I celebrated my birthday earlier this week, and cake ranks high among the many things that I love about birthdays.
In Germany, you are expected to bring a cake to work on your birthday. I absolutely love baking cakes, so this was a highlight for me. Now that I am back in the US, I decided to continue the tradition and bake myself a birthday cake.
People who know me well know that I LOVE chocolate cake. However, I won’t eat just any chocolate cake. First, it must be home-made. I won’t waste all of those dessert calories on anything short of perfection. Second, it can’t be too sweet, or too rich. Sugary cakes with white frosting don’t appeal to me at all, but dense chocolate cakes coated in ganache also turn my stomach the wrong way. What I really love is a chocolatey cake with a hint of sweetness and a moist, fluffy texture. This cake from Bon Appetit fits the bill, especially with a few modifications.
A good cake is nothing without a great frosting. A few weeks ago I posted a version of this chocolate beer cake with coconut whipped cream. It was phenomenal, but I wanted something even more decadent for a birthday. I ended up making a fluffy Amarula buttercream frosting- perfection.
If you aren’t familiar with Amarula, go out and buy yourself a bottle today. It is a creamy liquor made in South Africa from marula fruit; I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Southern Africa, and I am completely hooked. Amarula tastes more like dessert than a drink, and it makes an incredibly delicious boozy frosting. Feel free to substitute Irish Cream if you can’t find Amarula.
Ingredients and Instructions
1. Make the cake. Follow this recipe with the following modifications: substitute nonfat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and cut the sugar in half. I also decreased the recipe by 1/3 and baked the batter in two 9 inch cake pans. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
2. Make the frosting: Using a standing mixer, beat together 1.5 sticks of room-temperature butter, 5 cups of powdered sugar, and 1/2 cup amarula. Continue adding Amarula by the tablespoonful until your frosting is smooth and spreadable, but still quite thick.
3. Assemble the cake. I cut my two layers in half with a bread knife to create four thin layers. Do this carefully if you want all four layers to have an even thickness (unlike mine).
4. Serve the cake at room temperature.