I am finished, I think, with planning birthday parties and baking birthday cakes -- at least for the month of November. After having my father here for his 90th birthday celebration early in the month, I just undertook a very big surprise party for my husband's birthday. (Also a big one.)
You reach a point where you cannot eat any more buttercream frosting. I am now at that point.
This is, in my mind at least, the best buttercream frosting on the face of the earth -- Mocha Buttercream from Francois Payard's cookbook, Simply Sensational Desserts. It is very difficult for me to keep my fingers out of this buttercream while mixing, and then frosting the cake.
I can't imagine using this buttercream on any type of cake other than chocolate -- and that's not saying you can't do otherwise. I just happen to love the combination of chocolate and coffee and wouldn't consider serving it any other way.
The dark chocolate cake recipe I go to frequently (find it here) is from the September 1996 issue of Gourmet Magazine. I like it because... it's very, very GOOD! and... it will make three 9-inch round cakes -- great if you're planning a party and are inviting a lot of people.
The recipe for the Mocha Buttercream is shown below. Upcoming posts will show how I used the remaining dark chocolate cakes ( I mixed up enough batter to give me six 9-inch rounds to work with!) This 2 layer cake was decorated with copper-colored sugar stars and silver dragées that I brought back from Paris' La Grande Epicerie. Toasted, sliced almonds are also extremely delicious sprinkled on this buttercream.
recipe from Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard
• 5 large eggs
• 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
• 1 1/4 pounds (5 sticks) (567 grams) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons (4 grams) instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15 grams) hot water.
1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, begin beating the eggs on medium speed.
2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1/3 cup (78 grams) water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Insert a candy thermometer into the pan and cook until the syrup reaches 243˚F. With the mixer running, immediately pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the eggs (avoid pouring the syrup onto the whisk, or it will splatter). Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are cool and have doubled in volume, about 7 minutes.
3. Beat in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time (see note). Increase the speed to high and beat until the buttercream is shiny and smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and the dissolved instant espresso. The buttercream can be used right away or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and beat with a whisk until smooth before using.
NOTE: Buttercream sometimes has a tendency to curdle. Here is a way to rescue it if the buttercream mixture should appear to separate at any point while you are adding the butter. Stop beating the buttercream and heat 2 tablespoons (29 grams) of heavy cream in a small saucepan. Whisk the hot cream into the buttercream to bring it together, then continue adding the butter.
TAKE a LOOK: