Mist sprayed upon the garden’s flowers, plants and trees while remnant droplets swung on the breeze, landing to cool our arms and necks as the sun kissed them until slightly pink, that day.
We were tired from our travels and the excitement of the magic kingdom the day before and not quite accustomed to so much stimulation and purely concentrated exhilaration in a day, never mind two or five. It was pretty awesome, honestly.
It was about eighty degrees and the pavement under our soles was beginning to sizzle as the sun rose overhead. It was a refreshingly warm change and enjoyment from the snow, rain and cold that waited for us at home only a few days later.
Trey, obviously exhausted from the plane ride and obligatory walking while also fighting the last remaining symptoms of his latest cold began to whine, “I’m tired of walking. This part is boring grown-up stuff. Where are the rides?”
As I meandered through Canada, Japan and into Great Britain appreciating the steak houses, the sushi, the English garden photo spots and quaint pubs and tea shops, I realized that he was right! This was totally “boring grown-up stuff” and I was loving it.
Strange what happens after thirty, I guess. So, how to perk up his spirits? What does he love? Chocolate cake. This thought occurred as I saw the “Eiffel tower” off in the distance and my mommy-brain stirred.
Pastries in Paris might change his mind, if not even give him cause to smile. We stopped at the pastry shop and picked up the “cake of the day”.
It was just an ordinary chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, or so it seemed. Without pause, he devoured the cake as Max fought, amid Trey’s chocolate frenzy, snagging a bite or two with my help. I watched with delighted curiosity as Trey went bite after bite with a sugar craze in his eye that reflected pure chocolate bliss. My eyes met Mike’s and we smiled, knowingly. He is not one to eat anything (not even cake) if he’s not completely satisfied that it’s a purely enjoyable experience worth having. I asked him for a bite. I tasted it. Chocolate it was, indeed!
It was sweet and rich and dark. It was simple yet complex in flavor and texture. It was moist yet perfectly layered and still so pretty. It was rustic yet clean. It was in one word, delicious. This cake was inspired by that cake. We had a wonderful time on vacation: First roller coaster rides, the monorail, parades, free falls, Mickey Mouse, funnel cakes, tea cups, pirates, continental breakfasts, the spa, the fireworks. It was perfected by the look in their eyes and the memories we made. Note to self: Please do that again soon.
- Butter or cooking spray for greasing the pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans, flour the pans and tap out excess flour. Place prepared pans on sizable baking sheet.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In another, smaller bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and whisk thoroughly with diligence.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, evenly between the two, and bake for 30-35 minutes in preheated oven, until center of cake is set and springs back to gently applied pressure. Once cooled to warm, turn out cakes from pans onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
- 8 ounces semisweet good quality chocolate
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted quality butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 box confectioner’s sugar (about 2-3 cups)
In a large mixing bowl, grate chocolate. Melt in microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. Add cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat with electric mixer on high until smooth and combined. Add sugar. Beat until smooth and combined.