Baking · Berries · Buttercream · Cakes · Chocolate · Icing

Chocolate Berry Cake with Italian Buttercream

Even the name sounds tempting, no? This recipe is from Anna Olson’s show, Bake with Anna Olson from www.foodnetwork.ca.

Below is a picture of her cake.

Chocolate Berry Cake with Italian Buttercream

I start by measuring out all of the ingredients, for both the cake and the buttercream and prepping the cake pans.

    

For the cake, start by pouring the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, egg, egg white and vanilla.

Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir to blend. Add the melted chocolate mixture and whisk in. Divide the batter into the pans. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 30 minutes then remove from the pans to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until the whites are foamy. Increase to high speed and add the first portion of sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Bring the rest of the sugar and water to a full bowl on high heat. Heat to 240F on a candy thermometer, without stirring. Carefully add to the egg whites and continue mixing on high speed until cooled to room temperature.

Add the butter, a bit at a time, scrapping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in the vanilla. Spoon about 1½ cups into a separate bowl and beat in the melted chocolate then the berries. Place a layer on a plate and add half of the chocolate-berry buttercream and spread evenly. Add another cake layer and repeat. Top with the final layer.

Lightly tint the remaining buttercream a light pink. Frost the top fully and crumb coat the sides. Place 1/3 of the remaining buttercream into a piping bag with a large plain tip. Add a bit more food colouring to the rest of the buttercream and place half into another piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Add a bit more food colouring to the remaining buttercream and place that in a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. There should now be three piping bags: 1 light pink, 1 medium pink and 1 dark pink.

IMG_0283

Pipe two vertical dots of the dark pink. Below, pipe two dots of medium pink. At the bottom, pipe two dots of the light pink. Use a small palette knife to smear each dot to make each resemble a petal. Pipe another row of dots next to the first, moving the colours down one (1 light, 2 dark, 2 medium and 1 light). Repeat the ‘smearing’ and dropping the dots down one until the piping the last row of dots. Make smaller ‘smears’ to blend in.

 Enjoy with a glass of milk!


Ingredients

Cake

  • 1½ oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flourà3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream and Assembly

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups + 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • Pink food colouring paste (or colour of your choice – or even none)

Cake

Preheat the oven to 300oF. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess and then line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl, cover with the hot coffee and let set a minute. (The hot coffee helps to intensify the chocolate flavour). Whisk to melt the chocolate and set aside. Do not worry if the mixture does not look smooth.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, egg, egg white and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring by hand until smooth. Add the melted chocolate liquid and whisk in. Divide the batter between the prepared pans (the batter will be fluid and will not fill the pans but the cake rises beautifully) and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool on a rack for 30 minutes before removing them from the pans to cool completely.

Buttercream and Assembly

Place the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl (and use electric beaters) or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on medium speed until the whites are foamy. While increasing the speed to high, slowly pour in ½ cup of the sugar until the whites just begin to hold a soft peak.

Bring the remaining 1½ cups of the sugar and the water to a full boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Using a candy thermometer to measure, boil the sugar without stirring until it reaches 240oF. Immediately remove the pot from the heat. Turn the mixer (or beaters) on high speed and very carefully pour the sugar down the side of the bowl (never into the moving beaters or it will splatter). Continue to mix the meringue on high speed until it has cooled to room temperature (this could take 8 – 10 minutes).

Still on high speed, start adding the butter, a little at a time but there is no need to wait until the first bit is worked in before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl once or twice while beating and don’t worry when the meringue deflates a little when you add the butter – it’s meant to happen. Beat in the vanilla.

Spoon about 1½ cups of the buttercream into a separate mixing bowl and beat the melted chocolate into it, followed by the berries. Set the remaining buttercream aside to mask and decorate the cake. Work with both buttercreams while at room temperature.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on a cake board or plate and spread half of the chocolate-berry buttercream over the top. Place a second layer of cake on top, pressing slightly to secure it in place. Spread the remaining half of the chocolate-berry buttercream on this and top with the last cake.

The cake is frosted using 3 tones of pink, a light, a medium and a dark. Tint the whole batch of remaining buttercream with just a little pink for the light tone. Use this to frost the top and sides of the cake, spreading to level. Make sure the top is fully covered (masked) with the light pink buttercream but the sides can have a sheer layer (crumb coat) since they will have additional buttercream piped on.

Place a third of the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Tint the remaining buttercream to a medium pink and spoon half of this into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Now, add more pink colouring to the rest of the buttercream to make a dark pink and all of this goes into a third piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. You should now have 3 piping bags of buttercream: 1 light pink, 1 medium pink and 1 dark pink.

To create a petal pattern on the cake, pipe a single row of dots vertically down the side of the cake, two of each colour, starting with the darkest at the bottom, moving to the lightest at the top (2 dark, 2 medium, 2 light). Use a small palette knife to ‘smear’ each dot in the same direction, so that it looks like a petal (you may need to wipe off the spatula occasionally). Pipe another row of dots overtop where the ‘petals’ flatten, but moving the colours up on row and continue piping and smearing around the cake. When you reach where you started, make the smear a smaller, shorter move so it blends in.

Steptoitbaker

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2 thoughts on “Chocolate Berry Cake with Italian Buttercream

    1. Thank you! The icing was tasty. I had never made an Italian buttercream before nor decorated in that style. I will certainly do it again but need to buy one more plain tip as I had to use a star tip for the dark pink.

      Like

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