If you don't know, a Blackout Cake is layers of dark chocolate
cake with dark chocolate frosting; the outside of the frosted
cake is covered with more cake that has been crumbled. This
is a large, rich creation that should handily serve 12 people,
and it's quite dense and moist. Three layers of cake are split
to make six, with the sixth layer crumbled for the outside of
the cake. This manages to look down-home and fancy simultaneously,
and would be a good choice for a party.
The cake layers
are easy, and they may be made a day ahead if you wish, or farther
ahead and frozen. You'll need 9 inch layer pand, and they MUST
be 2 inches deep; you'll also need a candy thermometer for the
frosting. The completed cake will keep in the refrigerator for
a few days, if tightly wrapped, and it can be frozen very successfully
(thaw, still in wrappings, in the refrigerator). Large plates
for serving are a must, and you'll want something to drink with
this, too (milk or coffee both go well).
listed are per layer)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter,
cut into pieces
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated
- 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch
process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg, graded "large", beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 6 ounces good-quality semisweet
- 3 ounces good-quality unsweetened
- 14 Tbsp. unsalted butter,
cut into chunks
- 5 eggs, graded "large"
- 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. granulated
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup pulp-free orange
juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
- 3 Tbsp. water
You'll need three layers, or three times the recipe given. If
you have only two 9 inch layer pans that are 2 inches deep,
you may want to make two layers the night before you assemble
the cake. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350
degrees F. Grease pans with solid vegetable shortening. Line
bottoms with wax paper cut to fit, grease paper, and dust the
entire inside lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Set
In small, heavy-bottomed,
nonreactive pot, combine buttermilk and butter. Place over low
heat, stirring often, until butter is melted. Set aside to cool
flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into medium
bowl. When buttermilk mixture is lukewarm, add it to the beaten
egg and vanilla; with fork, beat to mix well. All at once, add
liquid to sifted dry ingredients. With whisk, stir until dry
ingredients are moistened, then beat briskly until well-mixed
and smooth (a few small lumps are OK). Batter will be thin.
Pour into prepared pan. Holding pan with both hands, tilt slightly
so that batter runs up sides of pan a bit. From a height of
about 3 inches above a flat surface, drop filled pan three times
(this helps to distribute air bubbles evenly--don't hold the
pan too high above the flat surface!).
Bake in preheated
oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center
emerges with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not
overbake. Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes. Gently loosen cake from
edges of pan; invert onto cooling rack. Gently peel wax paper
from bottom of layer, then re-invert to cool right side up.
Cool completely before frosting or storing.
In large, heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolates and butter.
Set over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch
bottom of bowl). Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove
from heat and hot water; set aside near stovetop.
In one quart heavy-bottomed,
nonreactive saucepan, combine eggs, sugar, and salt. By hand,
beat thoroughly to combine well. Add orange juice, then water,
beating to mix after each addition. Cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly, until mixture registers 170 degrees F on a candy
thermometer. Immediately remove from heat.
about one-quarter of hot egg mixture into melted chocolate mixture
and whisk well to combine. Gradually strain remaining hot egg
mixture into chocolate mixture, whisking to mix after each addition.
Scrape sides and bottom of bowl periodically with rubber spatula
to ensure thorough blending. Cool slightly, then chill. Whisk
occasionally until frosting begins to thicken, then scrape bowl
sides and bottom with rubber spatula and whisk frequently until
frosting is of spreading consistency. (Alternatively, place
bowl of frosting into larger, shallower pan half full of ice
and cold water. Whisk frequently; scrape bottom and sides of
bowl often. This method is much quicker, but the frosting must
be watched carefully, as it can harden before you know it.)
When ready, frosting will have thickened considerably, and it
will hold soft peaks (just like a meringue or whipped cream)
when the whisk is lifted from it.
while frosting chills (beforehand, if you're using the quick-chilling
ice-and- water method), prepare the cake layers, as they should
be ready for assembly when the frosting is. If necessary, trim
tops of layers so they are flat. Using a large, sharp, serrated
knife, carefully halve each layer horizontally (this will give
you six thin layers). Use one thin layer, the top half of one
of the original three you baked, to make the crumbs for the
outside of the cake. To do this, pull the thin layer into very
small pieces with a fork and/or your fingers (because the cake
is so dense and moist, the resulting small pieces will look
better than they would if you tried to actually crumble the
cake). Place these very small pieces into a bowl, and cover
airtight. Cover the remaining thin layers so they won't dry
out. Get a serving plate ready; you'll need a plate with a flat
portion in the center at least 9-1/2 inches in diameter.
When the frosting
is ready, place a dab of it in the center of the serving plate.
Place what was originally the top half of one of the three layers
you baked, cut side up, onto the serving plate, on top of the
dab of frosting. Spread about 1/2 cup of the frosting onto the
cut surface, spreading it just to the edges. Place the bottom
half of this original layer, cut side down, on top of the frosting,
and spread it with another 1/2 cup of frosting, just to the
edges. Repeat. At this point, you'll have one thin layer of
cake left, the bottom half of one of the original three you
baked. Place this, cut side down, on top of the cake. Press
gently, and straighten the sides if necessary. Frost sides and
top with remaining frosting.
With your fingers,
pick up some of the cake "crumbs" you made earlier. Flatten
your hand so it's just slightly cupped, and pat crumbs onto
the side of the cake. Some crumbs will fall onto the serving
plate--that's OK, just pick them up and re-apply them. Put the
crumbs on randomly, but spread them out as evenly as possible;
the entire cake surface won't be covered with them. Save some
crumbs to pat onto the top of the cake. Chill cake about 30
minutes. If necessary, use your hands to gently re-shape the
sides. Chill until cold before covering tightly. Chill at least
2 hours before serving.
To cut, you'll
need a large, sharp knife. Cut thin slices, as this is quite
rich. Store in refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to three
days, or freeze.
At least 12 servings
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