July 23, 2013

The Cake Slice Bakers June 2013 - Black and White Cake

I am extremely late with last month's cake.  I just seemed to lose my baking mojo, and each time I thought about getting ready to bake this cake something else seemed to need my time and energy.

The cake that was chosen by the Cake Slice Baker's for June was the Black and White Cake which is described in Vintage Cakes as "the reverse of the classic white cake with chocolate frosting: two thick layers of the darkest chocolate cake, slathered with bittersweet ganache and then covered with vanilla bean buttercream". Sounds pretty decadent doesn't it?

Although there are a lot of components to the cake, breaking it up over a couple of days makes the task seem less daunting.  I ended up baking the cake and making the ganache and buttercream, and assembling part of the cake one day and then completing the frosting and adding a ganache topping the following day.  Really, it is not a difficult cake to make at all, you just need to work out the timing.

As usual I had a few ideas to change the cake just a little - however, I did stay true to the basic recipe, which is the point in baking from this book and along with the group.  I decided that I wanted to lightly brush the layers with a mixture of coffee and Kahlua to add a little moistness and a flavor kick to the cake, and I ended up making a little extra ganache to pour over the top of the cake. Also, contrary to what the actual directions state I trimmed the tops of my cakes just a little and placed the top side down on the serving plate because I find that the bottom of the cake absorbs moisture better when brushing the cakes, and I did this with the second layer too. Oh, and I added a few drops of black food coloring to my ganache.  Call me crazy but I just do not like my ganache looking so red in my photos, and I am still learning about photography and editing photos, so I don't know how to fix this later.

This cake got rave reviews from all who tried it.  It had something for everyone - a deep, dark chocolate flavor for the chocoholics, and a lovely sweet vanilla flavor for the vanilla lovers. Also, it really does develop a great flavor if left for a couple of days in the refrigerator, but make sure you allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

Please visit The Cake Slice Bakers blogroll page for links to all of my fellow baker's cakes.  I am about to head over there myself since I make it a rule not to peek at the other cakes before I get mine up on my blog.  I can't wait to see all of their delicious creations. Oh, and don't forget that we have a Facebook page too and would love for you to visit - there you will see not only our monthly group baking project, but also all of the other goodies we bake and some great tips.

Black and White Cake
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Ingredients ~ Cake
  • ¾ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • ⅔ cup hot coffee 
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons hot coffee (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (optional)
Ingredients ~ Ganache
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
Ingredients ~ Buttercream
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter (1 pound), room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation ~ Cake
  1. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350℉. 
  2. Line two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Grease each pan with cooking spray. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot coffee, add the sour cream and vanilla and stir until well mixed. 
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. 
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter  and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, adding the next one just as the previous one has been incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go to fully incorporate the ingredients.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Smooth the tops and tap each pan on the counter a few times to allow air bubbles to escape. 
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes - cakes are ready when the center spring back lightly when touched.
  9. 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. 
  10. Combine the hot coffee and Kahlua.
  11. To assemble the cake, lay one of the cakes, top side up, on a serving plate (see my note above for my variation).  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the cake with the combined coffee-Kahlua mixture. Using a metal spatula frost the top with about ½ cup of ganache, spreading it just a little inside the edge of the cake. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes to allow the ganache to firm up. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and 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 (see note above), gently brush the cake with the combined coffee-Kahlua mixture, and frost it with another ½ cup cup of ganache and chill it in the fridge for another 5 minutes. Once chilled, spread a thin layer 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 top of cake with the remaining ganache in desired. 
Preparation ~ Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl. 
  2. Heat cream in a medium saucepan set over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until the cream starts to simmer. 
  3. Remove the cream from heat and pour over chocolate. Swirl the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is coated. 
  4. Cover the bowl with a lid and let the cream and chocolate sit together for 5 minutes. 
  5. 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. 
Makes about 1 ½ cups

Preparation ~ Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Using a hand whisk, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Place the bowl over (not touching the water) a saucepan of simmering water. The mixture will be thick at first but will become more fluid-like as it heats. 
  3. Continue to gently whisk the mixture until very hot to the touch (130℉ on a candy thermometer).
  4. 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 it is is thick and glossy, and holds stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. 
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed until the bowl is cool to touch. 
  6. Turn the speed back up and add the butter, one cube at a time, adding the next just as the previous one has been incorporated. During the mixing the frosting will, at one stage, look as though it has curdled, but it will come back together.
  7. Once all the butter has been added, and the frosting is fluffy and creamy, add the vanilla and salt until combined.
Makes about 5 cups. This buttercream, covered with plastic wrap will last for 2 days at room temperature or 7 days in the refrigerator.  If refrigerated it needs to come to room temperature before use.  Also the buttercream will need to be re-whipped before use.

Slightly adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.


  1. Love the pictures of your B&W cake and your brushing coffee and kahlua for extra flavors. You good!

  2. The Black & White Cake was challenging but oh, so delicious. Your cake looks absolutely gorgeous, Felice =)


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