Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cake Slice Bakers - June 2013: Black and White Cake

Hello, and Happy Thursday! I have more magnificent cake to share with you today from Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes. I know I didn’t share last month’s cake, but in all honesty there was just so much going on what with coming back home, getting settled, and then my sister’s graduation, there was absolutely no time to bake that cake. So because of that little slip up I made sure to make this month’s cake (I as so determined I made it about two weeks in advance).

This month’s cake is called the Black and White Cake. It’s basically the exact opposite of The Classic I made back in January. This is a dark chocolate cake filled and topped with chocolate ganache and creamy vanilla buttercream. Although this has not been my favorite cake out of the book, it definitely is delicious!

The recipe for the cake requires hot coffee, and since I am not a coffee drinker and no nothing about coffee, I grabbed any old thing of coffee my dad had lying around. It turns out I grabbed some pretty strong coffee because the chocolate cake turned into a chocolate mocha cake. The resulting flavor was surprising, but it was a sort of nice surprise. And after a day in the fridge, the mocha flavor subsided just a enough to bring the flavor of chocolate through a little more. So, if you like the taste of chocolate mocha, go for the strong stuff, if you want just a chocolate cake, reach for the decaf.

The only tricky part about this cake is the frosting. This is a basic vanilla buttercream, but it called for egg whites and cooking it down with sugar and a bit of cream of tartar. I have never used a buttercream recipe that called for egg whites only because I’m afraid I won’t cook it enough and someone will get sick. Despite my apprehension, I did make the classic vanilla buttercream and it was so creamy and smooth. I can’t wait to try another variation of this buttercream method.

The recipe I have down below makes two 8-inch round cakes. However, I halved the recipe to get one layer and I cut that layer in half horizontally.

Black and White Cake
Makes two 8-inch round cake
Slightly adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

¾ cup (60g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup hot coffee
½ cup sour cream
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (180g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cup (240g) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (64g) sugar
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 recipe chocolate ganache (below)
1 recipe vanilla buttercream (bellow)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Grease each pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot coffee and stir until thick. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla. The mixture will still be thick but it will be a little looser. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Slowly add in both sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time until. Beat until fully incorporated. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture in two parts. Begin and end with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are blended together.

Pour half of the batter into one prepared pan and the remaining batter in the other pan. Tap each pan on the counter a few times to allow air bubbles to escape. Place each pan on the center rack, evenly spaced, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle and the tops are cracked.

Cool the cakes in the pan for 30 minutes before inverting them and placing them top side up on a cooling rack to cool completely before assembling.

To assemble the cake, lay one of the cakes, top side up, on a serving plate.  Frost the top with about ½ cup of ganache, spreading it just before the edge of the cake. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes to allow the ganache to firm up. Once the ganache has firmed, spread about 1 cup of the buttercream, covering the ganache, and taking it all the way to the edge of the cake. Align the second cake on top of the buttercream, top side up. Frost the top with another ½ cup cup of ganache. Chill in the fridge for another 5 minutes. Once chilled, spread a thin coat of buttercream all around the cake, creating a crumb coat.  Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the thin layer of frosting. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Decorate the cake with dots or kissed with any of the remaining ganache in desired.

Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips

Place the chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat cream in a medium sauce pan set over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until the cream starts to simmer. Remove the cream from heat and pour over chocolate. Swirl the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is coated. Cover the bowl with a lid and let the cream and chocolate sit together for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the cream and chocolate together. First start with small circles in the center and gradually increase until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to sit up to a couple hours to become creamy.

Vanilla Buttercream
Makes about 5 cups

6 egg whites
1 ¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Using a hand whisk, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. The more the mixture is heated, the more fluid-like it will become. Continue to gently whisk the mixture until very hot to the touch (130 F on a candy thermometer).

Move the bowl to the stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip the whites and sugar mixture together on medium-high speed until it has tripped in volume and its appearance is thick, glossy, and holds stiff peaks. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed until the bowl is cool to touch. Turn the speed back up and add the butter, one cube at a time. At first the mixture will still look like meringue, then the frosting will look as if it has curdled. Continue to add butter and mix no matter what. Continue to whip the buttercream until it is fluffy and creamy. Blend in the vanilla and salt until combined.  


  1. Hi Becca,

    Your B&W cake is very pretty!

  2. Thank you for joining us again this month! It's always great to see what you bake! I am sorry you didn't love this cake as much as we did here... I thought it was just heavenly! I didn't bake 2 8" cakes... I used 2 9" round cake pans and it wasn't as tall either but it was just perfect I thought! Good job Becca!

  3. Looks great Becca :) Nice to see that halving the recipe still yields great results, doesn't always work out for me! I'm new to the group so popping by to say hello! Hazel x

  4. Becca, although you are not a coffee drinker, can I applaud your bravery for baking with us? :) Your cake looks scrumptious btw!

  5. Your cake looks lovely Becca :). Good for you trying the buttercream, I'm glad it worked out for you.

  6. Becca you did a really great job with the cake. I'm thrilled to be amongst such talented bakers.

  7. Becca your cake looks so good!

  8. Great tips about the extra strong coffee, Becca. I didn't notice any strong accent in my B & W cupcakes but may go for espresso next time =)

    Love how you decorated the cake, too =)

  9. Wow- this cake sounds wonderful!

  10. Oh Becca....this is a BEAUTIFUL cake! (I love that first photo where you started spreading the ganache....I just want to reach my finger in and scoop some up!) So glad you were able to bake it! : )

  11. Oh Lord! That looks good! I've been thinking about purchasing the book.. Have you tried more recipes from it? Would you recommend the book?


  12. That first picture has my mouth watering! Thanks for posting the recipe, because I'm going to copy and paste it :-)


  13. So glad you were able to join us this month. Yes sometimes life just gets in the way and that's ok.

    Your cake turned out so yummy looking! Being a coffee drinker I like the idea of using something stronger... will have to give that a try.


  14. I'm not really a coffee person either, but in this it worked. Your cake is beautiful!

  15. Your cake looks great, and I agree that the first photo has me wanting to grab a little of that lovely ganache. I hadn't thought of halving the recipe but that makes perfect sense, especially when I don't have my whole family here to share it with.


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