Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Cake... Well... Takes The Cake!

Every once in awhile, something changes your perspective on life... and Cake. I don't really care for cake... Oh, I bake cake. In fact, I bake a lot of cake. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am pretty good at baking cake. But I don't really care for it all that much being more of a pie person. In the long run, I suppose that is a good thing. It keeps my pants from cutting off my circulation. ;)

I DO, however, love good chocolate. There are a lot of Chocolate cake recipes out there. Some good, some bad. Some are dense like brownies, (mmmm... brownies) while others are as fluffy as clouds. Some are dry, others are moist. There are rich deep devils food cakes, lighter than air chocolate angel food cakes, and everything in between such as Red Velvet or German's Chocolate cake. They are made with the whole gamut of luscious cacao products such as Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Natural Cocoa, Semi-Sweet Chocolate, BitterSweet Chocolate, Dutched Cocoa and the list goes on and on and on and on........ (including the afore mentioned "Baker's German's Chocolate").

But in my experience, I have never made a chocolate cake (and I LOVE chocolate) that has been quite as delicious as this. Light, Tender, Moist, Rich and Chocolaty... Unparalleled deliciousness. I must - must - must thank my Sister in-law for pointing me at this recipe that was originally published in Gourmet magazine back in 1999. Chef Ed Kasky used Callebaut chocolate in his , but I used Guittard Bittersweet (63%) Chocolate in mine, and Scharffen-Berger natural cocoa powder.

Evidently this has become the most popular recipe on Epicurious, though I got it from a Today Show episode back in January of 2008, about how popular it was on Epicurious. It had 1000 reviews back then, now (as of December 18th, 2009 it has 1337... soon to be 1338, if ya know what I mean. Well, if you like chocolate cake and you give this a whirl you will definitely know what I mean.

It seems to be extremely versatile as far as pan size too. It calls for 2 10-inch pans, but I baked the recipe twice; in a 10 & 8 inch from the first batch.... Then 2 9-inch from the second batch, even though I only needed 1 9-inch cake (it's hard to get 1/2 of an egg). It was all good, cause I had an extra layer to munch on, simply sprinkled with confectioner's sugar... Seriously, the cake is THAT good. My only issue with it is the baking time was a little off (Then again, that could be the oven's problem). My cakes (all 4 of them) tested 'done' in a little less than an hour... So watch and test carefully, cause the original time was up too 1 hour & 10 minutes. Your vigilance will be rewarded.

My niece is going to be ecstatic over her birthday cake. :)

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

3 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate; chopped fine
1 1/2 cups Brewed Coffee; hot
3 cups Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 1/2 cups Natural Cocoa Powder (not Dutch process)
2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/4 tsp Salt
3 large Eggs
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
3/4 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Grease the bottoms only, of 2 10-inch cake pans (although 9 seems to work just fine as well), line bottoms with rounds of parchment, then grease and lightly flour the paper. (yes, I used shortening instead of butter).

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a bowl, then combine with hot coffee and let it stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (DD will be proud of me, cause I sifted this time instead of whisking) :)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (3 minutes; a little longer if using a hand held mixer).

With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add oil.

Then add the buttermilk and vanilla.

Lower the speed a little and add the chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. (The batter will be REALLY runny)

Add flour mixture with the mixer on low (to prevent a dust cloud) 1/2 cup at a time;
when finished, return the mixer to medium speed and blend until combined.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes (although mine took 55 minutes in a 9 inch pan) testing at 5 minute intervals after 50 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks.

Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks, carefully remove parchment paper and cool layers completely.

Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. In all honesty, this cake would be awesome with Stabilized Whipped Cream between the layers and a chocolate ganache poured over the top. But, this particular cake is destined to rise above such things... I foresee much butter in it's future.... (hint, hint)



Katy ~ said...

Don't you just love finding the ONE recipe that epitomizes everything you want. Sounds like you've found it in this one.

Bob said...

Man, I'd be ecstatic about that cake too, it looks amazing!

DDpie said...

HAHA! Yesssss I'm proud of you for sifting! YAY! LOL I wanna try this cake too...right now I'm so cookied out, ya know?

Unknown said...

I love chocolate, but I'm not a huge cake fan either. But I will have to try this one out! ( can add this to my order for my birthday cake hee hee)