chocolate chocolate cake

Hello blog! It’s been a long while since I’ve baked something worth posting and I must say this cake is definitely definitely worth looking at AND eating!  I’ve been working on signature cupcakes that I can focus on if I’m going to really get serious about this business because I want to work with Great American Bake Sale. I’m starting to get my “blue prints” set and ready for brochures and advertising and God willing, I’ll be able to talk to people and get things moving! If anyone has ever worked with Great American Bake Sale and started a home baking business please feel free to send me emails and comments on tips and any valuable info I can use! I’d greatly appreciate it!

Here’s my rendition of Blackout Black Forest Chocolate Cake. (I know long name and confusing. I will explain) I call it:

“The cheater”

I was curious about Black Forest Cakes and as I researched recipes I realized (I had no idea black forest was pretty much all about cherries) I would have to use cherries and kirsch liqueur. I don’t like cherries and could not stand to bake anything with cherries in it so I figured why not strawberries? It takes away from the original Black Forest idea but hey why bake something you won’t eat? So I pretty much followed a Brooklyn Blackout Cake recipe  from “Chocolate Cakes” By Elinor Klivans and used the black forest cherry filling idea and substituted cherries with strawberries. I also made half the batter into 12 cupcakes and baked a small 6 inch triple layer cake with the rest. Are you confused yet? Here’s the recipe and instructions :)

P.s: I’ve made a lot of “mess ups” with my baking and have learned the importance of specifics and the science in baking. First and foremost: room temperature everything!  Second, don’t pack or pat down your dry ingredients when measuring (i.e flour) if you have a baking scale..treasure it! The only dry ingredient good for packing in a measuring cup is brown sugar. (my opinion)

btw.p.s. (lol) I emitted the filling for this recipe and made my whipped cream and Strawberry glaze recipe instead. It is really helpful and more efficient if you prepare each part separately and work on the frosting when the cake’s in the oven already. There’s just so much involved in this cake, you could make one small mistake and it’s all over!

For the cake:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks) at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The baking part:

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-in round cake pans with 1 3/4- to 2-inch sides. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper.
**Like I said for this part I just lined a cupcake pan and two 6 in. round pans because I didn’t want a big cake and I want to perfect cupcakes (thats my business focus).

2. Place the chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk in a heatproof bowl (or the top of a double boiler) and place it over, but not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted, the cocoa powder dissolves, and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and sugar until light in color and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 2 of the eggs and mix until each incorporated. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the cooled chocolate mixture until blended and smooth. Add the flour mixture, mixing just until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

5. Bake just until the tops of the cakes feel firm when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (for my cupcakes it took 25 minutes more or less depending on your oven and the cake starts to pull apart from the sides of the pan and you know it’s done when it levels out. I’m sorry I didn’t keep an eye out on the specific minutes but most of you will probably use the cupcakes or 9 in cake timing so just follow the regular recipe and keep an eye on them every 10 minutes)

6. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Use a small, sharp knife to loosen each cake from the sides of the pan, and invert each cake onto a wire rack. (it’s important that you buttered and put wax or parchment paper on the bottom of the pans before hand so you don’t have a hard time just popping out the cake, this way you may not have to loosen the cake from the sides) Carefully remove the paper and place it loosely on the cake. Let the cake layers cool thoroughly, then discard the paper.

For the frosting
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped ( I used 8 oz semi sweet and 4 oz unsweetened)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lukewarm water, 88°F to 90°F ( I dont have a working thermometer, so I just waited about 10 minutes for the chocolate to cool, used the hot water from double boiler after it cooled at the same time and poured that in.)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used 1 tbs +1 tsp.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl (or the top of a double boiler) and place it over, but not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Check with your fingertips that the temperature of the lukewarm water feels similar to that of the chocolate. (It should be 88°F to 90°F) when measured with an instant-read thermometer.) **view tip from ingredient list**

2. Add the lukewarm water all at once to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until the frosting is smooth. It will thicken slightly when the water is added. Stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it cools and thickens slightly, about 30 minutes.

Orange Liqueur Sugar Syrup:

3 tsp orange liqueur
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Dissolve sugar in water on medium heat and add liqueur off the heat. Set aside. This keeps the cakes moist and adds extra flavor :) Any liqueur you have and like is fine.

Whipped Cream:

1/4 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

With a whisk attachment, beat heavy whipping cream at low then medium speed and wait until the cream is frothy then move up to a medium high speed. Add conf. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. This doesn’t take long. Set whipped cream aside in fridge.

Strawberry Glaze:

1/2 cup strawberries blended and strained into a small bowl
1/2 cup liqueur sugar syrup

*1/2 cup sliced strawberries set aside

I blended the 1/2 cup of strawberries and strained them into a bowl and this takes the extra seeds out and keeps the glaze smooth. I added the syrup and stirred until combined. Make this glaze after the frosting and set it aside until the cakes are cooled.

My version of frosting the cake:
1. Wrap cooled cakes in plastic wrap and cool in fridge for 15 minutes or so.

2. After cooling, use a long serrated knife, cut the cake layer horizontally into two even layers, leaving the layers in place. Carefully slip the removable bottom of a tart pan or spring-form pan between the layers, lift the top layer, and set aside.

3. Brush bottom and top of cakes with liqueur glaze.

4. After the frosting has cooled, it should be a thick texture (very spreadable) take a piping bag or zip lock bag and cut 1/2 inch from tip to make an open tip. Fill the bag with a big dallop of frosting. squeeze the frosting around the top of the cake making a dam. This is to secure the whipped cream in the middle.

5. Scoop 1/4 cup of whipped cream in the middle of the cake inside the chocolate frosting border and spread evenly on top. Top this with strawberries that were sliced earlier.

6. Carefully slide the top half of the cake layer on top of the filling, centering it over the bottom layer. You can crumb coat this with the frosting and Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes to firm the cake and filling. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the chilled cake leaving another dam and space on the top for the whipped cream and strawberries. You can also repeat steps 4 and 5 for a three layer cake.