Friday, July 26, 2013

Chocolate Blackout Cake

I recently made this New York classic for my nephew's birthday. It's a variation on a variation.

Chocolate Blackout Cake usually consists of a chocolate cake, split, with pudding between the layers as well as on the outside of the cake, and then covered in the cake's crumbs as a decoration.

This version, which I found on the Food Network website, replaces the outer layer of pudding with two layers of ganache. Not bad.

For the cake, I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe, One-Bowl Chocolate Cake, from Martha's Cooking School, which couldn't be easier or tastier. Also I doubled the filling recipe, just to be sure I had enough.

A serving tip:  store this in the fridge, but serve it at room temperature.

Chocolate Blackout Cake
Adapted from Food Network Magazine

For the filling:
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the ganache:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake:
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake, baked and cooled (recipe follows)


1.  Make One-Bowl Chocolate Cake as directed.  It’s best to do this in advance and chill the cooled cake in the fridge, as cold cake is easier to work with.  (You can even freeze the cake.)

2.  Make the filling: Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and egg in a medium heatproof bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk half of the hot milk into the sugar mixture, then return to the pan with the remaining milk. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl (strain through a fine-mesh sieve if it looks lumpy), then stir in the chocolate until melted. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

3.  Meanwhile, make the ganache: Put the chocolate and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; pour over the chocolate and let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour 3/4 cup of the ganache into a liquid measuring cup and set aside at room temperature. Refrigerate the remaining ganache in the bowl until thick but not set, about 1 hour.

4.  Assemble the cake: Put 1 cake layer on a platter; spread the filling on top, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge. Top with the second cake layer and press down gently.

5.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream to the chilled ganache and beat with a mixer on medium speed until just fluffy, about 1 minute (do not overbeat). Frost the whole cake with the whipped ganache. Pour the room-temperature ganache on top, letting it drip down the sides. Let set before slicing, about 30 minutes.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School)

Yield: 8-inch 2-layer cake

You can’t get much easier than this luscious cake, in which all the ingredients are thrown into a large mixing bowl and mixed by hand.  

1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (if you can find black cocoa, use a ¼ cup of it here plus 1 cup of regular)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons table salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ¼ cups buttermilk or sour cream (I prefer sour cream)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1.     Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners or for cakes, coat two 8 x 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds, then spray parchment.

2.     Whisk together all dry ingredients in a LARGE bowl.  Then whisk in all wet ingredients until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.

3.     Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out just clean, about 35 minutes.  Transfer pans to wire rack to cool 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, then reinvert cakes and cool completely.

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