Sunday, April 3, 2011

Intense Chocolate Layer Cake for the Serious Chocolate Lover~



Today, I'm sharing another recipe from our big, birthday bash last weekend. Since all three of us who had birthdays each have our own favorite birthday cake, I decided the combo birthday party needed a not-playing-favorites, brand new recipe. (Keep in mind, I am an awful cake and cookie decorator! It is my so far, unsuccessful goal to one day change that).

I can't remember where I read the first mention of this recipe but thank goodness I did! Evidently, it's the most reviewed cake recipe on Epicurious.com with over 1400 reviews. I guess it's one of those love-it or hate-it recipes with the majority of those who have tried it being in the former rather than latter category.

After reading through almost 100 of the reviews, I gleaned some very useful information but not enough to prevent ending up without a couple of issues. As you can see, my cake is slightly lopsided and I allowed the ganache frosting to harden up a wee bit too much. Also, my cake layers must not have been totally done (even though my toothpick came out clean) since the cake fell slightly in the center and the cake settled to a fudge-y mass in he center, making my whipped cream/raspberry filling messy.


All of that being said, this was one of the most amazing, sensational, delicious chocolate cakes I have ever tasted!

The cake batter made too much for my 9" cake pans, so I made cupcakes with the rest of the batter and shared them with friends. The cupcakes turned out perfectly, probably because they were a little more well-baked.


The cake really doesn't need any ganache or frosting at all, it's that good. You could serve it plain, with some raspberry whipped cream or raspberry ice cream on the side.


Chocolate-Lovers Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
Printable Recipe

Serves 12 to 14

For cake layers:
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee (I used decaf so we wouldn't lose any sleep!)
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs (the original recipe calls for only 3)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting:
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

For Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2/3 jar of good-quality raspberry preserves

2 10" or 9" cake pans

Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans with Crisco. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper then dust pans with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out excess.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes if using 10" pans, or about 50-55 minutes if using 9" pans.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. If necessary, run a thin knife around edges of pans (you probably won't need to do this if you carefully greased and dusted the pans with cocoa) and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers are best made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. This firms up the cake and makes it easier to handle.

Make frosting: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. I put my in the refrigerator until spreadable, checking on it every 10-15 minutes.

Make raspberry filling: With an electric mixer with the whipping attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the raspberry preserves.

Spread filling between cake layers up to 1/2 inch from sides. Spread chocolate ganache and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days (we found the cake still tasted great after over 5 days!). Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

63 comments:

  1. This looks (and sounds) amazing to me Susan! Wishin' I had a piece right now:@)

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  2. Happy Birthday to you! What a great chocolate recipe! This cake is so moist and lovely. I like the way it is with a fantastic texture...Yummy!

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  3. What a wonderful cake! It looks perfectly delicious and chocolaty. The raspberry cream filling sound yummy too. I may try this as cupcakes with that lovely filling. :)

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  4. I would certainly love a slice! A nice dessert for a celebration!

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  5. The cake looks delicious! I am thinking the "fudgey center made it even better!

    How do you put together your picture collage? It is wonderful! Thanks! Bonnie

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  6. Happy Birthday !! That cake sounds wonderful - I love chocolate and raspberry together.
    Enjoy your evening.

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  7. Happy Birthday!!! This looks delicious. Nothing better than a chocolate birthday cake!!!

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  8. Whatever issues you had, in the end it looks fantastic! I'm a chocolate lover and I would love that slice, make mine a little bigger and add a nice big, ice cold glass of milk for me :)

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  9. Susan, your popular cake looks great to me. I'm sure it was delicious. Baking cake is a chemical science and can be difficult. It is not my favorite thing to do, but then again, you will never see me using a box cake mix. I would rather do without. ;)

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  10. This sounds wonderful. Raspberry and chocolate are a perfect flavor combination!

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  11. That cake looks delicious, Susan!

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  12. Thank you, all!

    Scrambed Hen, that's exactly what I was thinking too :)

    Bonnie, that's one of my most frequently asked questions. Check out Mike Warren Photoshop actions online. You will need Photoshop.

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  13. How timely! I have a birthday later in the month to bake for. I'm taking your word for it that this is an amazing chocolate cake. I'll be back to snag the recipe soon. That mosaic is so pretty with the star of the show and the tulips and the fruit.

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  14. It looks dense and chocolaty and delish!

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  15. It looks so moist and my tummy does not care how it looks it is chocolate. Yum Yum!!

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  16. Amazing cake and amazing photos of it. I've been working on my food photography skills so really appreciate yours. I love how you got the raspberries so sharply-focussed with the soft tulips in the background. I'm curious to know what you used to make the mosaic as it is an interesting composition - very pretty.

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  17. That cake sounds positively delicious! Love the combination of chocolate and raspberry - YUM! Happy belated birthday as well - I'm a March baby too:)

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  18. There are some cakes that just taste better than they look and they are usually the BEST cakes! I can just imagine that fudgy goodness. Hope your birthday was an extra special one Susan.

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  19. I am a chococolic so this cake would have some serious time at my kitchen table.

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  20. Happy belated Birthday, love a woman who can make her own birthday cake. You pickrd a fantastic recipe I have been wondering about, but never had the nerve to try; I am always nervous with cakes What a success;r-you shouldnbe proud;wow!
    Rita

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  21. I have made the cake before and I can attest to the fact that it is delicious. I love the fact that you made cupcakes with it. May I send the picture of the cupcake in cello to my son's fiance as they are making cupcakes for their wedding in October? V

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  22. I can feel the knife cutting through that ganache. It looks to be exactly as I like--make that love--it. I toted back quite a bit of chocolate from Syd Wainer's in New Bedford and it's calling to me. I think I need to pay attention and get this to the table soon. Love the cupcakes and their presentation. I'd like to be your neighbor.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  23. i love chocolate anything (doesn't every woman??!!). This looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

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  24. It looks so sinful..reminds me a tiny bit of the one we had for C's bday..
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe Susan..Great photos and the cupcakes are darling:)

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  25. I would love such a cake for my birthday! I am a lifelong chocolate addict and this would be my idea of heaven on earth! Love the raspberry cream to go along with it and the ganache of course!

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  26. Oh that looks so good! I'm putting my daughter on this recipe...she is our resident baker. I loved your mosaic and the pretty presentation of the cupcakes too.

    Becky K.

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  27. The cake looks sensational. How can you go wrong with something rich and full of chocolate?

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  28. I always come here for inspiration, unfortunately today you've just made me hungry for something my honey doesn't want around the house right now! I love your mosaic and love seeing that cupcake wrapped up so cute. Perhaps I could get you to link it up at Color Chic for the Ribbon Jar Giveaway? That chocolate gingham goes perfectly with chocolate... I'm thinking I need to order that color!

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  29. Thank you all - it was quite sensational and the friends with whom I shared the cupcakes have asked for the recipe!

    Gardening V - you have mail :)

    Thanks for letting me know, Color Chic!

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  30. That is one very intense chocolate cake, wow!! Looks delicious!

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  31. è sempre un piacere passare nel tuo blog..che bontà!!!complimenti!

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  32. You have me salivating. That cake looks gorgeous and so rich and delicious, I can see it in the photo. I love the sweet way that you've packaged up the cupcakes. Very nice! I'm sure your guests always feel special.

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  33. happy birthday! the cake falling in the center causing a fudgy mess sounds delicious to me! ;)
    it must be good if doesn't even need frosting!
    it sure does look good!!

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  34. Yum!! And it's so pretty too! Trust me, I am a horrible cake decorator : I'm very impressed by this. Happy birthday!! :)

    Sues

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  35. Chocolate is my sirens song...so it looks wonderful to me! I'm not much for baking myself but this looks SO delish. I love your framed mosaics :-)

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  36. My husband loves chocolate cake and I'm sure he'd love this recipe.
    I think your decoration of the cake is nice, simple yet pretty. When the icing gets too elaborate it's more of a show piece than an eating piece.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Judith

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  37. this cake looks amazing. I know a lot of chocolate lovers who would love a bite of this one....

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  38. If your icing hardens up on the cake take a hair dryer on low and aim it at the cake. It will loosen slightly and glisten again. :)
    It looks delicious, I am saving that recipe. I am always looking for a better choc cake, we like them nice and moist.

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  39. Susan, first...happy birthday! This chocolate cake has everything that I like, lots of chocolate and raspberry...I will have to give this a try...and soon...looks delicious, very tempting :-) Have a great week!

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  40. Oh my! This cake looks heavenly! It reminds me of a large "ring ding" and I mean that is a very good way as I was a ring ding fanatic when I was a child. I ahve to copy this recipe down...yummy!

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  41. Love, love, love that cake! It looks absolutely delicious! I'll trade you a slice of the pie a just posted for a slice of your cake! LOL!!

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  42. Oh, dear lady, how did you know just what I was craving??? I made chocolate chip cookies over the weekend... now maybe some cake will help... I am just plain jonesing for chocolate!! How good can it get to have a raspberry cream center??? That is insanely delicious sounding... MUST MAKE!!

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  43. My son is a chocolate-cake-only man. I'm going east to visit him on Saturday, and I'll be he'd love it if I showed up with a new chocolate cake recipe!

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  44. Me again. :D Thanks for stopping by and nice comment.

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  45. The cupcakes are adorable and the cake is very pretty too! I appreciate your notes about the recipe. It sounds delicious!

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  46. We have a lot of birthdays in my family right about now too. Everyone must have been bored in July! :)

    Love this cake, Susan. And all your tips. Wow. A raspberry filling too!

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  47. I am aserious chocolate lover here and this one sounds like the perfect sweet for me!

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  48. Happy belated birthday Susan, and wow! What a cake! Great job on it. Thanks for sharing. You have a beautiful blog and I'm looking forward to exploring your recipes! :)

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  49. Lop-sided or not - it looks delicious! Nice to include all the birthdays...Love the new pics of mack on FB..

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  50. Anything that has the words "intense" and "chocolate" in it immediately gets my attention. This looks amazing!!!! I love love love chocolate, and this cake is incredibly tempting. I will have to make it. There is no going back now. :)

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  51. Happy Birthday and your cake with the raspberry filling looks divine. Oh to have a slice with a cup of tea.. Yum.
    Hope your birthday was the best ever!

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  52. Oh this is just gorgeous! Absolutely decadence and definitely not for the faint of heart! Hope you had a fabulous birthday!

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  53. Happy Birthday!
    The cake is mouthwatering!

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  54. Happy birthday dear Susan, your cake is really wonderful!a warm hug...

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  55. The cake looks absolutely scrumptious! I know i will be spending more time on your blog.. I have a lot of catching up to do! Thanks so much for dropping in and singing up for the giveaway! Good luck.

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  56. Intense chocolate cake.........YES

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  57. Dear, this look amazing and delicious!! gloria

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  58. I love chocolate...I love this cake!!!!Hugs, Flavia

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  59. How could I miss out this one??!! So chocolatey, smooth and super!

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  60. Well, now you've gone & done it! You've caused me to drool all over my keyboard. LOL!!! OMG this sounds delish & decadent which equals perfection!
    CAS

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  61. I think your cake looks fabulous - hello, chocolate!!!

    If you're interested in a little cake advice, ganach can be softened slowly over a double boiler, or in the microwave (just a few seconds at a time, and stir, stir, stir). Also, I don't bake cakes without using insulated cake strips around the edges of my pans - they keep the edges of the cake from baking faster than the middle. But if you're not planning to make cakes very often, you might not be interested in purchasing them - in which case I'd suggest my upside-down flower nail trick. You know the flower nails that cake decorators make roses on? Well, you take one of those and plunk it upside down in the center of the uncooked cake batter after it's been poured into the pan. The flower nail head should rest against the bottom of the cake pan - the nail heats in the oven and ensure the center of the cake bakes through. When you turn the baked cake out of the pan, the flower nail will pop right out. I'm pretty sure I have some photos posted on my blog somewhere.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

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  62. I should clarify - the flower nail isn't "my" trick, but I've been using it for years.

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