This cake didn't take forever to make, it only looks like it did!
M requested this chocolate truffle cake for his birthday. I renamed it Dark Chocolate Blackout Cake. I didn't know that it was going to end up having four layers, using pounds of chocolate, and weighing as much as a small child. But I am glad to know. This cake is heavenly.
The cake batter is very liquidy, but I promise it turns out so right. That liquid is what makes every layer practically oozing with richness and moisture. I baked two rounds of cake, then carefully sliced each round into two thinner rounds. The four layers were then sandwiched with a double recipe of thick dark chocolate truffle.
But I wanted my cake to have a perfectly smooth exterior. Check out all those layers above, looking like tiny chocolate shelves. I would need to fill them in. The extra truffle came in handy -- it was like working with the most decadent molding clay. I used it to fill in all the nooks and crannies until each level was even on the outside with the next.
Finally, the whole cake was enveloped in a thick dark chocolate ganache and spread evenly until smooth.
The entire cake was placed in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
When it came out, that ganache was not going to budge. Perfect.
I stared at it -- it was huge. There would simply be no way that M and I could take on this cake alone. So I invited all our friends over instead. It was way more fun and tasty that way!
I definitely can't wait until another birthday rolls around, because this birthday blackout cake is at the top of my list. It's impressive, unbelievably decadent, and completely baker-friendly (all levels, I swear). Now we're enjoying the small quarter cake that was left over. I've been getting a little crazy with my slices. One I drizzled with warm peanut butter and another I topped with gelato, but believe me, this cake needs nothing but a fork!
Dark Chocolate Blackout Cake: adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts
For the cake:
4 oz. dark chocolate8 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 sticks butter, room temp
2.5 cups water
2 t. vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
For the truffle layers:
8 oz. baking chocolate
4.5 cups confectioners' sugar
12 T. butter, room temp.
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
For the ganache:
8 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
Grease two 9" round cake pans and preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan over low heat, heat the dark and baking chocolate, 1 cup butter, and 2.5 cups water, stirring often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while you combine the rest of the cake ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the warm chocolate mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add this gradually to the chocolate mixture, beating until it is smooth and well blended.
Pour batter into cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pans and cool completely on the rack. Meanwhile prep truffle mixture. Over low heat, melt 8 oz. baking chocolate, stirring frequently until melted. Cool slightly, then stir in the butter, confectioners' sugar, and whipping cream until it is smooth and well blended. Reserve about 1/2 cup truffle mixture in a separate bowl.
Next, make sure your cake is completely cool. Then carefully run a knife around the outer edge of each of the cake layers, as centered as possible, to mark the path of the cut -- each layer will be cut into two thinner layers. Then, gently use a sawing motion to begin to slice through the center of each cake layer. Carefully remove the layers from each other and set aside. You should have four approximately 3/4-1" cake layers.
Place wax paper over your cake dish, then carefully place your bottom cake layer on top. Spread 1/3 of the truffle mixture from the main pan (not reserved) over the cake layer, smoothing gently, but firmly, and pressing down to make it go to the outer edges. Place another cake layer over this, and repeat until there are 3 layers of truffle and 4 layers of cake assembled. Now, use the reserved 1/2 cup truffle to spread around the outside portion of the cake layers where they do not meet up flush with eachother, as in the photo above. Smooth as well as possible.
Prepare the ganache. Heat the dark chocolate and heavy cream, stirring until melted, smooth, and thick. Pour over the top of the cake and smooth all around the outer edges, until cake is smooth and completely covered. Place in refrigerator until glaze is set, about 30 minutes. Decorate as desired.