Sunday, May 10, 2015

Greek yogurt chocolate layer cake

This chocolate layer cake from Nigella Lawson is one of the chef's favorites. It contains Greek yogurt in both the cake and frosting for an extra boost of protein!

Happy Mother's Day! Are you doing anything special for the mothers in your lives? I am most likely going to make myself a cake today. In fact, I have been a cake- and cupcake-making fool in the past few weeks. As you know, Addie turned 5 in April. I baked cupcakes for her to celebrate with two of her best friends at a dinner party. I baked a (different) chocolate layer cake for her actual birthday. I baked cupcakes for her joint birthday party. And I baked this cake for my cousin when she visited from Taiwan.

My cousin was on a 3-week vacation to the US and made a pitstop at my house to visit. She and I never really hung out much as kids, mostly because we lived on the other side of the planet. Literally. My family and I would visit Taiwan about once every 5 years, and we would see my cousin, but we never got a chance to really get to know each other.

I wanted to make my cousin a new recipe rather than repeating something I've already blogged about. I knew that the chocolate that they have in Taiwan is slightly different (read: less sweet) than the chocolate here. And I knew that the chocolate cake in Taiwan was more like a sponge cake rather than what we know as chocolate cake. So chocolate cake it was.

My cousin and her travel companion loved this cake so much that they both ate it for breakfast. Twice. On the day I drove them to the train station to return to my parents' house, they were a bit rushed in the morning. As I was ready to leave the house, I saw both of them shovel a small slice of cake in their mouths before we got in the car.

Personally, I found the cake to be a tad on the dry side, but the frosting was good. The addition of Greek yogurt really made the frosting smoother and fluffier than a traditional buttercream. I think the frosting recipe is a keeper, but I the cake itself was a bit disappointing.

Greek yogurt chocolate layer cake
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs  
  • cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon golden syrup (can substitute light corn syrup)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • cups powdered sugar (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generous grease and/or line two 9" round cake pans and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time until each one is fully incorporated. Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla and mix well. Batter will be thick.

Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared pans and bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer.

Whip the chocolate/butter mixture on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the golden syrup and Greek yogurt and mix until smooth. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time. If the frosting seems too runny, add more powdered sugar (I ended up using about 4 cups). Finally, add in the vanilla and mix until the frosting is smooth.

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a cake pan and add about 1/2 to 1 cup of frosting on top. Smooth with an offset or rubber spatula. Add the other cake layer and repeat. Remaining frosting should be added to the sides of the cake and smoothed out. Add sprinkles or other decorations as desired.

Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: One 9" cake; about 10-12 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson



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