Celebrate Good Times with Stella Park's Chocolate Cake!

Celebrate good times, come on! I'm certain that Kool & the Gang were definitely talking about cake. Celebrations are nicely punctuated with Champagne, friends, family, foie gras, a good steak, some music, fireworks, gifts, and caviar, but at the end of the day,  a home-baked cake made with love says it all.

Cake, a universal symbol of love and celebration, an homage to a time gone by when people spent more time together, less time "liking" the post of someone they went to high school with, who they didn't like then and don't know now. Perhaps baking a cake for a loved one, slowing down, signing out, spending some time in the quiet of selflessness, would do our screen-addicted souls good?

As for us two, we will revel in the joy of being together, cake and all. Can we suggest that you read this blog, bake a cake, and call your mother? Call your sister? Call your best friend. Plan a night together. Eat cake. Laugh. Drink wine. Be together. Be present. Most importantly, be joyous with those you love, those that matter. Life is short, and cake is sweet, so bake a cake.

Bake a cake, any cake. When we began to think of cake, naturally we checked one of our favorite recipe sites, SeriousEats. Baker, Stella Parks, has recently released her cookbook Brave Tart, showcasing many of her lovely recipes, one of which is her chocolate cake. This cake, which took her five years to perfect, is amazingly simple as it's made all in one pot on the stove and it was for this reason (plus her James Beard award) that we decided to make this cake.

Our verdict on Bravetart's One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake.

Natashka:  While this cake was appealing to make because of the simple and inventive method (one pot on the stove), the end result was both dry and crumbly. Furthermore, this cake cost a fortune to make, as we had to purchase six high end dark chocolate bars, seven sticks of butter, 11 eggs, and Dutch processed cocoa. In the end, while it was fun to make, it wasn't so much fun to eat, and our wallets felt the pinch.  We say skip this cake, and stay tuned for another chocolate cake recipe! Though, as long as you're eating cake (and drinking wine) with your mom, life isn't really that bad!

Stacey: Tash, where's my cosmo???

One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
- Makes one 8 by 4 inch, three-layer cake -
Reprinted with Permission from Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts
Devil's Food Cake
3 sticks (12oz) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) Black coffee or black tea
1 cup (3 oz) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (6 oz) finely chopped dark chocolate, approx 72% cocoa solids
2 cups gently packed (16oz) Light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs, cold
3 Tbsp (1 1/2 oz) egg yolks (about 3 large eggs worth)
2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda 
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray with baking spray. (If you don't have three pans, the batter can be kept at room temp for 90 mins)
Combine butter and coffee in a 5 quart pot, and set over low heat. Once the butter is melted , remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and chocolate, followed by the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the eggs and yolks. Sift in the flour and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then divide the mixture between the 3 pans (it should yield approx 23 ounces in each)
Bake until the cakes are firm, about 30 minutes, or until they register 210˚f on a thermometer. A toothpick inserted in the centre will emerge with a few crumbs left on it. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, at least 90 minutes. 
Invert each pan onto a wire rack, and peel off the parchment. Trim the tops of the cake using a serrated knife. Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate or turntable. Cover with a cup of the frosting spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Repeat with the second and third layers, cut side down. Finish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, and the decorations of your choice.


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