Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Happy Birthday, El Hub!

When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday meal (celebrated a couple days after his birthday), he predictably chose pasta and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  I had visions of all the various flavor combinations of cupcakes I've "pinned" to try (yes, I've joined Pinterest--completely addicting!)  But he wanted to keep it simple.

Actually, it was a challenge for me to find a good-sounding chocolate cake since I'm really not a good judge of chocolate.  However, I have been known to eat my fair share of the boxed versions of devil's food cake, so when I found this recipe, I stopped looking.  Making a cake from scratch is no harder than making cupcakes from scratch, and I found myself not really relying on the recipe for the order of ingredients, but using it just for the measurements.  I guess all my "practicing" is starting to pay off!  I have never officially made ganache before, and I was a bit skeptical of adding the liquid to the chocolate (usually that results in my chocolate seizing up, which in turn results in a culinary temper tantrum, if you know what I mean!).  But this worked!  Score!

So, Happy Birthday, dear hubby!  I love you bunches!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Adapted from David Lebovitz

9 tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. good quality cinnamon
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray two 9″ x 2″ cake pans and dust with flour.

Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Scrap down sides of bowl as needed.

Mix together the coffee, vanilla extract and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee mixture. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Ganache Frosting:
10 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Place a heatproof glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Add the chopped chocolate and milk and heat until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.  Off heat; remove bowl from pan and whisk in sliced butter until completely melted.  Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together cream, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form and cream looks creamy.

To Frost Cake:
Use a knife to loosen the edges of the cakes; turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Place one cake onto desired cake plate (for serving) and top with a good amount of frosting.  Layer an even amount of whipped cream over the ganache.  Place second cake on top and spread icing over top and sides of cake.  Accent top of cake with any leftover whipped cream, if desired.  Cover with a cake dome until ready to serve.

Cake is best when served the same day it is baked, but will keep nicely at room temperature under a cake dome.

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