Friday, January 23, 2009

Chocolate Blackout Cake

I made this cake for dessert to go with our potato soup on Thursday night. I had watched the experts make it on America's Test Kitchen more than once. Every time I watched it I would get more and more excited about making it. I hate to say though, that I was a little disappointed when the big tasting moment arrived. However, in the same breath let me say that it was to no fault of the recipe but my fault alone.

There were 3 things I made that I will be sure not to repeat when I make this next time. 1. This recipe calls for 1 cup of strong brewed coffee and I think I may have made it a little too strong. 2. When purchasing the unsweetened chocolate for the pudding I wasn't too sure what to buy. I noticed at the store that they had 60% cocoa unsweetened chocolate and 100% cocoa unsweetened chocolate. Not knowing which one to get I went with the 100%. For me this made the pudding too rich and so next time I'll go for the 60%. 3. I thought that my cake pans were 8 inch, but it turns out that they were 9 inch. Not a big deal with some cakes but with this one it was. Each baked cake is supposed to be cut in half once cooled for layering purposes and because I used 9 inch pans, my cakes were thinner and this presented a challenge not only when cutting the cakes but also when layering.

That being said, the cake was still delicious and I will definitely make it again. It was just a little too rich. I am always on a quest to find moist cake recipes. For me what makes a cake is how moist it is and this one delivers. The cake itself without the pudding is rich, dense and oh so moist. I am not claiming defeat yet!

Chocolate Blackout Cake
From Cooks Country

Serves 8-10 -Easily!

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. FOR THE PUDDING: Whisk the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan and slowly whisk in half-and-half and milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate and cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate the pudding until cold, about 4 hours.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the over to 325 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans, then dust with cocoa powder and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk, and the sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until no streaks remain. (The batter will be very loose.)

4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the work surface to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through backing.

5. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel of the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before filling and frosting about 2 hours.

6. Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Slice each cake into two even layers using a long serrated knife. Crumble one of the cake layers into medium-sized crumbs.

7. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread 1 cup of pudding over the cake right to the edges. Top with a second layer of cake and spread with another 1 cup of pudding. Place the remaining cake layer on top and press lightly to adhere. Frost the cake with the remaining pudding. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and press them onto the sides of the cake. Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.

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