Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A very whimsical chocolate cake

Few months ago I've taught a cake class - at the Viking Cooking School in the Woodlands - and this luscious chocolate cake was the king of the class. Three layers of chocolate cake frosted with chocolate buttercream. What else do you want from life?!? If you want to have more fun, just add few touches with rolled fondant!

chocolate cake (5)

Cake:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting cake pans
2 cups boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
2½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, brought to room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

chocolate cake
Chocolate Frosting:
1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 pinch fine salt
½ cup half-and-half
2 sticks unsalted butter cut into cubes
2½ cups confectioners' sugar


For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside until needed.
Whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until completely combined; set aside to cool to room temperature.
In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until light in color,about 5 minutes.
At low speed, add one-quarter of the flour mixture to the butter mixture followed by one third of the cooled cocoa mixture; repeat until all of the ingredients are well combined.
Divide the batter evenly between three, 9-inch, round, buttered and cocoa-dusted cake pans.
Bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched and the sides begin to shrink away from the pan, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes; unmold onto wire racks, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

For the Frosting: In the top of a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate with the salt and half-and-half; cool for about 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add the butter, 1 cube at a time, beating until fully incorporated. When the
mixture is smooth, increase the speed and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, ½ cup at a time; continue mixing on high speed until doubled in volume, about 5 to 7 minutes.


To Assemble: With a cake knife, trim the top of each layer. Place 1 layer on a cardboard cake round, and spread with a thin layer of frosting. Add the second and third layer, frosting each. Using an offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake generously. If you want, cover with rolled fondant and make decoration with it.

Recipe adapted from the Viking cooking school, The Woodlands.

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