So I have to make a chocolate cake this weekend and I'm a bit stressed 1. because I'm not a big baker and 2. because I also have to turn in my masters dissertation on Monday (not that that's really relevant except that I need to make this cake with a minimum of fuss. ) I found what appears to be a very simple recipe. One layer--plain ingredients, kitchen tools I more or less have. Only snag is that it calls for buttermilk and I live in London (and while it may be available here--big city and all) haven't seen it. How central is it? Is there something I can replace it with? If you live in London is there somewere I can easily get it?
Here's the recipe if any expert bakers can tell from looking how I can work around buttermilk
Aunt Sabella's Black Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing (from saveur.com)
Makes one 8-inch cake
We adapted the cake recipe from How America Eats and topped it with a frosting also in the book.
FOR THE CAKE:
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1⁄4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
FOR THE FROSTING:
2 1⁄4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. cocoa
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
5 tbsp. hot freshly brewed coffee
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Melt chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a small pot of gently simmering water over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove bowl from heat and set aside until chocolate is cool. Meanwhile, grease an 8" square cake pan with 1 tsp. of the butter and set aside. Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Stir baking soda into buttermilk in another small bowl and set aside.
2. Beat sugar and the remaining 5 tbsp. butter together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, then add melted chocolate and beat until thoroughly combined. Add one-third of the flour mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture, beating well after each addition. Repeat process to use all of both mixtures, then pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack to cool in pan, then invert onto a cake plate.
3. For the frosting: Sift confectioners' sugar and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Stir in butter, then coffee, then vanilla, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until frosting is smooth. Ice top and sides of cake with frosting.