It looks like a suicidal post just after holidays and New Year when new-year-new-me resolutions are floating around but I could not help my cravings. Don’t be mad at me! I have not been able to diet for a day in my life. It is just not for me! It makes me very angry and unhappy. My only diet-like accomplishment was not drinking soda while I was pregnant.
So, since I’m obsessed about food and I cannot diet, I have to obsess about exercise too. I cannot stop eating and but at the same time “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, so I work my a** off. I’m becoming a life time devotee to P90x, you know that insane fitness program. Of course I do not follow its nutrition guide, duh! Did I mention I eat a lot of chocolate and other deserts and pastry hmmm, and bread of course??
No time to exercise? Shut up! It does not always have to be hard to find the time. Try multitasking! I do exercise DVDs while I’m watching TV, I do dumbbells, rubber bands and whatnot while I’m waiting for my computer to run my codes, I do breath exercises while driving, I do standing up crunches while I’m cooking. Ohh yeah! Crunches while whipping up the chocolate buttercream then licking the fingers, ha-ha! Basically, I obsessively try to match my extra calories with extra exercises I do. Let me tell you this and you will know how obsessive I am. While I was pregnant once we had a very late night dinner. When we were back home although I was so fricking tired, I just could not sleep with all those calories and guilt. While Mr.Tartepink was happily gliding towards bed, I forced myself to my seatless cycle. You know those seatless bicycles you can do while sitting on a couch, or chair, or lying down. Like this. (They are great, by the way, you can put them under your desk and cycle while you are working in the office, ta-da room for extra calories!) Yes, that one! I sat on the couch and started cycling. I cycled, cycled and… Then I woke up…I felt asleep while cycling!
Of course, I’m not a fitness trainer or anything and may be this is on the borderline of compulsion (just borderline, please) but it works for me. I’m just a humble foodie wants to eat and be skinny at the same time. Genes are important, I know, but I’m sure if we can squeeze in some exercises to our life, this chocolate cake does not need to end up in our bottoms
Look at these ruffles! Chocolate, ooohh chocolate! Can someone please frost me all over with these chocolate ruffles? It is to die for!! This buttercream is sooo delicious. It is like I-have-seen-enough-I-can-now-peacefully-die good! It is basically done with Italian meringue method. But it requires some extra steps more than that and usual American buttercream. But it is so worth it. People scrape the plates to eat it all! The devil food recipe I used is my holy grail recipe from Zoe Bakes. I use this as base for all my chocolate cakes and cupcakes. It is so moist, delicious, chocolatey!!
Please enjoy responsibly!
Devil’s Food Cake
(adapted from ZoeBakes)
(makes 2 9-in cakes or 36 cupcakes)
Notes: You can use 1/2 of the recipe and make only 2 layers of cake.
3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup rum or brandy (if you opt out of the booze then use equal parts coffee)
1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line pans with parchment paper.
2) Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk until combined, set aside.
3) Whisk together, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the hot coffee and rum to the batter and whisk until totally blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be quite runny.
4) Divide the batter to two 9-in pans and bake for 40-45 minute (cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes) or until a tester comes out clean.
Notes: I doubled the recipe to make sure I have enough for 4 layers and all the ruffles.
(for the custard)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
5 egg yolks
(for the Italian meringue)
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
(butter and chocolate to finish buttercream)
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (Original recipe calls for 4 sticks but I used 3 sticks)
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature.
To make the custard for the buttercream:
1. Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl, set aside.
2. Heat the milk, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pot. Once it just begins to simmer whisk a little bit of the hot milk to the egg yolks. Once the yolks are warm to the touch add them back into the pot of milk and gently stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture just begins to thicken and coats the spatula. Quickly remove from heat and strain into a shallow container. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but this can be made a day ahead.
To prepare the Italian meringue:
3. Once the custard is cool and you are ready to finish the buttercream heat 1/3 cup sugar and water together in a small pot with a Candy Thermometer. Let them boil and once the sugar is melted turn down the heat and begin to whip your egg whites.
4. Whip the whites and cream of tartar until they are foamy on medium speed. Slowly add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and whip until the whites form medium-firm peaks, turn the mixer to low.
5. By this time your sugar syrup should be about 248 degrees. Once it reaches that temperature on the candy thermometer remove it immediately from the heat. Turn your mixer up to medium-low and carefully pour the hot syrup into the mixer along the side of the bowl. Do not let the syrup hit the whip attachment or the hot syrup with splatter. (Temperature is important if you heat to more than 248F whites can break and if you heat to less than 248F whites does not hold as much)
6. Whip the hot whites on medium-high until they cool, about 3-5 minutes.
7. In a separate bowl fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter. Once it is soft add the chilled custard and mix on medium until it is smooth.
8. Add the Italian meringue to the butter mixture in 3 stages, on medium-low speed. When you first get all the meringue incorporated it may look curdled, like the picture above. Just let it mix for another 2 minutes.
9. It should become nice and smooth. If it doesn’t then the butter was too cold. Just hold it over the stove for a few seconds to melt the butter a bit and then try remixing. Don’t hold it over the stove too long or you will melt it too much. Better to do it twice for a short amount of time.
10. Once your buttercream is nice and smooth add the room temperature melted chocolate. Mix together on medium-low just until it is well incorporated.
Cut the cake into 4 layers and fill 3 layers with buttercream. Frost a thin layer on top and sides of the cake. Prepare the bag with a petal tip. I used Wilton 125 tip. But these ruffles can be done with other petal tip such as 103, 104, 126, 127. Fill bag with the remaining buttercream.
To make the ruffles: Hold the bag vertically, slot of tip perpendicular to cake; use swift back-and-forth motion 1 inch wide to make ruffle, pulling tip up side. Here is a video showing how-to.