It's been "birthday week in our house"; first my oldest daughter who turned four, and then myself two days later. We've had a blast joyously celebrating with birthday ice cream with sprinkles:
and a birthday peach pie, courtesy of my mother-in-law.
But no where this week, have we actually consumed birthday cake! I figured I should remedy that by offering up a slice of this "Died and Gone to Heaven Chocolate Cake." This stuff is deadly. It's rich and moist and oh so chocolatey; the perfect rich delight to celebrate some birthdays.
I first made this cake over a year ago* when I first decided I wanted to review cookbook's. I had just begun running (even participated in two 5 km races) and decided the next logical step was to begin to eat more healthily. The cookbook Eat, Shrink and Be Merry: great tasting food that won't go from your lips to your hips! had been on my cookbook shelf for a couple of years. I had barely cooked from it and thought now would be the perfect time. I was running, getting into shape, starting to feel really good physically, even seeing the scale moving a bit to the left. It was perfect timing to cook and review a bunch of recipes from a low-fat cookbook! Go figure that the first thing I did was flip to the last chapter of the book called "You're Gonna Die Anyway" that had one lone recipe in it with a caption that said "one gut-busting, high-fat, calorie-laden doozie of a treat, 'cuz you only live once!"
Ummm. Done. That was the first recipe I cooked out of the book and I never looked back.
Recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
Makes about 16 slices
3 cups sugar
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
11/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz unsweetened chocolate squares, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup whipping cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate squares
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut circles of parchment paper to fit bottom of pans and place in pans. Lightly grease paper. Set pans aside.
Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat eggs on high speed of electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until they have thickened slightly and are lemon coloured. Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix on low speed until well blended.
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, peel off paper and cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting: Whisk sugar, cocoa, and whipping cream in a medium saucepan. Cook slowly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed of electric mixer until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended. Refrigerate frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached, about 1 hour. It’s important not to let it get too firm, or you won’t be able to spread it.
To frost cake: Place one cake layer on a pretty plate. Spread 1 cup frosting over top. Repeat with second layer. Place final layer on top. Ice top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Decorate cake with halved strawberries or whole raspberries, if desired. Cover and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Click here for printable version of Died and Gone to Heaven Chocolate Cake
When the caption says it's a "gut busting, doozie of a treat" they weren't lying! This cake is luscious and so incredibly delicious and fudgey. I added halved strawberries to the top and the cake really needed the fresh, juicy fruit to cut through the richness. Earlier this year, I was at my daughter's friends birthday party and devouring the homemade Thomas the Tank Engine cake with a vengeance. "This is like the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten!" I exclaimed as I shoved more blue icing-ed morsels into my mouth. "I know" she replied. "It's the Died and Gone to Heaven Cake" from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry." I shoulda known! To be honest, I almost liked it better with the vanilla icing she had on there. I have officially added this chocolate cake to my arsenal of special occasion treats. A triple layered cake with chocolate cream cheese icing like this, or a single layer of chocolate cake topped with your favorite vanilla, peanut butter or coffee flavored icing would also be spectacular.
Ummm, I'm sorta making myself hungry! Maybe making my own post-birthday birthday cake is in order. Yes, I think so.
*Can you say "procrastinate much?" Procrastination should be a sport. I would most definitely excel at it.