Friday, September 9, 2011

autumn and triple chocolate cake

And there you have it.  With the flip of a calendar page and the passing of a few days, summer's heat has evaporated like dew in the morning sun. 

I've noticed in the land of blogosphere there are many who are embracing this cooler autumn weather and joyfully baking all things pumpkin and apple. But not me.  Nope, I'd rather bake a cake.  Growing up I remember every Sunday my mom or dad would bake a banana walnut snackin cake.  Remember these?  So good! 

I made this triple chocolate cake for a labour day get-together this past weekend.  It was incrediby moist  and not over the top sweet like so many cakes can be.  It's layered with dark chocolate pudding and dark chocolate buttercream.  So, no pumpkin or apple desserts for me. Not just yet.  I'll pass for now and just eat cake. 

Triple Chocolate Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

Chocolate Filling
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet/semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk the yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture in the saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until completely melted.  

Pass the filling through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.  

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
1 2/3 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place the chocolate in a double broiler. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add confectioners sugar and beat at med-high speed for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until well blended and creamy, about 1 minute.

Assemble the cake
Using a long serrated knife, cut each later in half horizontally, to make four layers. 
Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the filling over this layer. Repeat with two more layers. Top with fourth layer cake, smooth side up.

Using a flat spatula, frost the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat. Refridgerate for about an hour. Frost cake with a final coat and top with grated chocolate.

This may all seem a tad labour intensive, but this cake is worth the effort. Enjoy!

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