I am a chronic overthinker. As in, oftentimes situations become much more complicated once they reach wherever in my brain I process stuff.
For example, it takes me literally for-e-v-e-r to write an email. (But like how do I end it? “Best” is so overdone it feels insincere. I can’t use “Thanks” at the end of an email that I wrote specifically to thank someone… And “Sincerely” is all like, “I’m establishing that we don’t have a close relationship, and I probably don’t want one.” So you can see why things get difficult.)
I also apparently overthink desserts. I’m ashamed to tell you how long I spent deciding the future of this cake. How should I decorate it? What flavors should I make it? I looked to Pinterest for inspiration, but there were just so many options that I got overwhelmed and had to take a breather. And have a snack.
I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong making a chocolate cake in any form, but I had convinced myself that any frosting flavor I came up with would be DISASTROUS.
It wasn’t. It sooooooo wasn’t.
New Year’s Resolution 2016: THINK LESS. Well, overthink less. Still use your brain, Molly. Plz n thank u.
This is a wonderful cake to make to ring in the New Year! Plus it looks like it took a ton of effort when really it’s not so bad. Promise. 🙂
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 3/4 . all-purpose flour
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Hershey’s Special Dark)
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1.5 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 c. canola or other flavorless vegetable oil
1 c. whole milk, buttermilk, or nondairy buttermilk* (see notes–it’s easy to make)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. boiling water
orange buttercream frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan butter
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. orange juice
zest of 1 orange
white chocolate ganache:
4 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c. heavy cream or almond milk creamer (I used the creamer & loved the results: perfect hint of almond. 10/10 would recommend)
orange zest, for decoration
*notes: make vegan buttermilk by combining 1 tbsp. vinegar OR lemon juice with 1 cup vegan milk and letting it stand for a few moments
1. Make the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk all wet ingredients except the boiling water. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth, and then stir in the boiling water. Distribute batter equally between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 28 minutes.
3. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack to cool completely. IMPORTANT: your cake must be completely cooled before you frost it.
4. Make the frosting: beat all ingredients together until smooth. Once the cakes are cooled, frost as desired (here are Molly’s tips for decorating cakes–she’s a star) and place cake in the fridge while you make the ganache. This will help the ganache cool quicker when you pour it for a better drip effect.
5. Make the ganache: place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to boil, stirring regularly. Pour cream over the chocolate and let stand for a few seconds. Then gently whisk the mixture until smooth. Your ganache might be a bit runny for the drip effect to work right now, but don’t worry. Let your ganache cool for 15-20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until it reaches the desired consistency.
6. Remove cake from fridge and pour ganache on top. Using an offset spatula, gently spread the ganache until it reaches the edges of the cake and begins to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with orange zest. Leave to cool at room temperature, or return to the fridge to cool more quickly.