Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cake Slice Bakers - June 2012: Brooklyn Blackout Cake

This is a late post for Father’s Day, but also a late post for a birthday. My dad was born close enough on Father’s Day that every so often his birthday falls on Father’s Day – that was the case this year.

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

Cake Ingredients
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.

Frosting Ingredients
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.


  1. Your cake looks great. I served mine for Fathers day too and everything loved it. I agree with you about frostings, usually I scrape half on mine off as I don't like things too sweet.
    Sure your family loved it

  2. YUM! It was the perfect "Father's Day Cake" wasn't it? :) I think it turned out for everybody! definitely a keeper! Loved it!

    I still feel like you missed out on this cake by not using the pudding... it was so yummy :( If you eat ice cream then it's pretty much the same with the egg yolks... but it's better that you didn't use it if you just don't feel comfortable with it... -sigh- sooo good though! lovely pictures!

  3. Becca!

    Yours look decadent! You did a good job!

    For mine, I made the pudding but not the frosting though!

  4. I didn't make the pudding filling either--and I think it simplified the cake a lot. Yours looks wonderful, and I'm sure your dad loved it!

  5. Yay!! Happy birthday to your daddy! Your cake looks great!

  6. You're so sweet. Happy father's day and birthday to your Day! Your cake looks great even without the pudding :-)

  7. What a great daughter you are! Looks like it turned out great!

  8. I totally agree with you! Store bought cake are horrible, especially the ones on the shelves! Supermarket bakeries have their unfrosted cakes shipped frozen,and their butter cream is pre-made! I bought a carrot cake last year from a very popular high end bakery, and the cake was horrible! Super dry and overly sweet! Never again! There is nothing like a homemade cake, even if its a boxed cake, it totally beats store bought!

  9. Looks good and yummy! Homemade cakes really do taste better than ready-made ones. Not to mention a great way to bring a personal touch to any special event.


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