Yesterday The Dude and I hosted a Spring Fling Beer Tasting at the house. We had an amazing time with some of our good friends who all showed up to give their expert opinions on the newest batch of brews. Let me just say that the one beer that I made – Resolution Ale – won the contest for best beer! The Dude is still licking his wounds after that butt kicking!
Anyway, not only did we have beer, but we put out a snack table for everyone. Plus, our dear friends also contributed to the food as well. So, it was definitely a community effort. Charlie and Melani stopped at the fabulous Bergstein’s NY Deli in Chicago Heights (go there!!!!) and brought white fish salad, tuna salad, chopped liver, smoked salmon salad, and the BEST pickled green tomatoes I’ve ever had in my life! Melani also brought a peach bread that I will be consuming in large quantities for breakfast this morning! Cari and Dave brought deviled eggs (one of The Dude’s faves) and the most amazing roasted almonds with sugar and spices. Cari is going to have to give me the recipe for that one! Our go to girl, Jeanne, brought The Dude’s favorite pepper dip with Fritos. I’m surprised he let anyone else have any!!! The Dude and I supplied a cheese board with 5 different cheeses from Italy (Gorgonzola and a Piave), England (Cotswold with chives), France (Morbier) and Belgium (Capra with honey – oh Lordy, so good), a shrimp tray, caponata and tapanades with crostini and crackers, beer, and of course…..the CAKE!
What can I say about this cake? Oh yeah, I LOVE IT! It has all of my favorite things. Chocolate, caramel, and pecans. I guess everyone at the party loved it too, because there is NOTHING left of it this morning. I am sad! 😦 Let’s get to the recipe because I know you are all going to want to make this!
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Hershey’s Dark Chocolate cocoa powder)
- 1 TBSP baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Chocolate frosting (recipe follows)
- 1 ½ cups pecan halves, toasted
- ½ cup purchased caramel ice cream topping
Grease three 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper and grease the paper. Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, ½ cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually beat in hot coffee. Pour batter into prepared pans. Note that the layers will appear very shallow.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan then invert cakes on racks. Peel off paper and cool completely.
When cakes are cool, make the chocolate frosting. Place one cake layer, top side down, onto a serving platter with a lip to catch wayward icing! Using an offset spatula or wide knife, work quickly to frost top of first layer with 1/3 of the icing. Arrange one-third of the toasted pecans on top of chocolate frosting and drizzle with some of the caramel topping. Repeat with the other two layers. Chill cake for 1 – 2 hours before serving. Makes 12-16 servings.
In a medium saucepan stir together 1 cup sugar and ½ cup of milk. Add 6 TBSP of butter, cut up. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 12 ounce package of semi sweet chocolate pieces (2 cups). Using a wire whisk, mix in the chocolate until melted and the chocolate is smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy add 1 or 2 tsp of hot coffee. Let frosting stand for a few minutes before using.
Make this cake! It is so easy, and so so good! You can even use your own favorite chocolate cake recipe or mix (I won’t tell). If you do make it from scratch I can’t recommend enough that you use DARK CHOCOLATE cocoa powder. It really adds a depth of flavor! Enjoy!