Today is worth celebrating. Not only are we wrapping #monthofchocolate with a beautiful layered black and white cake, but we are also celebrating my TWO YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! Yes, this week is actually the best.
This second year of spilling my guts on the internet has truly exceeded my expectations. While my first year of writing was a lot of tiptoeing in the dark, fear, and overall panic/emotional meltdown, this second year felt a lot like breaking in a new pair of jeans: a little discomfort and a bit of uncertainty, completely overshadowed by an overflow of excitement about my new garb. If year one was a time of planting and sewing, year two was a lot of watering, weed-eating, and unreserved thrill at the occasional bloom of a few humble buds.
Celebrating Two Years
My second year here was one of hustle. It was about pressing in and doing the nitty gritty even when it felt uncomfortable. It was about taking ownership of who I am and having pride in what I have to offer. I had to learn to value the process and my time spent at the grind, even when there was no reward to reap.
While I’ve loved the experience in writing, photography, and recipe development, the single best part of this past year was the joy that came from operating out of my wheelhouse. I firmly believe that we are not meant to jam a square peg through a round hole the entirety of our lives. Instead, there is a grace that comes when we’re doing what we were created to do and are participating in activities that utilize our strengths. Once you’ve tasted that kind of fulfillment, there is no going back. It changes things.
Considering our Gifts
So I ask you, what are your gifts? What are you holding back from? Where are your desires and how can you package your talents and passions to present them as your gift to the world around you? I wonder what kind of blessings we miss out on because we spend our time asking “What If?” instead of diving in and getting our hands dirty. Where is the joy when we are holding back from the things we’re desperate to explore?
So thank you, readers, for being a part of this story. The narrative we’re writing here together is so dear to me, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created. Every thought you share with me- the successes in your homes, the trials in your kitchens, and the various other tidbits of your lives that overlap with mine- bear effect on my heart, my cooking, and the future of this site. So thanks for doing this with me, and let’s give it up for the coming year.
Black and White Cake
This black and white cake is fit for today. It’s the kind you put a million candles in and clink glasses of champagne over. This black and white cake is a delightfully rich, moist, and chocolatey way to ring in the people you love and the life moments you celebrate with them. It’s a splendid way to celebrate.
Black and white cake is, as the name suggests, layers of dark chocolate cake with thick clouds of white vanilla frosting. In this recipe, I’ve combined a few personal favorites to make an all out banging treat: the best one-bowl chocolate cake, a boiled vanilla bean frosting, and a rich chocolate ganache that is infused with a sweet berry flavor. This cake is as delicious as it is stunning, and I can promise you don’t want to miss out on it.
Making the Cake
To make this black and white cake, we start with the cake layers. Flour, cocoa powder, and sugar are combined with leavening agents and salt. Eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil come next and are beat into the dry ingredients until well incorporated and smooth. Bake the batter into three 8″ round pans until puffed and cooked through.
Meanwhile, get started on the ganache. Much like the the ganache we made a few weeks ago, we start by warming a bit of cream to pour over chopped semisweet chocolate. Butter and blackberry jam are added as well, and the whole lot of it gets stirred together until it is smooth. You can set the ganache aside to cool until time of assembling the cake, but if you choose to make it in advance, just be sure to warm it to a spreadable consistency before using.
The ganache layers into the dark chocolate cake rounds, and the whole thing coats with the creamiest boiled frosting. The process of making boiled frosting will seem strange at first, but trust when I say it is WORTH IT. To make it, whisk some milk into a bit of flour in a saucepan on the stovetop. Whisk out all of the clumps to ensure the frosting is as smooth as possible. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking all along, and cook until it has formed a thickened paste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. After a few minutes, beat the paste into a creamed mixture of butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean until the frosting is light, fluffy, and well incorporated. You will die over how delish this frosting is. Scout’s honor.
This cake is best eaten the day it’s made, but the moist components of this treat will stay tasty for days. If you’ve been wanting to up the ante on your baking game lately, this is the perfect dessert. It’s incredibly forgiving and easy to share.
Enjoy a slice of this black and white cake on my behalf sometime this weekend. You guys are the best blog friends a gal could ask for, so you’ve earned it.
If you like this black and white cake, you should check out:
Black and White Cake
This black and white cake is creamy, rich, and decadently chocolate with the faintest hint of a berry ganache.
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 1
For the cake:
- 2–1/4 cups (270 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2–1/4 cups (450 gm) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (60 gm) dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2–1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2–1/4 teaspoons corn starch
- 1–1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs (180 gm), room temperature
- 1–1/4 cups (300 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
- 3/4 cups (180 mL) black coffee, hot
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
- 1–1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
For the blackberry ganache:
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup seedless blackberry jam or preserves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
For the vanilla bean frosting:
- 6 tablespoons (50 gm) all-purpose flour
- 1–1/2 cups (360 mL) whole milk
- 1–1/2 cups (340 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1–1/2 cups (300 gm) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup mixed berries, for garnish
To prepare the cake (Adapted from Rosie Alyea):
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8″) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, loosely combine all of the wet ingredients and add to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for just shy of 2 minutes, scraping the bowl (and bottom of bowl!) twice throughout.
- Pour equal amounts of batter in to all 3 pans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until center is just barely set and toothpick comes out of cake almost clean. Allow to cool in the pans and on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then remove from pans to continue the cooling process. Cake will stay fresh for 2 days if covered, or, for one month if wrapped well in saran wrap and frozen in freezer. I prefer to freeze my cake layers on a flat surface until just prior to frosting, but this step is not necessary.
To prepare the ganache:
- Heat the cream over low heat until barely simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, jam, and butter. Briefly stir the contents of the pan and allow to rest for about 2 minutes. Stir to combine until smooth. If some of the chocolate has not yet melted, put the pan back on very low heat and stir until smooth. Be careful not to scorch the mixture. When smooth, pour the ganache into a bowl and set aside to cool to a thick, peanut butter consistency.
To prepare the vanilla bean frosting (Adapted from Julie Richardson):
- Place the flour into a small saucepan and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of the milk, whisking all of the while. Be sure to whisk out any clumps. Once smooth, slowly whisk in the remaining milk and place the pan over medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a simmer, cooking for an additional minute until thickened to a paste. Remove the paste to a small bowl and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once the paste has cooled, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the milk paste and beat on medium speed for an additional 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air-tight container until ready to frost the cake.
To assemble the cake:
- Use a large serrated knife to level your cake layers. Spread 1/3 of the ganache mixture on top of each cake layer, leaving a 1/2 “border around the perimeter of the cake. Place in the fridge on a cooling rack briefly to set the ganache.
- Spread a bit of the frosting on an 8” cake board or your cake plate and then center one of your cake layers directly on top. Spread about 1-1/4 cups of the frosting on top and then add an additional cake layer. Repeat this process and then frost the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with fresh berries and store in the fridge if not eating that day. Cake will keep for up to 4 days, but it best served at room temp the day it is prepared.