate fondant. The other decorations are edible Easter grass, Peeps, and Zachary's chocolate marshmallow eggs.
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
I found this recipe here at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. It is officially my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. It is easy, moist, and delicious, and it did not crumb nearly as badly as the last recipe I used. It held up nicely for the cake decorating, which I much appreciated.
-12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (by now, you know my obsession with cake flour. I used 1 3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 Tablespoons cake flour)
-4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
-1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
-1/2 cup hot water
-1 1/4 cups and 1/2 cup sugar, divided
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 teaspoon table salt
-1 cup buttermilk
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-4 large eggs
-2 large egg yolks
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans (I used 3 8-inch pans) and set aside.
2. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a simmering pot of water and heat until chocolate is melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
3. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks until combined. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
5. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
6. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pan with spatula.
7. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.
Cookies and Cream Filling
This...oh my goodness, this is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. If I weren't lactose intolerant, it wouldn't have made it onto the cake. I got it here at Annie's Eats, and it is amazing. I had some left over, so I added it to the leftover chocolate buttercream I had and plan to use it for the cake balls.
-1 1/4 cups heavy cream
-2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
-10 chocolate Oreos, finely chopped
1. Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until all sugar is incorporated. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in chopped cookie pieces with a rubber spatula. Spread between layers of cake or eat it all because it is wonderful.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
This was pretty run-of-the-mill chocolate buttercream. Tasty and smooth, and worked well for piping.
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
-2/3 cup cocoa powder
-3 cups powdered sugar
-1/3 cup milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until the icing reaches a spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla and spread over cake.