two cakes, one (macaroni) salad

I never made my post about the English kitchen, and now we’ve moved, which solved the thing that was the most vexing about my previous kitchen, which is that the washing machine was in the kitchen. (These are the laundry arrangements for most houses here; dryers are not really a big thing unless you have kids.) Anyway, now we have a utility room (a small room off the kitchen which usually houses an extra sink and a washing machine and has extra storage) and no more washing in my kitchen.

So yay.

Anyway, it was recently my husband’s birthday so I made him some cake. 

I made this dark chocolate and orange cake, which looked nice, I guess.


It’s OK, I guess. Too dense. Also, why 3 eggs and oil? Weird. I won’t be making it again.

Dark chocolate orange cake

  • 1 Seville orange
  • a little melted butter, for greasing
  • 100g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • orange candied peel, to decorate

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 225ml double cream
  1. Pierce the orange with a skewer (right through). Cook in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft. Whizz the whole orange in a food processor until smooth; let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for 2 minutes on High, stirring after 1 minute. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, discarding any pips, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. (Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache: put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside until firm enough to spread over the cake – up to 1½ hours.
  5. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate with strips of candied orange peel.

So then my parents visited and my mom had a recipe for chocolate-coffee cake she brought with her. We made it as well (once the other cake was gone – the majority went with Dave to work).

It is a really, really good cake. I will not be making it again, because it is way too much work. Also, we cut the recipe in half. I don’t understand how the original recipe can serve 8 – just look at the butter. So much butter. We could only eat tiny slices – it was too rich otherwise. A lot of this cake also went with Dave to work. (He is making friends.)

Chocolate-coffee cake

Total Time: 4 hours Serves: 8

For the cake:

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, softened, plus additional for greasing pans

2 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting pans

¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)

2⁄3 cup sour cream

1¼ cups hot water

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable shortening

1½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the coffee buttercream:

1½ cups granulated sugar

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups whole milk

1⁄3 cup heavy cream

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons coffee extract or dissolve 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate glaze:

8 ounces good-quality (60 to 72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

For the garnish:

12 chocolate-covered espresso beans

What To Do

1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust parchment with flour and knock out excess. In a medium bowl, mix cocoa powder and sour cream with hot water and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together, then set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (mixture should fall back on itself in a flat ribbon when paddle is lifted). Add sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing 10-15 seconds after each addition. Turn mixer to low, add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix 30 seconds more. With mixer on, add half reserved flour mixture to bowl, then add cocoa-sour cream mixture, followed by remaining flour mixture.

3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level batter. Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and cool 30-45 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and let cool completely.

4. Make coffee buttercream: In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk sugar and flour together. Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, 10-15 minutes. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, 7-9 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and coffee extracts and continue mixing until combined. If frosting is too soft, put bowl in refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again. If frosting is too firm, set bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon.

5. Assemble cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread 1 cup frosting on top. Add next layer, trim and frost, then add third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over sides and top of cake and chill cake in refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

6. Make chocolate glaze: Place chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a double boiler or metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Using a rubber spatula, stir mixture until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

7. Glaze cake: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 1 cup glaze over cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth glaze out to edges of cake. Chill cake in refrigerator to set glaze, 5 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and slowly pour remaining glaze over cake. It should run down the edges in thick streams. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans. Chill entire cake until glaze is set, about 20 minutes, then transfer to cake plate. Serve at room temperature. Cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature, up to 3 days.

—Adapted from “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

So, that’s it for cake. I am also going to link (just link, because I am lazy and don’t want to copy and paste any more) to a good macaroni salad recipe which I like. You’ll probably want to make double the dressing, though – it is pretty dry using the amount in the directions.


One response to “two cakes, one (macaroni) salad

  1. So sad that that pretty cake was no good! Glad the 2nd was better, but I think the UK is getting to you, more butter is more better : )

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