Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Celebrating the Blogoversary with a Chocolate Cake and a Guest


Here it is, the promised second post celebrating my blogoversary. As mentioned, this post was going to be a little different: It is my first posting by a guest blogger! The guest is my good friend, and frequent assisster, Jess, who kindly volunteered to make this cake for me to celebrate. And Jess, I can tell you, people were not just being polite, this is a truly excellent cake! Thanks again for making it for me, and for all the assistance you've given me on the various recipes throughout this blog.

When amicus cupake mentioned to me that his blog was coming up on its first anniversary and that the anniversary would coincide with the 100th post on his blog, I begged him to allow me to make a cake to celebrate.  Ever since this blog started he has made the desert for every party that I can remember.  This is wonderful, as his deserts are always divine, but it is also sad because it means I seldom get the chance to bake for anyone.  Accordingly, when this anniversary rolled around, I saw my opportunity and I seized it.  The cake was served to amicus and a group of friends after we tried out a new dinner spot.  The combination of friends, food, and cake made for an excellent evening.

In deciding what to make I knew I needed something that is celebratory (chocolate), something to please a crowd (chocolate), and something that amicus would enjoy (chocolate).  When I hit on a recipe for Chocolate Crunch Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting on epicurious.com, I knew I was on the right track.  I really didn’t make any modification to the recipe, except that I prepared the dry and the wet ingredients before I melted the chocolate and that I greased the pans with Pam rather than bothering with waxed paper and butter.  The cake seemed to be a hit, or at least everyone was very polite!  

Cake

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar 
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound milk chocolate, chopped

Assembly

  • 4 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath Bars or Skor), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate (I used one large Heresy’s bar and one normal sized bar)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 3/4-inch-high sides.  Combine chocolate and 1/2 cup hot water in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm, stirring often.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla extract. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating just to blend after each addition. Divide batter equally between pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake just begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off waxed paper. Cool cakes completely.

Combine cream, corn syrup and butter in heavy large saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Add chopped chocolate. Reduce heat to low and whisk until frosting is smooth, about 1 minute; transfer to large bowl.

Fill another large bowl with ice. Set bottom of bowl with frosting atop ice. Whisk until frosting is cool and begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Place bowl of frosting on work surface. Using electric mixer, beat until color lightens and just until frosting becomes thick enough to hold peaks when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (frosting will continue to thicken as it stands).

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on 8-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round. If desired, place pan bottom with cake atop 8-inch-diameter cake pan to make simple decorating stand. Top layer with 1 1/2 cups frosting, spreading to edge. Sprinkle evenly with diced toffee. Top with second cake layer, flat side down; press slightly to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake to seal and set crumbs. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake (if frosting becomes stiff, stir gently with spatula to loosen).

Stand chocolate bar on 1 short end. Using vegetable peeler and starting at top edge of 1 side, run peeler down length of bar (chocolate will come away from side of chocolate bar in curls). Pile chocolate curls atop cake. Chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.) 

1 comment:

Catherine Huarat said...

Looks like a wonderful cake. Can't wait to try it myself.