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Black Magic Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

well…i can now cross the important DOUBLE LAYER CAKE off of my “bucket list”.

believe it or not…i have never made a double layer cake from scratch.  i HAVE, of course, made a box cake or two back in the high school days, but fear of the ugly dry crumbly lopsided cake syndrome must have kept me from trying again.
THIS ONE IS A SUCCESS
on so many levels…
pardon the poor pun !
i was complimented by many and must agree…
this is the best chocolate cake i have EVER tasted.

BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER!

aka Ina Garten’s Aunt Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
BUT … many thanks to FOODESS.COM for the introduction with her delicious photos

with 70% GUITTARD WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING
WITH A LITTLE KICK OF CHIPOTLE

FOR THE CAKE…

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa…i used Guittard
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk.  (i substituted with 1 TBSP white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest of the cup with milk…let stand 5 minutes)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup hot coffee

preheat oven to 350 F.  grease and flour two 9 inch baking pans.  i lined the bottom with a parchment round, buttered the round and floured the sides.
in a large bowl of stand mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat until smooth…about 3 minutes.  remove bowl and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula…NOTE…batter will be very runny.
pour batter evenly into the two prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  i rotated the pans after 15 minutes.  even cooking is key to an even cake.  start to watch after 25 minutes.  the toothpick should come out clean WITH A FEW MOIST CRUMBS.
allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edges and flip cakes out on to a wire rack.  cool completely before handling and frosting.
NOTE…i made the cake the day ahead and kept it in the fridge.  this makes it A LOT easier to handle…this is one VERY moist cake.

FOR THE WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING…

14 oz Guittard 70% bittersweet coverture chocolate discs
14 oz heavy cream
4 tsp light corn syrup
1 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce (from the can)… split open
NOTE…this amount was correct for this 2 layer cake.  i had about 1/2 cup of delicious ganache left over.

heat heavy cream, and corn syrup (and chipotle, if using) in a small sauce pan.  bring to a boil, remove from heat and pour directly into and over the chocolate.  if you used chipotle you must pour through a strainer.  allow to sit for 1 minute.  start to gently stir from the middle.  take your time.  you will see it magically come together with a beautiful shine.  stir until you have it all incorporated.  let sit on the counter for at least 45 minutes.  you are looking for a pudding consistency and ABOUT 70 DEGREES.  if you need to speed it up, refrigerate and stir every 10 minutes until pudding consistency.  put this in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment.  start slowly and move the speed up to high.  you will see that it forms soft peaks after one minute.  keep a close eye so you DON’T OVER WHIP.  watch it until it gets just a bit more firm.  ice the cake immediately after making.  it will begin to seize up if you take too long.  i found some great visuals at Joe Pastry.com so please check out his helpful photos for the correct consistency.

i have made this cake twice already with rave reviews.  the second was served last night for my bestest friend Carol’s B-Day.  i found that the cake travels well.  don’t worry that the frosting seems stiff.  keep it at room temperature and it will slice like a dream with a sharp knife.  clean the blade between slices.  i think i fed 16-18 pieces…

NOTES FROM NOVICE LAYER CAKE BAKER….this is a fabulous cake to start with…dense and super moist.  handle with care.  bake the cake the day before and refrigerate.  work with cold cake so it is much easier to handle.
remove parchment round from bottom of cake and put bare bottom cake on flat coated card board round made for a 9″ cake.
elevate the cake off your work surface for easier frosting application.
don’t be too skimpy on the middle frosting layer…check thickness by sticking your finger in.  you want a good 1/3 inch.
try to get your top swirl right fairly quickly because the ganache will start to stiffen and you can’t go back and fix it.
work on your smooth sides after you have your swirls done.  don’t be skimpy on the sides either.  as your knife goes around make sure you do not see “cake” peeking through.
don’t worry if your top doesn’t look “bakery professional”.  
THE TASTE TEXTURE AND CHOCOLATE WOW FACTOR WILL DISGUISE ALL MISTAKES.
besides…you can always hide things with chocolate shavings, fresh berries and such.


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