Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s Mother’s Day Dessert Recommendation Is Exactly What We Would Have Expected

published May 5, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
UNE 20: Chef Ina Garten arrives at EAT (RED) Food & Film Fest! at Bryant Park on June 20, 2017 in New York City.
Credit: Getty Images/ Michael Loccisano / Staff

When a cake recipe has a constant slew of five stars from more than 2,510 reviews and is basically known as a near-perfect dessert, it might just be almost good enough for mom. This is what the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten hopes, as she touts her famous Beatty’s chocolate cake for your upcoming Mother’s Day celebration. 

The recipe (supposedly named after a beloved friend’s grandmother) is as easy as one-two-three, mixing wet and dry ingredients separately, then together. And you can probably skip the grocery store stock-up, as Ina mostly works with staple ingredients, such as flour, sugar, cocoa powder (she splurges on Valrhona Le Noir 56% Cacao), baking soda, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs. The one thing you might find yourself grabbing is buttermilk — which lends a lightness and more tender texture than regular milk. Pro tip: Ina suggests shaking the buttermilk before adding it to break up any clumps. 

Of course, there’s one more mom-friendly ingredient the recipe pays homage to: coffee. This secret ingredient is in both the batter (you’ll mix a strong brew in at the end) and the frosting. Why? Because the bitter notes of coffee bring out the best of chocolate’s semi-sweet flavors.

The decadent chocolate buttercream frosting that complements her cake recipe gets its coffee kick from concentrated instant granules, alongside semisweet chocolate, unsalted butter, an egg yoke, vanilla extract, and sifted confectioners’ sugar (sifted to avoid — you guessed it — lumps). While you might think any chocolate will do, Ina discourages the use of chocolate chips because the added stabilizers could change the cake texture. 

If you also want to skip the big one-and-done confection (translation: if a two-layer cake isn’t your thing), you can instead make this into 24 cupcakes and reduce bake time from 35 to 40 minutes to 25 to 30.

When IRL celebrations with mom aren’t in the [Mother’s Day] cards or if you aren’t a great baker (although this cake is rated “intermediate” skill level on her site), you can also order her chocolate cake to be shipped overnight from Garten’s Goldbelly storefront for $90. This online marketplace is known for collaborating with famous foodies, such as the recent partnership with Martha Stewart and Megan Thee Stallion.