RECIPE: Lea Michele’s Devil’s Food Birthday Cake

09/02/2014 at 02:28 PM ET

Lea Michele Birthday Cake
Courtesy Lea Michele

Claire Thomas
The Kitchy Kitchen
Served at Lea Michele’s Birthday Dinner

Devil’s Food Cake
Serves 8

4 oz. butter
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sour cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated for garnish

18 oz. unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans.

2. In a double boiler or in a small pot over low heat, melt the chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Cream together the sugars, butter and add the eggs one at a time until a pale yellow (about 2-3 minutes). Add the melted chocolate to the eggs mixture by pouring it in slowly while beating at medium speed. This is to ensure a smooth mixture, rather than scrambling the eggs.

4. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix together the coffee and sour cream. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients on low speed, ending on the wet ingredients.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

7. For the buttercream, add the butter to a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, and whip until soft and smooth. On low speed, add the powdered sugar, mixing until fully incorporated, and then add the agave nectar (or maple syrup), cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Taste for sweetness and add more powdered sugar if necessary.

8. To finish, place a layer of cake on a plate and coat with 1 inch of buttercream. Use an offset spatula to even it out, then add the other layer. Add a big scoop of buttercream on top of the cake, and using the spatula, smooth the buttercream out until it’s coating the cake about a 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Scoop more buttercream on and smooth out if necessary. Top with grated chocolate.

FILED UNDER: Baking , Cake , Dessert , Lea Michele , Recipes

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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