Because I don't care much for the canned icing they sell in grocery stores, I am always looking for a really good icing recipe. This one was wonderful and it gives the cake a pretty shiny glow to it.
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant decaffeinated coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1. Put the butter, granulated sugar, and half-and-half in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer the mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Small bubbles will form around the edge of the pan. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate and stir the mixture until it is smooth and all of the chocolate is melted. Return the saucepan to low heat for 1 minute, if necessary, to melt the chocolate completely.
2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and dissolved coffee and mix on low speed just to incorporate the powdered sugar. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the mixture and refrigerate until it is cool to the touch, about 35 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the mixture cools throughout. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.
3. Beat the cooled chocolate mixture on medium-high for 1 minute, or until the frosting is creamy and lightens slightly in color. Use a thin metal spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Run the rounded tip of the spatula across the top of the frosting, in one direction, to form a ridged pattern on the frosting.