If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then chocolate is her BFF. So when I was asked to make a cake for my friend’s birthday, it came as no surprise that she wanted “anything chocolate.” My plan was to make a basic chocolate cake, cover it in the BEST chocolate butter frosting, and top it with raspberries. I got this frosting recipe from a wonderful book called Chocolate by Nick Malgieri. Don’t let the simple title fool you; this author can teach how to make everything—from a simple chocolate chip cookie to elaborate chocolate ribbons. My favorite is this frosting recipe—use it to ice a simple cake, top cup cakes, or do like me and just eat it straight from the bowl.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup double-strength brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk once to make sure butter is melted, then add chocolate. Shake pan to make sure all the chocolate is covered, then allow to stand 5 minutes. Whisk frosting smooth and add in coffee and vanilla. Scrape the frosting into a bowl and chill it until it is of spreading consistency. (Be careful not to leave it in the refrigerator too long, to it will set very hard. If it does, divide the hardened filling into 8 or 10 pieces and stir in a bowl over warm water to spreading consistency.)
This frosting can be spread with a spatula or piped from an icing bag. It is so smooth and has a gorgeous sheen to it. It is so easy to make that you won’t buy that cheap-tasting container of icing ever again.
Cake Icing Tips
Here are some basic icing tips that may save you from your own kitchen mischief:
• Chill (I freeze mine) your cake layers to keep from tearing. They will thaw by the time you serve.
• Use a thin layer of icing first (called a crumb layer). You will see cake through the icing—it’s okay; you’ll cover it up the next go around.
• Use big dollops of icing. If your spatula or knife is spreading a small amount of icing, it may tear or pull the cake.
• Once you have the entire cake iced, dip your spatula in a glass of hot water and go back over the icing to create a smooth finish.
• Don’t have a piping bag? Place a small amount of icing in a zip top bag and snip the corner of the bag (start small, you can always cut a little more).
• If you’re topping your cake with fruit and want it to glisten, here’s how: Since I used raspberries, I combined a cup of seedless raspberry preserve and a teaspoon of corn syrup in a bowl. I heated the mixture in the microwave till melted and thin. I simply brushed it on the fruit to produce a shiny coat.