Friday, September 7, 2012

BLACK MAGIC CAKE W/ CHOC KAHLUA BUTTERCREAM–guest post by The Vanilla Bean Baker

Today I have a wonderful guest post.  My sweet friend, Paula, from The Vanilla Bean Baker.  If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you’ll know my love for this woman.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her twice and spending some great time with her.  Always a laugh and always good food!  So take it away Paula!


Hi! I'm Paula of The Vanilla Bean Baker and it's my pleasure to be able to help Karen out this week as she continues to heal from her injury. With two young children, a big dog and a new little puppy along with a husband whose work keeps him on the road most of the time, I don't know how you are managing right now Karen. I hope that you are taking it easy so you can heal completely. Once you are better, I hope you try this cake. It will be a wonderful treat to celebrate your return to baking! I'm so excited to be able to share the fabulous chocolate cake recipe from Mona of Wise Words in Galway, Ireland. You may remember when I made these cupcakes and did not post the recipe. I did not post the recipe because it is one of many wonderful recipes included in Mona Wise's first (of three) books, The Chef & I. The Black Magic cupcakes were delicious and the best scratch cake recipe I've ever made. A few weeks ago, I had two bananas in the fridge, having been transferred from the counter sometime last week as they began a quick ripen. Opening the fridge to get the mozzarella to grate for a lasagna, the bananas cried in unison *Were you planning on doing anything with us anytime soon? Hello, we are still here, waiting to mix it up with you, anytime now O.K. lady?* That's when I decided that I would puree the pair of them and add them to Mona's Black Magic Cake. Once baked, I DM'd Mona on Twitter, catching her just before she headed off to bed. It was a little after 6:00 p.m. my time so I was grateful that she was still awake in Ireland. I asked her permission to publish her recipe should I post the cake and generous as she is, she granted it.

Most everyone has a favourite *go-to* chocolate cake recipe. I did before reading my won copy of The Chef & I but I always had issues with it when baking cupcakes. The cake never came away easily from the liners. Not so with this Black Magic Cake and again, it is the moistest and the best tasting chocolate cake I've have had to date. Even if you have a *sworn allegiance * to a chocolate cake recipe, I urge you to try this one. With or without the added pureed bananas, I'll be very surprised if you don't fall in chocolate love with this. Other than adding the bananas and using vanilla bean paste (just 'cause I love it) I did not change anything in Mona's recipe. Try it and I think you'll see why this is THE birthday cake in the Wise household. Once you bake one yourself, it may just become the celebration cake in your home too. Black Magic Cake Recipe (gratefully reprinted with kind permission from Mona Wise and as found on page 159 of The Chef & I) Dry Ingredients 1 3/4 cups (210 g) cake or all-purpose flour 2 cups (400 g) sugar 3/4 cup (90 g) cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder 3/4 teaspoon of salt Wet Ingredients 2 eggs 1 cup (240 ml) strong black coffee (not instant) 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk 1/2 cup (120 ml) oil 1 teaspoon of vanilla For the banana version, I added two ripe pureed bananas. They added an nice subtle flavour to the delicious chocolate. Directions Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix for 2 minutes. Pour batter into greased parchment lined and floured (9 inch) cake pans. Bake at 350°F/180°C for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream in between the layers (or with ice cream) and warm chocolate sauce. Mona's Notes Abridged: This is one of those *don't mess with it* recipes.) Just make it, bake it, eat it, love it. This is a liquidy batter. It makes great cupcakes. Be careful not to overfill. Paula's Notes: It is a liquidy batter and I did mess with it but even with the added pureed bananas, it was still liquidy. No need to worry though, it bakes up beautifully. Both times I have made this cake batter, I've done it by hand. No mixer required. Quick, easy and so delicious! As noted earlier, I made this cake a few weeks ago. I baked the above recipe into three 8" round cake pans and froze the layers between sheets of parchment paper in an air-tight container. This cake freezes beautifully with no change in the consistency when thawed.

When thawed I made a Chocolate Kahlua buttercream frosting and frosted each layer, adding 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans to the top of the frosting between the second and third layers of the cake.

The excess pecans were then cleared away and a crumb coating was applied to the entire cake before the final layer of frosting was applied.

Then it was ready to serve and enjoy and we certainly did! I'm pretty sure that you will as well.

Chocolate Kahlua Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa
  • 5 cups of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 6-8 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of Kahlua

Cream butter. Add cocoa and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add confectioners sugar until combined. Add milk until desired spreading is achieved. Add Kahlua and mix well.

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Oh my indeed!  well I am definitely putting this on the “must try” list.  Thank you Paula so much, you truly are a fabulous baker and a great friend!

Thanks for looking!


  1. Oh my goodness - this is my kind of cake - looks moist, dense and oh so chocolately! Thanks for this wonderful recipe Paula!

  2. Wow. Is it wrong I want a huge piece of that cake for breakfast? Magic indeed.

  3. I love the addition of bananas! And kahlua frosting? Yum!! Beautiful cake, Paula!

  4. Yum! I love the sound of "black magic" cake!