Saturday, April 19, 2008


I love Ina Garten and her show, Barefoot Contessa. I find her incredibly intelligent and very engaging, even if she seems to overly dote on her husband. Her emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients is what makes her simple recipe so good. With that said, I tried my hands at her, or rather, Beatty's Chocolate Cake. Her recipe makes a 2-layered 8-inch cake, but I went with cupcakes instead, with a yummy almond buttercream toffee frosting adapted from Gale Gand.
The cupcakes were moist but didn't taste very chocolatey when they were warm. However, the flavor intensified as they cooled. The texture was light and fluffy, not greasy at all. They were excellent paired with the buttercream frosting.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten
makes about 24 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, and stir to combine. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combine. Add in coffee and mix, be sure to not overbeat. The batter will be thin. Divide the batter into a prepared (buttered) cupcake tin, filling to about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Frost with favorite frosting.

Almond Buttercream Toffee Frosting from Gale Gand

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 cup toffee bits

Using a hand-or standing-mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter, starting at low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes. Add almond extract and cream and continue to beat for 1 minute more. Frosting should be thick and fluffy. Fold in toffee bits.

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