Friday, July 13, 2012

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake

There is something about a classic tiered cake on a cake stand, with a ton of frosting on it, a candle in the center and a family singing "Happy Something" around the dinner table. Well, it was my aunt and uncles 18th anniversary. One of my favorite aunt and uncle ever! They've given me two fabulous cousins, and it was so good having all four of them visit us in New York. 
So when it came to baking a cake for their anniversary, I reached out for one of my favorite cookbooks– Alice's Tea Cup and decided to make the Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake that they rave about. Now I understand why— and hopefully you will soon too!

As the book says: If you like coffee (coffee to drink, coffee ice cream, iced mocha lattes, or all of the above), prepare to never make another cake again!

The recipe below is the original recipe from the book– Jean's Not-Yet-but-Soon-to-Be-Famous Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake. The only change I made was from the recipe was that I used my electric stand mixer instead of mixing it by hand. The rest remains the same.

Makes one 8-inch 2-layer cake

For the Cake
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (Alice's Tea Cup recommends Hecker's unbleached flour)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 level teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 2% or whole milk (I used whole milk)
3/4 cup to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, to taste

For the Frosting
8 heaping teaspoons instant espresso powder
7 cups (two 1-pound boxes) confectioners' sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350F, and butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, and mix well. Set them aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, also by hand. Add half the flour mixture to the wet mixture, and mix thoroughly. Then mix in half the milk,  followed by the remaining flour mixture, and then the remaining flour mixture, and then the remaining milk, mixing after each addition. 
  4. Add the chocolate chips, and mix again.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the cake layers aside on a wire rack to cool thoroughly before removing from the pans and frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, combine the espresso powder with 6 to 10 teaspoons boiling-hot water (use less water for a strong mocha flavor and more water for a milder flavor). Set aside.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix one-third of the confectioners' sugar with the butter, salt, and vanilla. Add the next one-third of the sugar, then the final third, mixing well after each addition. 
  8. Add the espresso a little at a time, mixing well as you go, until the frosting has reached the desired consistency. 
  9. Add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  10. To build the cake, frost both layers and stack them; then frost the sides of the cake. (Be sure to wait until the layers have cooled fully; you don't want to melt the chocolate chips!)

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