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Comfort + Cake

on December 11 | in Baking, Desserts, Food, Friends & Family, From Ben, Recipes | by | with 19 Comments

Yesterday’s constant rainfall was fitting as the first funerals for the victims of last week’s shooting were held. I was sitting in my dining room watching the downpour, overwhelmed by the incomprehensible mourning that so many are going through right now. It seemed like heaven was crying too.

I thought about the families and the colleagues and the friends struggling to get through this tragedy in one piece. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows it isn’t possible to “reason” your way through something like this — so what can you do? I’m reminded of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Elizabethtown. Drew is flying home for his father’s funeral and Claire stops him on the plane after witnessing his grief to share these simple words: “We are intrepid. We carry on.” Carrying on isn’t something we can figure out or understand, it’s just something we do.

When a person is in deep mourning, you can love them, you can be a shoulder to cry on, you can tell them everything is going to be okay, but sometimes it’s the smallest things that mean the most.

When you know a grieving family, one of the most basic things you can offer is food. Times like this are dark and difficult, but we are built to endure. Something as simple as delivering a chocolate cake to a neighbor in need can act as a reminder that we are in this together and good things are yet to come.

Mini Chocolate Cakes + Cardamom Buttercream

- Mini Chocolate Cakes -

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus a little extra for the ramekins
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1.5 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

You will also need twelve 10 oz. ramekins.  If you don’t have that many, make as many mini cakes as you can and use the rest of the batter for cupcakes. The mini “cake plates” are actually tin coasters I got from FindersKeepers Market. Coasters are the perfect size for these cakes.

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Butter and flour the ramekins.

3. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with an electric hand mixer.

4. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low speed.

5. Add the coffee to the batter, still mixing on low and scraping down the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is fully incorporated.

6. Ladle the batter into your individual ramekins, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top of each.

7. Bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out almost clean (with some moist crumbs), and cool in the ramekins for 30 minutes.  Once cool enough, turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

8. Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully slice off the rounded tops so you have flat, even surfaces on both sides.

- Cardamom Buttercream -

2 sticks salted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
2 tsp. ground cardamom
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup whole milk

1. Cream the butter until fluffy and pale.

2. Add the vanilla and cardamom and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer.

3. Alternate adding 1 cup of sugar at a time and a splash of milk, beating in between until smooth.

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19 Responses to Comfort + Cake

  1. Pattie Ealy says:

    Simple acts of kindness can mean so very much.

  2. Lisa Sommers says:

    Simply lovely! Thank you for sharing!

  3. LUCY says:

    beautiful post Tiffany, thank you for sharing a little bit of your heart with us…xo

  4. Very well stated Tiffany, I suppose that is what all of us want to do-to share in their grief; to try and understand; to try and comfort; and especially we want to do something, anything to help. Great idea about helping someone we know, locally with food.

    • Tiffany | Offbeat & Inspired says:

      Thank you! It’s so difficult because as much as we wish we could shoulder their burden and fully understand, it’s not always possible. I know I start to feel very helpless at times. It’s a real comfort to know that even if our circumstances are completely different, we still share the most basic needs and food is one of them.

  5. Very Nice Tiffany! Love these Chocolate mini cakes!!

  6. Em says:

    these are brilliant; especially when everyone’s feeling a little dull about cupcakes already! <3

    • Tiffany | Offbeat & Inspired says:

      Thank you!! I hope you give them a try! Although they are, in essence, the same as cupcakes… there’s something about knowing you’re eating an actual miniature cake that makes it taste SO much better. :D

  7. Tara says:

    This recipe DOES NOT DISAPPOINT! OH MY GOODNESS! I made a few small changes, but DEAR LORD I will be making this cake recipe for the rest of my life. As a baker who has gone through her fair share of chocolate cake recipes, i’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. (I stumbled over here via a picture on Pintrest.) I didn’t need that many mini cakes either, so I scaled down the recipe to a third, substituted buttermilk and espresso for the whole milk and coffee, and baked all the batter in 2 4inch springform pans for 20 minutes at 375F. This is the most decadently textured, rich, chocolatey cake recipe I’ve come across in a while. Im so surprised to get this much dark flavor from only one form of chocolate.
    Thank You SOO much for sharing! And to everyone who has yet to make these, they will be the most fabulous cupcakes, I’d bet my culinary degree on it! – Craft Sparrow

    • Thanks so much Tara! I’m SOO glad you liked the recipe! I’m SUPER picky when it comes to chocolate cake and this one truly is my favorite. It’s so good to know that a pro baker agrees! :D I’m going to give this a try with your modifications and compare the results!

      • Tara says:

        Awesome! I’ll give you my exact measurements and you can tell me which you like best. I only modified so I could impulsively make a chocolate cake with what I had off hand, but you never know!
        1/3 + 1/4 cup APF
        2/3 cup gran sugar
        Barely heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa pwdr (I used ghirardelli)
        3/4 tsp baking soda
        1/4 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp coarse salt (halve if using table salt)
        1/3 cup buttermilk (not reduced fat)
        1/6th cup good quality olive oil
        1 egg yolk
        One double espresso shot = about 1/4 cup of super crazy strong coffee

        Wisk all the dry together. Wisk all the wet together. Add wet to dry and Wisk until evenly moist and dark cocoa color. Split between 2 4inch non stick spring form cake pans or go for cupcakes! This cake doesn’t even need frosting and stays moist well into the next day even unfrosted

  8. Lisa says:

    The Cardamom butter cream got my attention!
    To further intensify the chocolate flavour, dissolve the cocoa powder in the coffee.

  9. [...] want to try make these Mini Chocolate Cakes with Cardamom Buttercream that I found on this lovely blog called Folk. They are as sweet as a baby pig on a blanket (images from [...]

  10. Imtiaz says:

    This looks great but was wondering what changes I’d make to do it as a sheet or layer cake. Thanks!

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