I love you Contessa!

Can I just say WOW. Ok- I’ve NEVER made chocolate cake before, let alone two layered chocolate cake with a chocolate-coffee frosting. Another thing I’ve ever done? DECORATING. I bought an icing set on a whim while getting some food coloring. A good $5 investment I’m figuring since I’ve been using plastic bags with varying sized holes so far with any of my ganache. I’ll get better now that I know what it feels like actually piping!

Main point though: This cake recipe is an absolute delight. It’s called Beatty’s Chocolate Cake courtesy of Barefoot Contessa. I’m not a fan of buttercream or chocolate cake, but this thing was dense enough, delicious enough, and the frosting so smooth. I knew it was good when I found Iyka (for whom I’m picking the ultimate cake flavor– it’s his 13th birthday Dec 9th!) hidden behind the fridge door at 11PM cutting another slice.


Just a quick background: my mixer does NOT work. It’s old, it’s cheap, and it breaks every time I try to use it. So, I mix everything by hand. Whipping the butter until soft and fluffy did not take 3 minutes for me unfortunately. Fortunate part is I burned even more calories! My arms hurt harder than from big boy pushups. Conclusion: If I can do it with no mixer in about an hour and a half, you can definitely do it!

A delicious slice.

Testing this thing out!

Tip: Saving on calories with regular meals by using egg whites for omelettes and saving egg yolks for baking in a small jar. I had 4 originally. I think my mom wrote over it with a '7' since she started following my eating patterns.

I was wondering who was making noise in the kitchen, before I found the awesome Iyka eyeing the cake and getting another piece.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time: 30 min
Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 8 servings


  • Butter, 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
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and 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.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.