Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

I got this recipe for the Cooks Illustrated March/April 2006 issue. This is the magazine that will roast 3,958 (ok, not quite that many!) chickens, to find the perfect one. They have done the same with chocolate cake but let me warn you, this is not a healthy recipe (think lots of butter!) by any means, and it wasn't exactly quick and simple either. But, I can assure you, it is delicious!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake

For best results, don't make the frosting until the cakes are cooled and use the frosting as soon as it is ready.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pans
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round cake pans with softened butter, dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl ( I used a metal bowl); set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30-45 seconds, pausing to scrape down the sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixuture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide batter evenly between pans.

3. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45-60 minutes.

4. TO MAKE FROSTING:Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to bowl of standing mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.

5. Place mixer bowl over ice bath (I placed the mixer bowl in a large bowl of icy water) and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Frosting should be 70 degrees. Place bowl on standing mixer fitted with paddle attachement and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with spatula until completely smooth.

6. TO FROST CAKE:Place one cake layer on serving platter. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across top of cake layer on top, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. (I seemed to have quite a bit of leftover icing)Cut into slices and serve.

Refrigerated leftover cake should sit at room temperature before serving until the frosting softens.

Whew!!! It helped to read through the recipes a few times and gather all of the ingredients and kitchen tools before starting. I also ran a sink of hot soapy water to put all of the dirty dishes right into.

In addition to a yummy dessert, it makes a nice afternoon snack too. ;0)


Beck said...

OH NO! You've discovered my weakness! I love chocolate layer cake.... but I don't know what you're talking about - that looks perfectly healthy to me!

Sandra said...

Oh, chocolate cake! It's one of my weaknesses too, along with cheesecake.

Now, don't tell me your going to post a delicious cheesecake recipe too?!

Susan P. said...

Okay Kelli, three things: First, LOL about the chickens!! Second, "oh my goodness, YUM!" Third, and most important, when are you having us all over???!!!

Kelli said...

Since when is liking chocolate cake a weakness? ;0) Sandra, I love cheesecake too!!
Susan, you'd better get here's going fast!! LOL

Tina Leigh said...

Danny asked me what that big mark/stain on the monitor was. I explained it to him like this..."Oh it's where Kelli posted a picture of the chocolate cake she made. It looked really good but it didn't have much taste to me!"

Kelli said...

Tina, it sounds like you just didn't want to share! ;0)
You and your chocolate issues! *shaking head*

Marci said...

Now how fair is that? I open up your blog (not have had breakfast yet) and there is that DELICIOUS looking chocolate cake. Eggs from my chickens and home made bread don't sound so good right now. =)

Sandra said...

Oh Tina, you're sooo funny! I love your sense of humour, it's kinda warped like mine, lol!

Anonymous said...

Not healthy??? How can you say that?? Be careful or I will rationalize for you why it is perfectly healthy for my children to have left-over birthday cake for breakfast the day after their birthdays! Ask any of them....;-)

This recipe looks absolutely luscious. Definitely printing this one up!

Tori Leslie said...

Hmmm, it looks delish!!!
I'm gonna copy this but not make it, I am a sucker for any kind of chocolate except white. :0)

Grateful Girl said...

I made this cake!! It was so delicious! I made it for my boyfriends birthday and had never made a cake that didn't come out of a box before...It turned out perfectly and was one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had!! Thank you, this recipe has inspired my cooking skills and I have been baking cakes and pies perfectly, non stop, since trying this recipe...I didn't realize how much I enjoyed baking :) Thank You!!!