Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Finally "Home"

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  As you are reading this post I'm probably cleaning the Armageddon that probably is my kitchen at this point, and frantically trying to pack up all the food for the arduous 15 minute drive to my grandma's house for dinner.  And no, I don't have a Thanksgiving related recipe to post on Thanksgiving because frankly I think that's f*cking horsesh!t- this blog follows what I actually want to cook, and there is no way in hell I'm going to roast a turkey the week before Thanksgiving just so I can blog about it before Thanksgiving actually happens. 

And while I'm ranting, I might as well make a quibble about that misconception of "I will never achieve good lighting on my photos."  Learning about lighting is difficult, yes, but don't be one of those people who think that it's impossible (though if you only have time to cook/shoot at night I'm at a loss in that area).  See below:

now what's behind this chair


These shenanigans are happening in a college dorm for pete's sake!  But basically, the same exact setup as at home.

And one important note- cloudy days are your best friends.  Why?  Because clouds act as nature's diffuser!  Clouds, well diffuse the harshness of sunlight and casts a soft, even light across your food!  So while summer sunlight may be nice, don't think that it's the only season when you can get good shots.  In fact, being the lazy ass that I am I wish everyday could be cloudy!

Now food composition however, that's a whole other story- an area that I have absolutely no skill or expertise at.


I say finally "home" in the sense that well, I'm sitting here in the room I grew up in petting my chihuahua and blissfully enjoying the things Little Saigon has to offer for the Thanksgiving weekend, but also I'm "home" in the sense that I finally feel at home at college.  I know, I've blogged about this to death, but I do really feel at ease when I walk into the apartment!  I think it's the combination of knowing I can keep up blogging now that I've found a good light setup, and the fact that I've been inspired to cook slightly more, including baking a chocolate birthday cake.


Man, is this cake decadent.  I could feel the diabetes coming on as the rich mass of chocolate slid down my gullet, yet at the same time I couldn't help grabbing another bite.  The cake itself is luxuriantly moist to the point of being a brownie, while the pudding and frosting work together to transcribe your perfect idea of a chocolate cake into a reality.  Kudos, to the sick bastard who came up with the recipe which will single handedly clog my arteries.


2 glasses of milk required

Chocolate Blackout Cake

adapted from Sunday Nite Dinner

1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa (preferable Dutch processed)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Classic Chocolate Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour pans, shaking out the excess.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.  In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vegetable oil. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the coffee and vanilla to form a thin batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.  When cool, split each cake in half with a serrated slicing knife.  Assemble the cake, with a layer of pudding between each layer of cake.  Frost the outside with chocolate frosting, and store in the refrigerator.  Serve cold.

Makes 12 servings

for the frosting
adapted from All Recipes

2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder
1/2 cup of hot milk
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 pound of powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/4 cups of cocoa powder, sifted
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee into the hot milk.  Let cool to room temperature.  In a stand mixer cream together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  Slowly drizzle in the milk and coffee mixture until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

Note: this frosting hardens in the refrigerator so either use immediately or bring it to room temperature before frosting the cake.

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