Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blog's first birthday

It's true: For the Love of Food turned one year old yesterday. Since March 17, 2008, I've graduated from college, moved into my first apartment, completed one internship at a food magazine and started another--and through it all, I've kept cooking and writing in this space. I think that's pretty great. I haven't always written as often or as well as I would have liked, but what's important is that I've stuck around--and you've stuck around, reader, whoever you might be. Thanks for that; please keep coming back for another year.

I figure that since it's a birthday here on Blogspot I might as well share a cake with you. I haven't made one recently, but, digging into my photo archives, I found an image of a chocolate layer cake frosted with peanut butter ganache that I made for my friend Malcolm's birthday party back in January. If you like peanut M&M's, Reese's peanut butter cups and the like, then this cake is definitely for you. Both of its components deliver on the promise of intense flavor: the cake, made from a recipe from an old Hershey's pamphlet that my mom has had lying around forever, has been my standard birthday cake for, oh, twelve years or so. It's called Black Magic Cake, and there's definitely something magical about it: incredibly moist, fluffy but rich at the same time, this cake packs a powerful hit of cocoa--and a subtle hint of coffee--in every bite. For the peanut butter frosting, which I had never made before, I turned to the doyenne of simple, elegant baking: Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself. She didn't let me down. Her recipe takes sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, salt and heavy cream, and turns them into a thick, oozing, coat-your-spoon (and lips, and fingertips) ganache that nevertheless manages to heighten--not obscure--the flavor of the chocolate in the cake. Consider this combination for the next birthday in your life--whether you're celebrating a website or, you know, a real person.

Black Magic Cake
Adapted from
Makes two 9" cake layers


1 3/4 cups unsifted flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong coffee
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to equal 1 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans, tapping out excess flour.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely. Frost as desired.

Peanut Butter Ganache
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
Makes about 4 cups


1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream


Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.


willy said...

What the fuck is a doyenne?

Lauren said...

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