I’ve really gotten into baking birthday cakes for my family because, seriously, they are way tastier than those store-bought sugar bombs of tastelessness (tell us how you really feel, right?). So I asked my dad what kind of cake he wanted and the first thing he said was “Chocolate!” in his little excited voice that he does. It so happens that for the month of June, the Cake Slice Bakers voted on the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, this cake is a serious chocolate lover’s dream. It’s a chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding covered in chocolate frosting and topped with chocolate cake crumbs. Sounds divine, right? Definitely!
The recipe calls for hot brewed coffee, something I was really apprehensive about since I do not like coffee one bit. I only went along with the coffee thing (only I used instant) because I’ve heard people say that it enhances anything chocolate. Since this was the first time making the cake I just prayed that it would work. And you know what? It did! The cake turned out marvelously. It was so soft and light, yet very chocolatey. So I guess all those people who said coffee enhances chocolate are right because this was the best chocolate cake I’ve had. Even my mom, who is not so keen on chocolate, said it was beautiful.
Now, you may be wondering about that pudding filling, well I didn’t make it. The recipe called for egg yolks and even though you cook the egg yolks while making the pudding, I just wasn’t comfortable with that. Instead, I just filled it with the chocolate frosting. I’ve said many times that I don’t like frosting because they usually are cloyingly sweet, but I find myself liking frosting and glazes bit by bit. As long as I don’t put too much confectioner’s sugar in the batch, and there’s another flavor component like chocolate or peanut butter, frosting is tolerable in small amounts. So if you’re wondering why it looks like I skimped on the frosting, it’s because I did. I halved the recipe in the book and used it to fill and frost, but if you like frosting by all means, double (maybe even triple?) the recipe found below.
To all those fathers out there, I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with everything that makes you happy. For my dad, that meant lounging around in his new pajamas, drinking coffee out of his new Clemson Dad mug, while watching five hours of the US Open. Happy (belated) Birthday and Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you!
(My dad on his 36th Birthday)
Brooklyn Blackout Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book
Makes one two-layer cake
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
½ cup buttermilk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. instant coffee + ½ cup hot water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray (it’s best if you use the kind with flour). Also, grease one cup from a muffin tin (this is so you can cake crumbs to top the cake off with). Set aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl on an electric mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment while slowly pouring in the sugar. Mix until fully combined.
In a medium bowl (preferably one with a spout), whisk together the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. While mixing at low speed, pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure to get the bits at the bottom as well. Beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until well blended. The batter will look very fudgy. Pour in the hot coffee, mixing until it’s fully incorporated. For me the batter turned very liquidy, so don’t panic if yours does. Make sure to scrape all sides and bottom of the bowl.
Remember that one muffin cup? Fill that about 2/3 full. Pour the rest of the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the muffin tin and the cake pan on the middle rack of the oven. The cupcake will take about 12 minutes to cook while the actual cake will take about 20-25 minutes. To be sure, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Let the cake cool in its pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Once it’s cool enough, remove from the pan and let it sit on the rack to cool completely.
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (a.k.a. a double boiler). Heat and stir frequently until the chocolate has completely melted. Take the bowl off the heat and set aside for the chocolate to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the confectioner’s sugar and beat at a low speed. Slowly work up to a higher speed and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more and beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat until well blended and creamy.
To Assemble the Cake
Using a long serrated knife, cut the 9 inch round cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer, cut side up, onto a serving plate. Using a small offset spatula spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the layer. Place the second cake layer, cut side down, on top of the filling. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and around the sides of the cake. Take the reserved cupcake and crumble it up until you get little cake pieces. Sprinkle on top of the frosted cake. Lightly press the crumbs to adhere to the cake.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.