Food. Life. Travel

1 Year Bloggiversary Chocolate Cake: Recipe + Thoughts

It has officially been a year since I have started Thousand Caminos. I cannot believe how fast a year goes by. I remember when I first started, I had no idea what direction I wanted the blog to take. In fact, I first started out as a lifestyle blog, and I wanted my focus to be on fashion and makeup, with some travel thrown in. Well, I soon realized that being a lifestyle blogger is hard (and expensive).

It is hard because of the amount of time and dedication involved in setting up your poses, posts, and managing your Instagram. And in all honesty, it is expensive. This is something most lifestyle bloggers won’t tell you. But in all reality, while I do have a passion for all things lifestyle, when I began to engage in it for the purpose of posting to social media, it became a drag more than anything. However, if I am being honest, maybe I am denying the fact that I just wasn’t cut out for it 😉 LOL

What did spark my enthusiasm, however, was baking. That is something that has always made me inherently happy. It became apparent to me that baking and food styling were hobbies that I wanted to pursue with dedication. No matter how time-consuming it was to write up the posts and edit the photos, pursuing this aspect of my blog never seemed like a chore.

In due time, Thousand Caminos transformed into a food and travel blog. Two things that make my heart warm and happy. And while I haven’t been posting too much with regards to travel, I think I did a pretty good job. You can check out all my travel posts right here 🙂

When I first started blogging, I had a bunch of hopes and aspirations, I thought within a year I would have thousands of followers on Instagram, and a good amount of people reading my blog. In reality, this is far from the truth. The only people who read my blog with due diligence is my mom LOL. And every day I lose a few more followers on Instagram (I barely have 300!).

And you know what? That is fine by me. When I first started, being so involved in gaining and maintaining my following drove me crazy. It made me anxious, upset and more than anything, it made me unhappy. This is the reality most people won’t admit, but in truth, the pursuit of social media infamy is a primarily unhappy endeavor. With this in mind, I realized that I needed to prioritize why I was doing what I was doing.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Why did I start Thousand Caminos? I started my blog because I wanted an outlet for my creativity, and I wanted to start something for myself. This came at a time when I was going through a lot – primarily a mixture of post-grad existentialism and the realization that I was completely and utterly alone (i.e. no new friends, yay for a Drake reference). It was a time where my life was changing into something new – a new phase. Everyone else was happy go lucky and realizing all of their dreams, and then there was me. 

 

When I started my blog, my goal was to actually follow through with this for exactly a year. I have a habit of starting things and not finishing them or starting things and investing too much money into it and then never really being successful. I did not really have a goal for my blog in terms of numbers. Ideally, I wanted to post once a week (which I did, and sometimes I even did twice a week), and obviously in the back of my mind, I would have loved to have a massive following. But in actuality, I achieved things I never thought I would like:

  • Learning how to work with WordPress
  • Learning everything about blogging, SEO, hyperlinks, short links, Instagram (and the algorithm)
  • I self-hosted and designed my blog because I taught myself basic HTML
  • I gained new food photography skills and even baking skills!
  • I managed to collect some very beautiful pieces of kitchen and bakeware (I had a legitimate excuse to visit Anthropologie LOL).
  • I developed and nurtured something from start to finish and it made me happy

So even though I did not gain Instagram fame, and I think only 6 people collectively have read and made my recipes, I think I have achieved so much more!

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE?

At this point, I have decided to take a brief hiatus from posting on Thousand Caminos and I am taking a much-needed break. This includes posting and browsing on Instagram. I am not sure how long I am going to be gone for, but I know it won’t be permanent.

During my break, I just want to reflect on living in the present moment. I am also hoping that during the break I can think of new ways to enhance my blog. I know that I want to continue to focus my efforts on food, but I would like to incorporate some things with regards to lifestyle as well.

I also want to give my website a bit of a makeover. During the break, I hope to reorganize my recipes so that you are able to browse them according to category. Finally, I also want complete my travel section! I started my Andalusia Diaries Travel Guide, but I still have two more cities left, and I want to do a guide on my travels to Dubai! On that same note, I also want to organize my travel section so that you can easily see the places I have traveled to.  With that being said, I am just going to be open to the changes that come, and go with the flow with regards to my blog!

And now without further ado, let’s get into the reason why you clicked on this post in the first place. My recipe for a really tasty and easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream! It is without a doubt one of my favourite cakes, primarily because the buttercream is so delicious (I use melted chocolate, YUM!).

6-INCH CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

4 layers of chocolate-y goodness. 

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This chocolate buttercream is made with real chocolate rather than cocoa powder (not that cocoa powder isn't real chocolate!). 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 4 layer, 6-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot chocolate powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (shaken)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup espresso (can use freshly brewed coffee)

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (may need more)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 6-inch x 3-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.


  2. Sift the flour, sugars, hot chocolate powder, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, yogurt, oil, eggs, and chocolate extract and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine. Remove bowl from mixer and begin to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.



  3. Cut both cakes in half (horizontally) to make 2 layers. In total, you will have 4. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer and do the same. Repeat all steps till the cake is completed frosted between the layers. You will then use an offset spatula and apply frosting along the sides for a crumb coat (thin layer). Place cake in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and apply a final layer of frosting. Decorate as desired. 


Chocolate Frosting:

  1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.


  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.  On low speed, add the chocolate to the butter mixture and whip for 5 - 7 minutes until it is nice and fluffy!


Recipe Notes

I use 6-inch cake pans that are about 3 to 4 inches deep, hence why the cooking time can be anywhere from 30 - 40 minutes! If you cake pans are less deep you will adjust the time accordingly (anywhere from 20 - 30 minutes). 

***

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT HAS BEEN A YEAR SINCE I FIRST STARTED THOUSAND CAMINOS. I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED ME (I.E. EAT MY BAKED GOODS) THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. HERE IS TO WHATEVER THE FUTURE HOLDS 🙂 

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