Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Frosting on the Cake ; I Know Your Dirty Little Secrets

When last we met, our cake was naked. Let's do something about that.

This is my favorite chocolate frosting concoction. I can't really call it a recipe because recipes are rules and this is more like a...guideline.

Dirty Little Secret #1:

You use canned frosting, don't you? What's kinda like it. It's always the right consistency, it's ridiculously easy to use and it doesn't taste that bad - if you're a four-year-old.

My frosting will give you that same (or better) consistency, is ridiculously easy to make and doesn't taste like metal and polysobonifiliatecombolio (a preservative - probably).


8 oz. (two sticks) unsalted butter (Please. I'm begging you. No margarine.)
1 1/3 c. cocoa
5-6+ C. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Some (a technical term) milk

1 tbsp. strong brewed coffee (optional)

Melt the butter. While it is still hot, put the butter in the bowl of your mixer. Quickly (but gently, unless you want cocoa all over yourself and half the kitchen) add the cocoa to the butter and turn the mixer on low. Remember that you want to put that cocoa on steroids by mixing it with a hot liquid. Toss the salt in.

Mix until the cocoa is incorporated. It's a good idea to scrape down the bowl at this point.

Start adding powdered sugar. When your mixture gets thick, add a little bit of milk until the consistency gets a bit thinner. Turn the mixer to medium speed for about 30 seconds. Return mixer to low speed. Add some more powdered sugar and alternate with the milk .

Repeat this procedure, alternating sugar and milk until the frosting gets to the consistency you want. You can add the coffee at this point. Coffee boosts the flavor of chocolate and helps to cut the sweetness. Don't add too much or you will have Mocha Frosting. If you don't have any coffee, don't worry - it will still be good!

To check consistency, use a spatula to scoop a little bit out of the bowl. Spread it on the counter. The way it spreads on the counter is pretty much the way it's going to spread on your cake. Too thin - add more sugar. Too thick - add more milk.

We don't need no stinkin' cans!

Dirty Little Secret #2:

You're terrified that you won't have enough frosting to complete the entire cake. The first step in frosting a cake is to do the middle layer. You're worried, yes fretful, that if you put great, glorious gobs of goodness between the layers, you will get to the last two inches of the sides and RUN OUT OF FROSTING.

The great thing about this "recipe" is that you will have more than enough to generously frost your cake and have enough left over to treat yourself with a spoonful or give some to the dog.*

*Not recommended for chihuahuas.

DID YOU KNOW? Adding salt to the frosting helps cut the sweetness. Salt is also a flavor booster and should be added to all baked goods. If your recipe does not include salt, add a pinch and see how it enhances the finished product. Some professional cake decorators use popcorn salt in their frosting. It's very fine and lacks the graininess of table or kosher salt. It also blends into the frosting more easily. If you have some - try it!

Don't miss the next episode: Tips on frosting a cake, pictures of a completed cake and one of my all-time favorite baking implements!


Susan said...

Shame on you, Pastry Chef! Don't you know that chocolate is POISON to ALL dogs????? However, I did try your frosting and for humans, this is YUMMY and there was lots and lots to put in the middle and not have bare sides so I do forgive you for trying to kill my dogs (I am forwarding the vet bill - please remit soonest)

Linda said...

I am shame-faced. Of course you should only feed dogs buttercream. What was I thinking? Save the chocolate for the cat. I'm glad you had success with the frosting!

Susan said...

Oh Pastry Chef! Cats can't eat chocolate either. Vet requests payment immediately

Anonymous said...

Dear Kathy Bates,

Your chocolate frosting looks delightful. Please don't make me hurt my pets any more.

James Caan