It all started with wedding cake. When my husband and I got married in 2006, we had the most amazing almond cake iced with amaretto buttercream. Long after our big day we still talked about how delicious it was and salivated over the memory eating it. I liked to cook, and was confident I could recreate it for our first anniversary. Then I hit a few snags.
My first problem was finding a worthy recipe. I spent days testing recipes I found on the internet, making notes in hopes to combine the perfect elements of each to create one ideal batter. The icing was my second problem (not making enough to cover the entire cake), and didn't even want to think about the fondant. Third, I was missing a cake stand and icing knife. I had a vision that was impossible to fulfill, and it was during one of my many attempts at this cake that I simply could not take the pressure of having to wash my mixing bowls so they could be reused (no dishwasher), spreading out my ingredients, perfectly measuring flour and folding whipped egg whites into chocolate sauce without deflating them.
I threw up my hands and surveyed the damage. My kitchen was a mess. I’d already done two rounds of dishes and still the sink was full of saucepans dripping with icing, fudge, and cake batter. I was miserable, and convinced that in order to regain my happiness I had to give up baking.
Fast forward to 2008. I have a slightly more modern kitchen (I waved goodbye to the avocado green oven and said hello to a gas range), and have regained an interest in improving my baking skills. Having a friend for dinner is always an excuse for cake so I planned to try Everyday Food’s Dark-Chocolate Cake. I’m thrilled to announce that…drum roll please... IT WASN’T A DISASTER! The cake is dense, the frosting is rich, and one sliver (plus a tall glass of cold milk) is all you need for satisfaction.
Dark-Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
Recipe courtesy Everyday Food
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in chocolate and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in three parts and buttermilk in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
3. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (Nicole note: My cakes were done at 35 minutes.) Cool in pans 15 minutes; run a knife around edge of each pan, and invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Set a rimmed baking sheet upside down on a work surface. Place one cake on sheet, and spread top with 1/3 of ganache. Place second cake on top, and spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Using two wide metal spatulas, carefully transfer frosted cake to a serving platter.
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat; add 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.