Well, I’m pooped! After a night of intense baking, planning and a morning of nervous fretting, our first book club meeting ended as a success. Even if only 3 people came and no one ate the cake.
These people must have nerves of steel! Layers of fudge, cookie crumbs and dense cake. I admire them already (course, I’d love them even more if they raved about my amazing cake baking skills, but I still think they’re pretty spectacular 😉 ).
We’re reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green this month and Angelmaker by Mark Harkaway next time. I’m really looking forward to the next meeting and seeing how the discussion evolves and the group bonds.
The meeting today, though, was a success on a personal level. This was the first time in my life where I took an idea I had been sitting on as a vague desire and actively set it into motion. It’ll be lovely if the group comes together and we all become best buds, but really, I’m counting the day already a win. There are many opportunities out there but so few are taken. I’ve passed up on so many things because of little worries: will I look silly, will people like me, will I have the time, etc. It’s when we stand a little straighter and blink our eyes clear of all doubts that we can truly grasp life and all it has to offer.
Book Club Fudge Cake
Note: Original recipe by Foodess (called Moist Chocolate Cake) and can be found here. I didn’t tweak this at all, but I did use the shortcuts. I also used her fudge icing recipe, which is amazing! The cocoa I used was Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder which gave the cake a more smooth cocoa flavor than other sharper cocoas. This cake is easy, delicious and it looks special. Give it a try and you’ll definitely love it!
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1 cup skim milk mixed with 1 tbsp white vinegar with no problems)
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick unsalted), melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (I used 1 cup hot water and 2 tsp instant – couldn’t taste the coffee at all)
- Preheat oven to 350 deg and line two 9 inch pans with parchment paper. I used pre-cut parchment rounds and trust me, they’re brilliant. No more tracing, cutting and waste.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, cocoa and baking soda.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add coffee and stir with spoon to blend (mixture will be runny).
- Pour evenly into pans and bake for 35 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean except for a few crumbs (this is important to remember since I was waiting until all crumbs disappeared and almost burnt my cake. A few crumbs is fine and means it’ll be moist later.)
- Allow cakes to cool in pans for 15 minutes.
- Gently run a knife or spatula around the edge of the cake to separate the cake from the pan. Place a parchment lined cooling rack over the top of cake pan, grasp the edges of the pan with mitts and flip cake over to dislodge. Using the parchment paper will help your cake from sticking to the cooling rack.
- Cool completely before frosting.
Note: Foodess gives us a roundabout recipe that is defined more clearly by another poster, but which I found to be not quite right either. Basically, follow the proposed recipe but adjust it to your desired taste and consistency.
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup milk (err on the side of caution and use less to begin with and add more as needed)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (depending on taste and whether or not you used unsalted or salted butter)
- Beat butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add vanilla and mix.
- Using a spoon, add dry ingredients and stir well. It’s okay to break out the mixer to smooth any lumps, but I found a spoon did the trick just fine.
- Use immediately as icing does firm up a bit while it sits.
- Pulse 5-6 Cookie Sandwiches in a processor until small crumbs form.
- Using a small piece of parchment paper, angle parchment at a 45 deg angle from the side of the frosted cake.
- Carefully pour a tsp or two of crumbs unto the parchment while you gently press upwards to align the crumbs and paper with the edge of the cake. The crumbs will stick the to edge without getting everywhere. (Well, almost. 🙂 )