This is the cake I made for Rosie Beaucoup’s birthday. This is the cake you should consider making for someone you love. Because it will make that person love you back. (Even if they don’t want to.) That’s basically how I snagged 2.0; I won him over with baking. Also, this cake says: I forgive you for making me wear white oxford shirts under absolutely everything when I was growing up.
When my sister and I were young, Rosie Beaucoup required us to dress appropriately at all times. Knee socks, Mary Janes, Holly Hobby inspired skirt/vest combos, culottes and white oxford shirts. The white oxford shirt was a mainstay. Our wardrobe was the opposite of cool. It was quilted. It was knit. It was straight out of a Simplicity inspiration book. It was lovingly crafted by our mother, and it wasn’t appreciated the way it should have been. Because when you’re the runt of the class? With crooked teeth, glasses and a droopy eye? Holly Hobby ain’t doin’ you any favours.
Haddy and I had to wear white oxford shirts under everything. A crisp, white collar, we were told, was a perfectly lovely way to tie an outfit together. (Even if our friends didn’t agree.) Also, layering prevents scrawny children from catching a chill. So we wore white oxford shirts under sweaters, cardigans, vests, AND t-shirts. We hated it. Paired with the compartmentalized Tupperware lunch boxes we had to carry (everyone else had brown paper bags, mom), sensible shoes and a sweater vest? Not a lot of pre-teen curb appeal.
My mother’s response? A few years back she lamented:
… if you pointed out that other kids didn’t have to wear oxford shirts or slips under their skirts, or get their shoes at Kiddie Kobbler because the staff there make sure the shoes fit your feet properly and children who don’t wear perfectly fitted shoes end up pigeon-toed, bowlegged and pregnant in highschool, you would say that their mothers don’t take care of them and probably also let their kids eat white bread and work on science fair projects without doing a proper outline first.
Run-on sentences aside, she makes a pretty good case. And now that I think about it, I ain’t got no kids, my legs are basically well formed, and I’m a borderline genius. So maybe I didn’t win 2.0 over with my baking. Maybe it was my uninhabited uterus and sturdy legs.
You should consider baking someone you love a cake just like this one here. A cake that is all a chocolate cake should be – dark, rich and moist. A cake that makes people ooh and aah. A one bowl cake that kicks it old school. No trendy ingredients here – no rosewater, lavender, or bergamot infused anything. Not a cocoa nib in sight. This cake won’t hang with the cool kids, but it’ll be pretty awesome just the same. This is an old-fashioned cake topped with a sweet, chocolatey, buttercream frosting. This is a cake that makes your mother reach for a second piece when she almost never, ever reaches for a second piece. This just might be the white oxford shirt of birthday cakes.
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recipe: from foodess, with wee adjustments to the notes
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 9-inch circular baking pans with parchment paper. (To line with parchment paper, trace your pans onto a sheet of parchment paper and then cut out – trim if necessary to get a nice fit in the bottom of the pan.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla bean paste and beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Stir in hot coffee, mixing until well combined. You will have a loose, satiny batter.
Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake on middle rack of the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool on wire racks for 5 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans. Then allow the the cakes to cool completely on the racks before frosting.
(Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe below.)
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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
recipe: inspired by many, and adapted in the barest of ways from Savory Sweet Life
- 3 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar – you may need more to adjust for consistency
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream – you may need more to adjust for consistency
Yields enough to frost a 2 layer, 9-inch circular cake.
In a medium sized bowl, sift together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa and salt, and then set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for 3-4 minutes with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
Turn off the mixer. Add the sifted sugar mixture and almond extract to the butter, and then mix on the lowest speed until the mixture starts to come together. Add the heavy cream and beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar – just a tablespoon at a time. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional cream – a teaspoon at a time.