Finally, JUST a chocolate cake. A rich, plain old chocolate cake, using many of the same ingredients and techniques that are used in my instructables Raspberry Chocolate Cake and Harry Potter’s Birthday Cake
I learned a lot from Jen Wold’s Cake Decorating Class on Instructables, and really recommend it to any beginner cake makers (like me) who like to make cake, and want to learn how.
(For Cake Batter, Makes three 6-inch round cakes)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup coffee, hot
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
4 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
½ cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ⅓ cup chocolate chips (a bit more than 8 oz of baking chocolate)
⅔ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon corn syrup
Butter and flour three 6-inch cake pans, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If you only have two 6-inch cake pans, don’t worry. You can bake two cakes, then take them out, and use the same one to bake in again, with the reserved batter.
Over a saucepan filled a bit with simmering water, in a medium bowl, pour the hot coffee. Stir in chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and stir until chocolate is melted. Stir ½ cup of sugar until it is creamy and dissolved, a couple minutes. Mix oil in well. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
To substitute buttermilk, if you don’t have it: in a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Fill the rest of the cup up with milk and let sit for a few minutes. Combine this, or buttermilk, in a medium bowl with vanilla.
In a stand mixer, whip all the eggs, and the remaining 1 ¼ cup of sugar on high for a few minutes, until fluffy and light. Stir in the chocolate mixture and softened butter until completely combined.
Add a bit of the flour mixture, and a bit of the buttermilk mixture alternately into the sugar mixture in the stand mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until combined, no more, no less.
Pour the batter in equal shares into the prepared cake pans, (if you only have two 6-inch pans, then pour 2/3 of the batter into the two of them, and reserve the other third for when the next pan is out of the oven).
Bake in preheated oven for at least 25 minutes, checking to see if done after 25 minute period. Doneness is reached when toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs.
If you only had two 6-inch cake pans, now’s the time to bake that other cake real quick, and you’re done with the cakes!
When done, flip cakes over, still in their pans onto cooling rack, peel off the parchment paper. Then flip right side up on the racks and let cool completely before frosting, a couple hours. Then with a large serrated knife, level the tops of the cakes off, so you have a nice even surface, and a nice even cake, and not the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Heat heavy cream and butter in saucepan on medium heat until it just begins to boil. Make sure butter is melted. Return heat to low, and stir in corn syrup, and sugar, until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla.
Pour hot mixture over chocolate chips in a medium metal bowl, and stir until chocolate is melted. Place chocolate mixture in bowl in a ice bath, and stir until frosting hardens a bit. Take out of ice bath and whip with a beater until it is light and fluffy.
Now’s the time to ‘decorate’ the cake, or just frost it. As I mentioned before, there is a great class on Instructables making a great cake, particularly the decorating. See that class here.
It was a really helpful class, and here’s my own instructions on how to ice the cake:
If you haven’t yet, level the rounded tops of the cake layers so that they are flat, with a knife.
Start with the first layer of cake.
Put some of the frosting on top of the center. With your knife angled outwards, turn the cake platter, and push the frosting gradually out, until there is a smooth circle of frosting on the top of the cake.
If you want to, as I did, you can smash some fruit like strawberries, or raspberries in between layers, as in picture.
Place the second layer on top of it. Repeat the process as described above.
Then put on the last layer of cake. Then ice the rest of the cake, sides, and top, making sure to reserve a good bit of icing for going over the cake again. The first layer you just put on is the ‘crumb’ layer, and after cooling it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, you should have a nice solid cake to put the last layer of ganache on.
A cake frosting knife as shown in pic is very helpful in this situation. After applying the final layer of ganache, refrigerate for another 20 + minutes, and then take out of fridge.
Now, if you want to, you can do something extra that will probably make your cake look smoother and nicer.
Run your cake knife over really really hot water for about fifteen seconds, then quickly dry it with a paper towel, and run the hot knife smoothly over the cold ganache. Repeat this a few times until you have a smooth frosting.
Store in fridge, completely plastic wrapped to keep it from drying out.
To see full step-by-step pictures for this recipe, go to my original post on instructables.