Special Feature: The BEST Chocolate Cake You’ve Never Had.

Hi Everybody,

In light of the weekend which just wrapped, thought Id gift you with a pretty sumptuous sweet treat.  Get excited for this one.  Super psyched.  It might just be one of the best chocolate cakes you ever sample.  The full name, which was too much of a mouthful for the title line, is: “Maxxs Mouthwateringly Fudgy & Brookes Bombastically Moist, Nearly Death by Chocolate Cake.”  A dangerous one for sure, on more than one level 😉 which only my sidekick will understand in full.  All joking aside though, get ready to have your socks knocked off upon tasting.  Might not even bother wearing any when sampling this baby.

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*This one is a special feature because, I apologize, but it isn’t grain free/dairy free/nor sugar free.  A sinful sweet to behold, certainly not healthy, but a very worthwhile one indeed.

 

Ingredients needed for this dessert dream

The Cake:
1 ¼ cups dark cocoa powder (we liked Hershey’s)
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup butter, room temp.
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups cake flour (yes, it makes a difference)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 cups milk, room temp

3-4 tablespoons of honey

Chocolate frosting:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium-sized, heat-proof bowl, add the 1 ¼ cup cocoa powder and boiling water together. You can either: let it sit for 10 minutes, then stir until smooth and set aside, OR, you can immediately stir together the cocoa powder and hot water, which will form a lumpy, chocolatey dough like consistency.

I did the latter, to my baking cohort’s slight initial dismay. Despite my slight internal panic though, I played it cool, assuring him it would still turn out great (whilst sweating a few bullets, worrying Id just ruined what, until then, we were sure would be edible awesomeness). However, we were delighted to discover that the minor mishap resulted in delicious, bite sized, fudgy chunks distributed throughout the cake.

So, choose your preferred method with this step. Either one will come out great. Once making a decision either way though, set aside for now.

 

Now, begin the actual cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three, 8-inch round cake pans. Grease, lay parchment paper across the bottoms of the pans, and then spray a light coat of grease over the paper.
2. Using an electric stand mixer with an attached paddle, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy- about 7-8 minutes on medium-high speed.
3. In a separate bowl, add together the cake flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
4. Once the butter and sugar have been creamed for 7-8 minutes, add in the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium-low speed after each addition as well as scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters with a spatula.  Add in the spoonful’s of honey at this time as well.
5. Now add in: the cooled cocoa batter you prepped (from step #1), half of the flour mix, and half of the milk.  Beat on medium speed until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl and add remaining flour on medium speed while adding in the rest of the milk too. Beat until combined. This is where I would dip in a spoon and have a few tastefuls myself…though this is of course, entirely optional.
6. Pour the batter equally amongst the three prepared pans.  Bake all three cakes simultaneously in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops of the cakes quickly spring back up when lightly touched.
7. While the cakes are baking…you can begin the frosting and ganache. See below.
8. Once they are finished baking though, cool cakes for about 10 minutes in their pans. Then, gently use a knife to loosen the cakes around the edges of the pan and invert onto cooling racks to cool completely for an hour or so.

Make sure there aren’t any hungry or mischievous animals lurking in the vicinity…

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For the frosting and ganache:
1. Place a medium-sized heatproof bowl in the freezer so it will be chilled for later use.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the 1 cup of milk, teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ cup of cocoa powder to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. We shall call this the pudding, for clarity’s sake. Upon simmering, turn off pudding and remove from the heat. Set aside. Meanwhile…
3. Heat the three egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar in a separate saucepan. Stir with a whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is pale yellow. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Now pour in the pudding (from step #2, just above). Stir together.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into the previously chilled bowl. Place in the fridge to cool and thicken.
4. Meanwhile, for the ganache: finely chop the bittersweet chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in the microwave (I just heated it in there for a couple minutes until boiling). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for five minutes undisturbed, then stir until smooth. Set aside.
5. Now, final step for the pudding mixture (aka the frosting). Fast forward an hour or so. The cakes have been cooling. The ganache has been set aside, tempting a few stolen spoonful’s.  The pudding has been chilling in the fridge.  Using an electric mixer, beat the now cooled pudding, the remaining 1 ½ cup of butter, the powdered sugar, and the 2 tablespoons of extra cocoa powder all together (be sure the pudding doesn’t have the slightest warmth to it or else the butter will melt) on medium speed. Beat till the mixture is fluffy and becomes slightly pale in color (about 4 minutes or so). If, however, this doesn’t happen (we had a bit of a further misstep, or, more accurately, I did) and the texture doesn’t thicken, the frosting will be just as delicious, regardless. I can promise you that.

Ready to finally chow down on this tempting treat and involved undertaking!?  After all the work, it tastes that much better sitting down and cutting into a thick slice.  Just you wait.  Far superior to anything store bought and even some restaurant cakes, by leaps and bounds.

So.  To assemble the cake:
Place the first layer on a cake board/cake stand/plate and spoon about 3/4 cup of frosting onto the top. Spread around, then place the second layer, top-side down onto the first layer. Spread another 3/4 cup of frosting and place the third and final layer on top, again, top-side of the layer facing down onto the previous layer.

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Add the remaining frosting to the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes so the frosting can firm up some. Once the frosting is somewhat firm to the touch, add the ganache and spread around the top and sides of the cake.

Decorate with edible flowers if you like. Pomegranate seeds would also be excellent on top, as well as raspberries or blueberries.
The cake serves…oh….probably 6-10 people. Though in our case, it served two.  Yup.  Its that good.  And this is coming from two avid health/fitness types.

This dessert makes for a showstopper of a finale for any dinner party, holiday celebration, birthday party, board game night, you name it. Or, in merely wanting to wow and impress while leaving your dinner guests still salivating and hankering for more upon their farewell, whip up this decadent devil of a cake.

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This recipe was adapted/altered from the one found on the Sticky Spatula.  You can find her version here.

 

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