This cake is the one I promised you, after tantalizing you with that photo of the batter on the paddle with lots of bittersweet chocolate all over it. Make it for a special day, make it for someone you care for, make it to cheer yourself up, or for no good reason other than the need to have a rich, fudgy, very chocolate cake with hints of fruit and cream. Even the batter looks decadent.
This recipe is based upon one in the book Chocolate Cake by Michele Urvater. This book has bunches of great chocolate cake recipes, plus icings, sauces, decorations...the works! As usual, I played around a bit with the recipe (details can be found after the recipe) but I'm sure it would be great as written, too. It was even better the next day, chilled, but do keep it closely wrapped to keep that moist, dense crumb.
The recipe in the book didn't include the jelly and fruit and whipped cream additions. You can use poached apple or pear for this, or even fresh raspberries or strawberry slices, but I'd use strawberry jam in that case. Instead of the jelly you could use apple butter with apple slices...you get the idea...be creative. You can see in the photo below how lovely the crumb was...it was almost falling apart...in a good way.Sin City Cake
2 ½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (1 pound) superfine sugar
4 large eggs
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups water or regular coffee
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
Raspberry or current jelly – about 6-8 ounces
Poached fruit, sliced thin – pears work well
For the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour three 9 x 1.5-inch round cake pans, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms with parchment or greased and floured waxed paper circles. (Note from Elle: If you combine some cocoa with the flour for dusting the pans, your cake will have a nice chocolate edge to it.)
Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice, and set it aside.
With an electric mixer on low speed (or with a stationary mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter for 1 minute, or until light. Slowly add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and when all of it has been added, continue to beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down the beaters and sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look like fluffy wet sand.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds between additions, or until absorbed by the butter. Add the chocolate, scrape down the beaters and sides of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute longer, or until light and smooth.
With a large rubber spatula, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter in four additions, alternating with the water (or coffee) in three additions. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, or until the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, smooth the tops with a rubber or small offset spatula, and rap the pans sharply on the counter to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out dry.
Remove the cakes from the oven and cool them to room temperature in their pans on a wire rack. Unmold, peel off the paper circles, and frost when the cakes are cool. Serves 16.
For the Ganache
Set the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl.
Pour on the cream and mix well.
At half power in the microwave, heat the mixture for a minute. Stir well. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache stand and come to room temperature before using.
Elle’s notes: As usual I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.
I cut the recipe in half (because with cake this rich, who needs a full recipe?) and baked it as one layer in a 9 inch spring form pan. After it had cooled, I cut that layer in half horizontally with a long serrated knife. I took off the top layer and set it aside. When I was ready to frost the cake, I spread raspberry jelly on the cut layer, added some poached fruit, sliced very thin, then put the other layer on top. I used the same knife to cut the cake in half to make two half moons. I beat up some whipping cream with a little sugar, spread that on one of the half moons, then topped it with the other half moon. So you had cake layer, jelly and fruit, cake layer, whipped cream, cake layer, jelly and fruit, cake layer, just half a cake instead of a full round.
Then I made the ganache and let it cool until it was thick enough to spread. Although the cake listed slightly since I can’t make a horizontal cut to save my soul, the ganache covered a multitude of sins and the cake as a whole lived up to it’s name…very dense and fudgy, sweet from the chocolate ganache and rich, too. The fruit and heavy dairy flavor from the whipped cream helped tone down the sweetness a bit but the jelly added to it . Still, it was a delicious cake and the piece I took to my boss had him on a real sugar high since he usually does not eat things that are sweet, rich, or so chocolate. I made the cake so that I could do a little birthday party for my co-worker who will be leaving soon. She seemed pleased. She is a sweet person, so a sweet cake seemed just right.