Recipe Finder | Chocolate chip layer cake

For The Baltimore Sun
The key for a perfect chocolate chip layer cake? Mini chocolate chips.

Madeline Meushaw of Baltimore was in search of a good recipe for a chocolate chip layer cake made from scratch. She has lost her recipe for the cake and was hoping a reader would be able to help her out.

Somewhat surprisingly, I did not receive any recipes from readers, but there are many excellent ones for the classic cake available both in cookbooks and online. I particularly liked the chocolate chip layer cake recipe I came across by Reeni Pisano of New York City on her blog, Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice. She said that her recipe was adapted from a cake recipe in the cookbook "Tate's Bake Shop: Baking For Friends" by Kathleen King.

This cake batter is made with two eggs, two yolks, brown sugar (no white sugar) and buttermilk, ingredients that give the cake an incredible rich flavor and beautiful texture. The other key is that the recipe calls for mini chocolate chips. As Pisano says, "It's imperative that you use mini chocolate chips. The big ones will sink, even if you coat them with flour, too heavy even for this batter. This cake works because the batter is thick enough to hold up those lightweight, little chips."

Her recipe makes a very generous amount of batter. Pisano advises baking the cake in two springform pans so you don't have to worry about them overflowing. If you don't have springform pans, she suggests using three or four regular cake pans to make a multilayered cake, or use can always use the extra batter to make cupcakes. Regardless of the number of layers you end up with, when put together with the delectable frosting you will have an impressive looking and delicious layer cake perfect for any special occasion.

Requests

Linda Wilson of Columbia is hoping to find the recipe for the yellow layer cake with strawberry buttercream icing that was sold at the bakery in the now-closed Hutzler's department store in the Westview Shopping Center. She recalls that she ordered one for her daughter's 1st birthday, now 43 years ago.

Sue Rinker of Baltimore is searching for a recipe for something she made many years ago when her children were young called "pizza in a tunnel." At the time it was not a big hit with her family, so she did not keep the recipe. But her son, who is now 40, has often talked about this dinner. Rinker would like to surprise him with it if she can locate the recipe or something close to it. The dish had traditional pizza ingredients inside some kind of dough or crust. She has a vague memory that the crust may have been made with crescent rolls or Pillsbury biscuit dough.

Chocolate chip layer cake

(From CinnamonSpiceandEverythingNice.com; adapted from "Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends" by Kathleen King)

Makes 1 9-inch cake

Softened butter and flour for the pans

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

16 tablespoons (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) miniature chocolate chips (Ghirardelli if possible)

Frosting:

1/2 cup light heavy cream

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional

4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with an oven rack in the center. Butter and flour the sides of two 9-by-3-inch round cake or springform pans or three 8-by-2-inch round pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

For the cake:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Measure the buttermilk with a glass measuring cup and add the vanilla to it.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar and butter together on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk in two equal additions. Beat until smooth after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth out the tops. I scoop up the batter with a 1-cup measure to get them as even as possible. (If using regular cake pans, don't overfill them. Use excess to make cupcakes and place a baking sheet on your bottom rack to catch any drips.)

Bake until wooden toothpick in centers of cakes comes out clean, about 38-40 minutes for the 9-inch pans and 30-34 minutes for the 8-inch size.

Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges and turn out from the pans, or remove the rings if using springform pans. Turn cakes right side up and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium mixing bowl on medium speed, beat the butter, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder, 1/3 cup of the warm cream and half the sugar until smooth.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating on medium speed until smooth and fluffy — about 5-6 minutes. If the frosting seems too thick to spread, beat in the remaining cream a teaspoon at a time until you reach a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake right away.

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