Friday, November 02, 2007

Sinfully Chocolate

One of my co-workers is half a hundred, so I made half a cake to help her celebrate. Since Sweetie and I had to make sure that it wasn't poisoned, the birthday celebration included less than half a cake, but it was a spectacular cake nonetheless.

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 get the creative. You can see in the photo below how lovely the crumb was almost falling 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.


  1. That cake looks decidedly decadent Elle. And of course you have to check - and double check, and maybe triple check as well - that you won't be poisoning anyone :)

  2. Ooh, that definitely looks sinful! You're right, even the batter looks decadent; it looks like frosting! I love chocolate and may have to try this one.

  3. Sin City indeed. That looks absolutely decadent.

  4. Elle, what a wicked cake!!! I wish I could drop by for a cuppa and a chit chat with ya! ;)

  5. Inne, Oh, never thought of more vigilate time :)

    Beth, Do try it. Even just the cake and a drizzle of chocolate sauce would be delightful.

    Peabody, It was decadent.

    Anh, Wish I could have you and Peabody and Beth and Inne and share a matching cake and some tea and talk...that would be great fun.

  6. Oh my. I could dive head first right into that batter. It looks!

  7. Half a cake? That is awesome. I'm 35, I will take a third of that awesome dessert.

  8. Yum!! You are killing me - my husband and I are trying to cut back on sugar, but this cake is very tempting!!

  9. Brittany,Hadn't thought of it that way, but, yeah sexy works.

    Cheryl, 1/3 is still a BIG piece :)

    Deborah, I should be too, but I wanted to make something special for A's 50th.

  10. Anonymous2:42 AM

    This cake stopped me in my tracks. Looks so delicious! Hope you are well :)

  11. It does look v-e-r-y sinful. I love the idea of a half a hundred cake. ;)

  12. Fifty sounds ok, but half a hundred sounds really ancient! I'll have to remember that one ;) Great cake.

  13. Maryanne, It was delicious and drop dead stunning. I'm overcommitted, but well. Very soon will have some just breathe time.

    Annemarie, *Grin* So do I.

    Kelly-Jane, WIth folks living well into their 90's and beyond, I think of half a hundred as another 40-50 years to have not so ancient, really.

  14. So, here I am, catching up on the blogs I've missed the past week and craving chocolate and who's blog do I go to first because I KNOW there has be chocolate here somewhere??!!

    Elle, I am so close to licking my screen it isn't funny...

    Thanks for the chocolate fix!

  15. That's a cake I would wake up for in the middle of the night, curl up on the couch and eat, then pass out from being so full! Love it!

  16. Mary, Glad to be of the chocolate. Now wipe off that screen. :)

    Valerie, Ooh, loved the visual...the couch, the cake, the contentment.

  17. Anonymous5:59 AM

    Oh my gosh...that cake does look sinful! Wow!