Cake of the Year | Chocolate + Cardamom
As the year comes to a close, our minds inevitably begin to flutter about, scribbling mental post-its on our cranial walls, noting important resolutions to stringently enforce come January — eat healthier, exercise more, read more books, be more assertive, et cetera, et cetera. The list can go on and on. But, it’s not January yet. To finish out the year on a positive note, just accept yourself for who you are and be happy about it. You are beautiful and unique and deserve to celebrate that. And guess what — ’tis still the holiday season! So what should you do with one last foray into the land of sugary butter indulgence? Make this cake.
I abstain from white flour, refined sugar, and dairy all year long. I watch my weight, as many people do. But, this cake is worth the wait. (It could potentially work with a good gluten-free flour substitute, although I’ve yet to try it.) Prepare it for a New Year’s Eve party. Or, better yet, hoard it at home and offer some to holiday visitors to welcome in 2014. Regardless, this cake is sure to impress. So, enough with feeling inadequate or down in the dumps. Be comfortable in your own skin and accept your imperfections and flaws (or at least what you need to do to address them). If you can do that, if you can live purely and sincerely in the moment, then this is the cake for you. A chocolate cake with a coffee backbone, its assertive cardamom flavor tickles the curious tongue with delight. I highly recommend freshly ground cardamom a try, as it really makes the cake unforgettable.
Reward yourself and everyone around you with this indulgent cake that is relatively simple to make. What? Were you expecting to read about the newest kale cleanse or 10 reasons why sugar will kill you? Heck no! Everyone has to indulge once in a while. Share in food, drink, and laughter with friends and family and have a truly happy new year.
Luscious Chocolate Cake with Cardamom Buttercream | adapted from Folk Magazine
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (*If you can’t have gluten, try a good blend like Thomas Keller’s Cup 4 Cup. It should still come out beautifully.)
2 c. organic sugar, scant
3/4 c. high quality cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. organic whole milk
1/2 c. grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp. high quality vanilla extract
1 c. freshly brewed, strong, hot coffee
-Bring butter and eggs to room temperature, grind cardamom, brew coffee, and process vanilla bean in advance. This will make life a lot easier down the line.
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Butter and flour two 8″ cake tins. (If you choose another size of pan, adjust the cooking time as necessary. For cupcakes, increase the temperature to 350 and bake 30-40 minutes.)
-Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into large bowl.
-In a small bowl, mix milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Slowly stir into dry ingredients.
-Pour hot coffee into batter, blending or whisking at a low speed. Scrape down bowl with spatula to ensure it is homogenous.
-Pour batter into cake tins. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean, with a couple of moist crumbs.
-Cool for 30 minutes before removing from pans.
2 sticks salted organic butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean pod, scraped, seeds reserved
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/4 c. organic whole milk
-Cream butter until light and fluffy.
-Add vanilla bean scrapings and ground cardamom. Blend thoroughly.
-Alternate mixing in sugar and milk. (1 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. milk)
-Beat until smooth and smother onto the cooled chocolatey goodness.Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Lainey Fink