One of my favorite troves of recipes is the new york times' cooking website. I use it to fill in my weekly meal plans, often with new ideas and more often with our favorites. Usually as I go through the site, I stumble upon a dessert or breakfast recipe that I bookmark for later. A few weeks ago, Dorie Greenspan's chocolate chocolate birthday cake peaked my interest... Wait, chocolate + chocolate + birthday cake? Yes yes, let's save that.
And I wasn't planning on making a cake this weekend. I had an order for a dozen lemon pound cupcakes and after recipe-testing all week, I was off cake. But the day after the order, both husband and I caught what had been ailing babygirl all week, and we were all just in foul moods, so I thought a chocolate chocolate 'happy' cake is exactly what we all needed.
Dorie's recipe method is fairly straightforward: cream your butter and sugar, add eggs one by one, alternatively add sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk ...etc. Most chocolate cake recipes follow this formula, but end with hot water or hot coffee (I wont go into my tirade against coffee again - check my about section!). What is unique about dorie's is the addition melted dark chocolate - a genius addition that deepens the chocolate flavor of the chocolate, and helps it stay moist longer.
We liked the cake as a classy chocolate cake, but a very simple tweak to the buttercream really made this stand out. I followed dorie's instructions but after mixing all the ingredients, found it a tad too sweet for my liking. To give it more punch, I added sea salt and then a bit more, and then I tasted it and perfection was tossing around my taste-buds. Not only did this temper the too-sweetness, but added a lovely complexity to the taste, and made it much more addictive than your average chocolate buttercream.
A few hours later once the cake was fully assembled, we sat down to tea and this chocolate chocolate cake and yes - our moods did improve, if only until the next coughing/sneezing spell.
Chocolate Cake & Salted Chocolate Buttercream
-> after you have completed dorie's recipe for buttercream, add 1-2 tsp of flaky sea salt to taste.