There’s not many people I know who hate chocolate. Whether used in desserts or breakfast, it’s one of those special treats that can be extremely versatile and very delicious. So coincidentally enough, when I got my January issue of Food Network Magazine, this month’s Fun Cooking featured “A Year of Chocolate.” I think I instantly gained five pounds just looking at the array of chocolate goodies each month had to offer. From mousses to bread puddings, parfaits to pies, my mouth was instantly watering and my hands were itching to make as many of these recipes as possible. Challenge accepted! Lately, it seems I’ve been succumbing to one challenge after the next, what with my 2015 Reading Challenge and all (see Taking a Page from ‘Julie and Julia’ for more details). Nevertheless, if it must be a challenge at least its a chocolate one. Our first recipe for the month of January features a behemoth of a cake, much like the one Miss Truchbull made poor Bruce stuff his face with (the exception being much more enjoyable, of course). So if your a chocolate lover, such as myself, take a look at how to make your own Blackout Cake with Chocolate Crunch.
● 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
● 1 1/2 cups milk
● 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
● 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
● 1 teaspoon baking soda
● 1 stick butter, room temperature
● 1/2 cup vegetable oil
● 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
● 1/2 cup granulated sugar
● 1 tablespoon almond extract
● 4 large eggs
● 24 ounces semisweet chocolate (used chocolate chips)
● 1/3 cup corn syrup
● 1 table spoon almond extract
● 2 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
● 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. The Cake Part I. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees before beginning anything else. While that’s heating up, chop the semisweet chocolate into small to medium sized chunks before combining it in a bowl with the milk and 1/2 cup water. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook in 30 minute increments, stirring after each round. Continue this process until the chocolate has melted. Whisk the remaining liquid to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and set aside to cool.
2. The Cake Part II. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together, including the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and mix together until everything is well incorporated. Set aside along with the cooled chocolate mixture.
3. The Cake Part III. In an even bigger bowl, beat the butter using a whisk attachment on a hand mixer, or if your lucky to have one, in a stand mixer. Once the butter is creamy enough, add in the vegetable oil, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar and almond extract and beat until combined. Add the eggs, making sure to beat them into the mixture one at a time. Now we can incorporate our ingredients from Part I and II. In three batches, beat the dry ingredient mixture in with the sugar until incorporated. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the melted chocolate. Repeat the process — dry, beat, chocolate, beat — until everything is combined and the batter for the cake has thickened.
4. The Cake Part IV. Finally, pour the batter into two cake pans (8-9 inches round) about 2/3 of the way full. This will give the cakes space to expand once they bake. Place both pans in the oven and cook for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the cakes have risen completely. You’ll know for sure when you put a knife in the middle and it comes out clean (Note: Keep the oven on for this next part). Wait a little for the cakes to cool before taking them out of the pan. Run the knife along the edges before flipping the pans over to make sure the cakes come out intact. Place them on a rack to cool the rest of the way and set aside.
5. The Crust. Once the cakes have cooled completely, take each one and cut in half crosswise. It should look like you have four layers of cake when you’re finished. Set the three layers aside and chop up the fourth layer into small pieces. Place some aluminum foil on a baking sheet and places the crumbled pieces on top. Place the sheet in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for about 20 minutes or until the cake has dried. Set aside to cool before covering with parchment paper and crushing the pieces with the bottom of a sauce pan. My crumbs were so hard I had to use the handle of a knife so whatever gets the job done. Just as long as you have nice, small crumbs you’ll be good to go.
6. The Icing. In a medium-to-large sized, heatproof bowl, combine the semisweet chocolate chips, the corn syrup plus 1/2 cup hot water. Set the mixture over a pot of simmering water and stir the ingredients until all the chocolate is melted. Carefully lift the bowl and pour into a bigger bowl or a stand mixer to cool down. FIY: This was my first time using a “double boiler” method and it was much more fun than I thought it would be. Once the chocolate is cooled down, using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat in the almond extract. Cut up small pieces of the butter, and beat them one tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated. Then add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until the icing is creamy. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until it becomes thickened.
7. The Final Product. Take one layer of the cake (preferably a bottom piece) and place on a large plate or platter. Take a heaping amount of the icing (about 1 cup) and spread on the top until it creates a thick layer. Repeat this process until you get to the top layer (preferably using a top layer piece). Cover the top and sides with the remaining icing, making sure to cover as much of the cake as possible. Once the icing is in place, take the crumbs from the crushed cake layer and press them around the entire cake until the icing is mostly covered. Don’t worry if a few crumbs fall off, just scoop them back up and press into the icing until they stick.
Now you know why I called this a behemoth, not just for its size but the sheer amount of commitment it takes to make this cake. The recipe wasn’t lying when it said total time: four hours. Despite the labor intensive work it takes to finish this cake, though, I must say it is absolutely delicious — just ask my coworkers. Using semisweet chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder in the cake helps tone down the richness of the icing and the chocolate crumble adds a nice texture to the creaminess. So if you have some time on a Sunday afternoon and a go-getter attitude, I guarantee this chocolatey-goodneed recipe won’t disappoint.
To see the original version of this recipe, click here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/blackout-cake-with-chocolate-crunch.html