June 22, 2012

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Mmmmm, chocolate cake. Apologies for the lengthy post, but it’s all about chocolate! A very moist, very chocolatey, lighter than air cake enrobed in fudgy chocolate ganache. It takes a little more ingredients than you might have on hand, but it is so worth it. Once you or anyone that you share with has eaten a slice, there will never be another chocolate cake recipe you’ll need to find. I didn’t develop this recipe myself, it came from Ina Garten, but I have made slight changes and have some tidbits to help you enjoy this deliciousness.

This cake works better as a 9-inch round, not 8-inch as originally written. I made a two-layer cake and even removed batter for three cupcakes and my layers were still about 1-1/2 inches tall. I find it easier to use measurements in grams, for accuracy and so that ingredients can go directly into the bowls. The scale is also a huge help when it comes to dividing the batter evenly between the two cake pans. This is a thin cake batter and as always, be careful not to overmix. Take into consideration that while you are separating the batter, you are still continuing to mix it.

It may be helpful to place the cooled cakes in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before removing them from the cooling racks. Since these cakes are so moist, this will firm them up for handling. The cakes will have stuck to the cooling racks and so use a plastic dough scraper or the back side of a knife to gently separate the cakes before picking them up.

Chocolate Cake
8 oz freshly brewed coffee
3/4 C (96 g) cocoa powder
1-3/4 C (224 g) all-purpose flour

2 C (402 g) sugar
2 t baking soda

1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C (242 g) buttermilk, shaken

1/2 C (110 g) vegetable oil

2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray two 9-inch x 2-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and pour in the hot coffee. Stir to combine thoroughly, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, stir with spatula, electric mixer, or a stand mixer, just until combined.

Add the coffee mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter in even amounts into the prepared pans and bake for 17-19 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 C heavy cream

Place the chocolate in large mixing bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream on medium-high until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk until completely combined and glossy.

Place plastic film directly on top of the ganache to prevent a skin from forming while it cools. If using as a glaze, cool slightly before pouring over your cake. If you want to whip the ganache, place cooled ganache in a mixing bowl and use a whisk attachment and whip until it is light and fluffy. For piping or frosting, allow the ganache to completely cool and reach a spreadable consistency.

(For this post I used 12 oz of chocolate, 7 oz semi-sweet and 5 oz bittersweet, and 1 C cream to decorate the 2-layer cake and three cupcakes and there was still ganache left over.)

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