Double-Chocolate Fudge Cake
Makes a 9-inch triple-layer cake; serves 14 to 16
What’s a pound of chocolate or so among friends? At the Loveless, we can go through one of these tall beauties in an hour without blinking. Because it’s chocolate and it’s three layers high, it makes a great birthday cake for chocolate lovers. And since it is drip-glazed rather than frosted, you don’t need to be a pastry chef to make it look fantastic.
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sour cream
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the paper.
2. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds to mix. Add the butter, sour cream, and unsweetened chocolate. Continue to beat on low until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl and raise the speed to medium; mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix to blend well. Divide the batter evenly among the pans.
3. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack and let cool completely.
4. To decorate the cake, place one layer bottom side up on a cake stand or dessert platter. Top with 2/3 cup of the Chocolate Glaze, spreading it to the edge of the cake. Set another layer on top and repeat. Set the top layer in place and pour the remaining glaze slowly over the center. Using a spatula, guide the glaze to the edges of the cake as you turn the stand so that the chocolate slowly spills over the sides and drips down the cake.
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Makes about 3 Cups
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup half-and-half
Place the bittersweet chocolate and half-and-half in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on the lowest setting or the defrost setting for 1 minute; stir well. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir again. Repeat, if necessary, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Let cool until tepid; do not refrigerate.
Chocolate scorches if allowed to heat above 120°F. Even if you are careful, melting it over direct heat can easily cause burns in spots. Chocolate also “seizes”—becomes grainy and tough—if it comes in contact with even a few drops of water. For these reasons, a double boiler is ideal for melting chocolate, because water in the bottom container tempers the heat of the stove while the top container shields the chocolate from any moisture. If you don’t have a double boiler, set a stainless-steel mixing bowl over, not directly touching, a pan of water that is just below a simmer over low heat. The warm bowl keeps the melted chocolate fluid while you add other ingredients and make your batter or frosting.
A microwave is not as reliable for melting because the heat is very uneven and power varies from model to model, making it easy to burn the chocolate in spots. That said, we recommend using a microwave for melting either very small amounts of chocolate or larger quantities with a substantial amount of liquid, such as cream or half-and-half. Place the chocolate and liquid, if using, in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on the lowest setting or the defrost setting for 30 seconds for very small amounts (2 ounces or less) or 45 to 60 seconds for larger amounts; stir well. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir again. Repeat, if necessary, until the mixture is melted, shiny, and satiny smooth.
Excerpted from Desserts From the Famous Loveless Café by Alisa Huntsman (Artisan Books)