Happy new year!
We had a quiet new year’s eve, celebrated by staying at home, sharing a nice dinner and a bottle of champagne. It was a low-key affair but fun nonetheless, and, like every good party, there was cake.
I’ve been wanting to try Pioneer Woman’s best chocolate sheet cake paired with the best frosting for some time now but had been put off by my rather pathetic excuse for a hand mixer. All hail the arrival of a snazzy new kMix hand mixer in raspberry red! My surprise Christmas gift was crying out to be put to good use as soon as possible…
And what can I say? This chocolate cake lives up to its name, it’s surprisingly light given its rich, chocolate taste. Rather than making a sheet cake I adapted the original recipe to make two 9 inch round cakes which I sandwiched together and covered in the amazing frosting which had the silky, moussy texture of whipped cream. I was baffled by how a flour and milk roux could work in frosting but when you beat it into the creamed butter and sugar it captures the air and becomes fluffy and smooth. This is a match made in heaven and one that I will definitely be making again!
(adapted from Pioneer Woman’s best chocolate sheet cake)
- 250g plain flour
- 300g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 230g butter
- 50g cocoa
- 250ml boiling water
- 125ml buttermilk*
- 2 large eggs
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp vanilla paste or extract
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 9 inch sandwich tins – loose-based tins will make the cakes much easier to remove,
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
In a large pan melt the butter. When the butter is melted stir in the cocoa until smooth then add the boiling water and let the mixture boil for 30 seconds. Take off the heat and stir in the flour mixture.
In a small bowl mix the buttermilk, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla. Beat into the butter mix until smooth and glossy. The mix will be quite thin and should begin to bubble as the bicarb reacts with the acid in the buttermilk.
Divide the mix between the two tins as evenly as possible and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 mins or until firm. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 mins then remove and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To frost, place one cake flat side down on a nice plate. Using a bread knife or cake wire, carefully trim off the domed top of the cake to create a flat surface. Sandwich together the two cakes with a little frosting and use the rest to cover them.
*I’ve given up buying buttermilk, it invariably comes in a bigger pot than I need or has randomly sold out. You can make a substitute by mixing warmed milk with a little vinegar and leaving it to curdle for a few minutes.
(from Tasty Kitchen via Pioneer Woman)
- 250ml milk (I used skimmed which worked fine)
- 40g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 200g caster sugar (not icing sugar!)
- 225g butter (the butter should be firm, just soft enough to beat in the sugar but not soft)
In a small pan mix the milk and flour then cook over a medium heat, stirring until the mix becomes thick. Leave to cool completely. (This step is best done while the cakes are baking.) Try not to cry when you realise that was the last of your milk which means no more tea until you can pop to the shops…
In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and smooth. The creamed butter and sugar should not be grainy, this is a good excuse to have regular tastes!
Once the butter and sugar are ready, beat in the vanilla and milk and flour roux until fluffy. If the mix looks like it has split just keep beating. Have another taste, maybe on some of the cake you sliced off to make it flat…
Once you’ve determined that it is delicious, frost your cooled cake.