Few things in this world are a more classic combination than a yellow-based cake paired with chocolate frosting. My 23 month, 363- day old toddler turns TWO on Friday. Two. And per his jibber- jabbered request, we're doing a 3-tiered yellow cake with chocolate filling and white frosting adorned with Thomas the Train/Island of Sodor theme going on top. Don't even ask me to post pictures of the final result; simply imagine this but with the volume and quality cranked down considerably. If I can make it even half as cute, it will be a decorating victory! To make things super easy on myself, I'm relying on pebble candy (aka, rock candy), hard sugar candy that resembles green bushes, jelly candy in the shape of bugs, blue frosting for the water, green frosting for the island, and thin pretzel sticks for the train tracks to help me out. We've also got a few plastic Thomas the Train toy engines to use as decor for the top. Actually, any cake with a Thomas the Train on top of it will be a dream for the to-be two year old. His cute brain is all trains, all trucks, and all wheels. I love it.
Anywho. I whipped out the chocolate filling tonight. The outer part of the cake will be slathered in cheap, white, fluffy frosting, but I thought the inner part was worthy of something decadent, and out came this simple, very easy and basic chocolate buttercream that I kid you not when I say, I reserved a cup of it for later consumption with some graham crackers or to mix in the labyrinth of my AM oatmeal. And I wonder why my old pre-pregnancy jeans ain't fitting.
I prefer to utilize melted chocolate over cocoa powder when the frosting calls for the chocolate component. I find that the outcome of my frosting has a much smoother texture to it and for me, it's mentally less work to melt chocolate than to sift it, but there are plenty of recipes out there for chocolate frosting that use cocoa powder, so do whatever is your thing.
Without further blabbing, I give you my recipe of the simplest chocolate frosting known to humanity all while enjoying these last nights of having my window open to cool summer evening air as well as the sound of crickets chanting away.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1-2 Tbsp cream or milk (for thinning)
In a double boiler, melt chocolate slowly. In a separate bowl, cream butter for one minute. Add melted chocolate and beat well until your wrists hurt (err... for another minute or two). Slowly and gradually add powdered sugar one cup at a time until all incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients, giving more milk to the mixture if it's too thick (conversely, adding more powdered sugar if it's too runny). Use immediately or cover tightly and use up within 3-5 days, allowing to come to room temperature again before you use.