About a month ago, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, friend Katie and I went on a Katie Date to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Red Hook is well known among New Yorkers because it is home to the water-taxi accessible IKEA. But it wasn't IKEA that motivated us to take the two hour, one-way trip there that day (not that we didn't take advantage of our vicinity and stop in for some Swedish meatballs. Obviously.)
It was the Baked bakery that called to us, which I had first heard about years ago on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Some celebrity chef said that Baked's Sweet & Salty Brownie was the best brownie they'd ever had.
Naturally, the Sweet & Salty Brownie was the first thing I ordered. But Katie and I didn't stop there. Oh no. We had traveled by subway and bus to get there, after all. This trip was gonna be worth it.
Here's what we ordered:
Now, mind you, this photo doesn't do the size of these baked goods justice. That grasshopper bar is about the size of my palm (and probably contains half a pound of powdered sugar), and that slice of cake is as big as one of those giant blue IKEA bags. Seriously. (Okay, not seriously, but it was at least as big as the pile of meatballs I ate, and you know how I feel about meatballs).
So it's no surprise we didn't finish everything. But there was one thing we finished faster than I get lost in IKEA.
Can you guess what it was?
Hint #1: This is not a trick question.
Hint #2: Did you read the title of this post?
Hint #3: Really? You need a third hint?
Time's up! Did you guess the...
Wow! You're so smart! Almost as smart as whoever invented Swedish meatballs! And this cake!
Man, was that Coca-Cola Cake GOOD. Mouth watering dark chocolate cake with frosting half an inch thick...
It was so good that I ran home and made a cupcake version for my co-worker's birthday the very next day.
I adapted the recipe from the first cookbook by Baked's creators, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, which has a recipe for Root Beer Bundt Cake. I simply substituted Coca-Cola for the Root Beer. (I've made the Root Beer version before too - also very good.) You can't really taste the cola, but it does give the cake a certain "what is that flavor?" quality.
Also: this frosting is TO DIE FOR. If I had to choose between eating a tub of this frosting and eating a heaping pile of meatballs, I would toil over that decision, but in the end, I'd definitely choose this frosting. It's become a staple in our house - we use it on cupcakes, Chocolate Fudge Cake, and empty spoons.
Just the last week, the other Katie told me she couldn't stop thinking about the Coca-Cola Cake we ate at Baked. That makes two of us. If you're in the NYC area, head on over to Red Hook (via subway, bus, water taxi, or all three) and make sure to try it (either before or after your Swedish meatballs--we won't tell if you eat dessert first. We did). If you're not in the NYC area, I can't help with the meatballs, but the recipe for the cake is below.
-Katie (and Katie)
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking via Baked Perfection
Makes approximately 22 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes
2 cups Coca-Cola (do not use Diet Coke)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
For the Coca-cola Fudge Frosting
2 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt1/4 cup Coca-cola
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Make the cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 22 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a small saucepan, heat Coca-Cola, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold flour mixture into cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy—do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.
5. Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour the batter into prepared baking pans. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until a small knife (or toothpick) comes out clean.
6. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack. Let cool for 3 minutes, then gently flip cupcakes on their sides in muffin tins so they don't get soggy.
Make the frosting
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth. (Note: If you don't have a food processor, a hand mixer works just fine.)
2. Use a knife or offset spatula to spread the fudge frosting on the cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Let frosting set before serving.