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by on January 29th, 2013

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Gale Gand’s Blackout Chocolate Cake just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Recently I was going through some old Food and Wine magazines. Anything chocolate always gets my attention; my page flicking came to a screeching halt.   I came across this recipe by Gale Gand who was named Best New Chef back in 1994. She is now chef-in-residence at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest and part owner of Tru in Chicago.  This recipe has been her most requested recipe and who doesn’t want a “most requested recipe”. (read article able recipe at above link.)

Is there is nothing better than the feeling of chocolate melting over your tongue as you eat a piece of anything chocolate? Whether it is a Hershey’s Kiss, a chocolate covered almond, even a Milk Dud, or the most delicious chocolate dessert you have ever put in your mouth, chocolate is something that creates a buzz, euphoric sensation even stronger than a kiss. (That was results from a study done by a neurophysiologist back in 2007.) Believe what you want.

I know there are people out there who do not love or even like chocolate, and that’s so hard to believe and can you imagine being friends with a person like that, just kidding.

Don’t use Dutch processed Cocoa powder (see note below), plain old Hershey’s works just find. There is a difference in the Dutch cocoa that does not work with the baking soda in this recipe.

Note: — I found myself after making this cake saying “people who buy a lot of desserts from bakeries don’t know how much better homemade taste”. Well, this cake was something originally done by Ebinger Baking Company. (Read this article). I’ve read that people were so upset when the bakery closed that they bought cakes and frozen them so they could enjoy them for awhile. Well, I made Gale Gand’s version and she used the same filling for the frosting. This recipe (I would do the frosting from this recipe the next time) had a different frosting made with bittersweet chocolate. You can try both recipes and see what you think. I wasn’t totally impressed and I wouldn’t definitely call it the best chocolate cake I ever put in my mouth. It is chocolate and I did like the way the crumb mixture looked on the finished cake; and if you are into trying different chocolate desserts, give it a try. I would try the second frosting recipe though using the bittersweet chocolate.

Cake batter, creamy and smooth.

I used the baking strips around the outside of the pans.  Soak them in water and fasten with pin and you will have a perfectly level cake after baking.

Custard filling/frosting.

Cool the custard until ready to frost cake.

You are going to split the two layers of cake and use three of the layers to make the cake. I drizzled each layer with a little Kaluha.

Three layers high.

Chocolate Blackout Cake
(adapted from Gale Gand’s recipe)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (See Note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
FILLING:
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder (See Note)
2/3 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

MAKE THE CAKE:  Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter two 9-inch* round cake pans and coat lightly with flour. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 1 stick of butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla. At very low speed, beat in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the 2 1/4 cups of cake flour and the milk in 3 separate alternating batches, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl occasionally.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool completely.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a large saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of water until smooth; whisk into the cocoa mixture. Cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, 3 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. Scrape the filling into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface of the filling. Let cool, then refrigerate until firm, 45 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, halve each cake layer horizontally. Break up the less attractive top cake layer and transfer to a food processor; pulse into crumbs. Reserve the two cake bottoms and one smoother top.

Set one of the cake bottoms on a cake plate and spread with 1 1/2 cups of the filling. Top with the second bottom layer and another 1 1/2 cups of filling. Cover with the cake top and spread the remaining filling all over the top and side. Pat the crumbs all over the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

MAKE AHEAD: The chocolate cake can be refrigerated overnight.

*Notes: The recipe said to use 2-9″ pans. My pans were 9″ but only about an 1″high so my FIRST cake cooked over the top of the pan and I re-baked it. The second time I used 8″ pans and used three of them. I split the 2 biggest layers, used all four for the cake and used the extra one to make the crumbs to coat the cake.

OTHER NOTES: Natural cocoa powder is one of two types of unsweetened cocoa. It’s bitter and adds intense chocolate flavor to the cake. Don’t use Dutch-process or other alkalized cocoa; when combined with baking soda, it can make a cake taste soapy.

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