THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Happy Birthday Darling
This was adapted from the wonderful Chocolate Coffee Cake from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The cake itself was a chocolate cake and the coffee components would have comprised of the coffee buttercream, which I changed into chocolate and of course the chocolate covered coffee beans for the top, which I kept for the lack of finding something else equally appealing among the many chocolate covered confections at Cooper’s candy isle. I do not think I will be allowed to make a different chocolate cake again; I already have an “order” for the same cake for a June birthday in 2013. It is a good thing; the next cake will work out better. You see I thought the chocolate glaze was way too much so I only made half of the suggested amount. This was a big mistake, because my cake would have looked much better if the glaze dribbled down the sides a bit more. My dribbles didn’t quite make it and my sense of proportion was a bit affronted by the not quite dribbled dribbles I ended up with. I failed to consider that chilling the cake following the first application of chocolate glaze will make the next layer less fluid and that being the point of chilling in the first place.
I baked two layers and cut them in half so I ended up with four layers instead of the suggested three. Cutting the layers in half requires careful handling*, and the alternative is to bake three identical layers and assembling the layers uncut. Novice cake makers should really stick to the three cake plan. You will need three identical cake pans or make the cakes separately which will involve divisions of fractions. If this is not your strongpoint, the easiest method would be to measure out the suggested ingredients, weigh them in grams, divide the grams and then weigh out the three parts separately. I have done it before; it’s not that difficult.
As you know I am not a fan of crumbly or overly moist, or heavy cakes. The crumb of this cake was simply wonderful; even fully chilled the cake remained soft and fluffy. The old fashioned cooked butter cream was plenty enough to fill four layers and to cover the top and the side of the cake. Other than the chocolate covered coffee beans on the top; this was a chocolate cake in full glory.
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream 2-2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 batch of old fashioned cooked chocolate buttercream
1 batch of the ultimate chocolate glaze
12 chocolate covered confections for the top [I used chocolate covered coffee beans] chocolate sprinkles for the base
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
• Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray the parchment and the sides with cooking spray.
• In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1-1/4 cups of hot water and set aside to cool.
• In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. • With the paddle attachment on a standing mixer, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
• Add the sugars and beat on medium speed for 5 more minutes until light and fluffy.
• Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the eggs are incorporated into the mixture.
• Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
• Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
• Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry ingredients.
• Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
• Use an offset spatula to level the batter.
• Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes.
• Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely.
• Remove the parchment.
To assemble the cake:
• Line the cake plate with three slips of parchment paper generously overhanging the plate. • If you baked three layers, place one cake layer on the prepared serving platter.
• Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1-1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer.
• Omit the following paragraph; this pertains to the four layer version.
*If you baked two layers, omit the last three lines.
• Place the two cake layers on their bottoms on a parchment lined flat surface side by side. • Cut both cakes horizontally with a serrated knife.
• Now comes the tricky part. You will need two thin silicone cutting boards to move the layers; the cake layers are now too fragile to move by hand.
• Slide a thin cutting board under the top layer of the first cake and set the top layer aside. • Slide the second silicone cutting board under the remaining half and transfer it to the prepared cake plate. The cut side should face up.
• Spread the top with buttercream.
• Slide the top layer that you set aside from the cutting board and onto the frosted bottom layer. The cut side should face down.
• Spread the top with buttercream.
• Slide the silicone cutting board between the layers of the second cake and lift off the top layer. The cut side should face down.
• Slide the top layer on top of the frosted cake layer.
• Spread the top with buttercream.
• Slide one silicone cutting board under the remaining cake layer and position the second cutting board on the top.
• Quickly flip them over so the bottom of the cake is now on the top and the cut side is on the bottom.
• Slide the last layer onto the frosted layers. To cover the cake with buttercream:
• Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up.
• Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
• Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to it firm up.
• Do not remove the parchment strips from the cake plate yet.
To glaze the cake:
• Slowly pour about 3/4 cup of the glaze over the cake.
• Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges.
• Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze.
• Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake.
• It should run down the edges in thick streams. You should be able to control the size and length of the streams by the pour.
• Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans.
• Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until glaze is set.
• Pull the parchment out from under the cake.
• Pour chocolate sprinkles along the base to cover up uneven icing.
• Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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