Maybe this blog should be renamed “Sprinkle Bakes Chocolate Cakes“. I’ve had a serious romance with the confection all year. First there was a very special chocolate cupcake recipe for pyromaniacs, soon after came Chocolate Whiskey Cake, then Chocolate Gâteau on the Half Shell, Nigella’s Chocolate-Honey Cake, the proportionally epic PBC4 (as I’ve come to call it), and last week’s post was dedicated to the marriage of chocolate cake and red wine.
I may need an intervention, but like most addicts I don’t want one.
I’ve tasted many, but this chocolate cake may be my favorite, ever! It is indulgently rich with a generous amount of chocolate icing, and in contrast the cake has a light, moist crumb. It is pretty in an unconventional way, which is my favorite kind of pretty. The ingredients are easy enough to put together, but you will need a standing mixer of some sort. Otherwise your hand mixer may bog-down or your arm tire midway through whipping the icing. Oh, the icing!
This was the strangest technique for making icing that I’ve ever encountered. After mixing up the ingredients, the mixture is poured into a 9×13 pan and frozen for a few hours until firm. After freezing it is scooped into a stand mixer (do this as best as you can, it’s like a mini La Brea Tar Pit) and whipped until light and fluffy.
As you can see in the picture above, two cake layers are stacked and frosted…
… and the third cake layer is cut in two pieces horizontally (some of you may know this as “torting” a cake). The halves are then cut into cubes, triangles, rectangles – whatever shape you wish – and then assembled willy-nilly onto the frosted cake. It’s almost impossible to mess up the decorating of this cake. It’s so easy and fun!
Important note: This recipe requires a whopping 3 cups of cocoa powder. That’s more than the 10 oz. container most home bakers have on hand. Be sure to have extra when planning to make this cake.
One more thing! You can tell a lot about a girl by what’s in her purse. Take a peek in mine at That’s What We Said!
Chocolate Quake Cake
Adapted from The Pastry Queen Christmas
Yield: 14 servings [click for printable version]
Note: Make the frosting first, it will need to chill in the freezer for at least two hours.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large saucepan combine the cream and butter and set over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Whisk in the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and corn syrup. Whisk until smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Pour into a 9×13″ pan and freeze until firm, 2-4 hours. While the frosting chills, make the cake layers.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil, or other light tasting oil
4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (again, I used dark cocoa)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and another rack in the upper third. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three round 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Grease parchment paper. Dust pans with flour and knock out the excess over the sink.
- In a large (5 quart at least) saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, water and oil. Cook until butter is melted. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and flour. Pour into the butter mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time then whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in the baking soda and salt. Divide batter among prepared pans (I found this to be about 3 1/2 cups of batter per pan). Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool about 20 minutes in the pans, then turn out on a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Remove frosting from the freezer and scrape out into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat frosting on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Paddle attachment will loosen the frosting enough for whipping. Switch to the whisk attachment and whip 5-7 minutes at high speed, or until frosting has lightened in color and is fluffy.
- Remove parchment paper from cake layers. Spread 1/3 of the frosting on the top of a cake layer and top with a second cake layer. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides. Slice the 3rd layer horizontally into two even layers. Cut each layer into strips, then into various shapes (cubes, triangles, rectangles). Press the cake pieces into the top and sides of the frosted cake until it is completely covered.
*Note: Entire cake may be dusted with 1/4 cup powdered sugar before serving.