Today’s cake is another good one from the Junior League of Palo Alto. In the intro to the recipe, they say that after much testing, this cake was deemed the richest and most appealing to their group of chocolate lovers. Now, it’s up to you to decide. I thought it was really good.
The Junior League frosts this cake with a coffee flavored icing. I love coffee flavor, but my family is not so into it, so I frosted the cake with my trusty Silky Chocolate Butter Frosting from Good Housekeeping. If you’d like to use the coffee frosting, the recipe is at the bottom.
As you read the recipe, you’ll notice some of the ingredients repeat themselves. So while it appears that there are a lot of ingredients, there aren’t. It’s not a one-bowl cake, but it’s fairly easy.
Palo Alto Chocolate Cake
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, separated
2 cups sifted cake flour (spoon lightly into your cup, don’t pack)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Silky Chocolate Butter Frosting:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
1 cup butter (2 sticks, salted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet (Ghirardelli) chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 9-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray (Pam for Baking). I used two dark baking pans so I preheated the oven to 325 degree F.
In a saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat and add 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg yolk. Whisk constantly for 3 minutes or until the custard is thick and smooth. Let it cool.
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add the 2 egg yolks, one at a time. Resift cake flour with baking soda and salt. In 3 parts, add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two. Finally, stir the cooled custard and vanilla into the batter.
Beat egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Fold into batter. Make sure they are well incorporated, or you will get white streaks in the baked cake. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake just begins to leave the sides of pans. When cool, spread with frosting.
In a 2 quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour and cocoa until evenly combined. Add milk and whisk until smooth – don’t worry if there are a few lumps because they will smooth out as you cook. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Reduce heat to low, cook 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Remove saucepan from heat; cool completely. This should take 40 minutes to an hour.
In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter until creamy. Gradually beat in cooled milk mixture, vanilla and melted chocolate. Frost the cake.
Junior League’s Coffee Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in ¼ cup hot water
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons rum or brandy.
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.