Last weekend Tom had a birthday barbeque at someone’s house, so I decided I should bake a birthday cake for him. I found a great recipe in one cookbook, but the cake seemed like it might be a bit small (as it served only 12) and the barbeque was likely to have 30 or more people. Tom suggested I make a Chocolate Blackout Cake from my Serendipity 3 cookbook. I had made this cake once before for a dinner party where the theme was bacon. I originally planned on doing a bacon dessert, and I found a recipe for bacon maple cupcakes which were quite tasty, but apparently there was going to be a vegetarian there, and since he couldn’t have bacon, I decided on an alternate dessert. The alternate dessert was this chocolate cake. At this point, I had only cooked one other recipe from the cookbook, the fudge pie, and it was tasty, so I knew this was going to be great. The recipe says serves 10, so I figured it would be just enough. Needless to say, the cake was gigantic, and along with the cupcakes, we had plenty left over to take to another party the next day and to Tom’s work the following day (with about 1/6 of the cake left over to take home). The cake feeds way more than 10, and it seemed appropriate for a party like this.
First, the cake is a four layer cake. Not a four layer cake where you bake two cakes and cut the layers in half, but four normal sized cake layers:
Second, the cake batter requires a massive bowl. It’s impossible to do in any sort of normal sized bowl. The first time I made it, the cake was overflowing. Luckily, I had bought a giant bowl from Ikea when we moved in, so I had one I was sure would work.
Third, the cake requires two pounds of unsweetened chocolate. Yes TWO pounds of chocolate. The batter requires one pound, and the frosting requires the second. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to just go into the grocery store and buy unsweetened chocolate in the UK. I found some that had hints of other flavors, which I wasn’t sure about. So I ended up getting a Lindt 90% chocolate instead. It’s not quite the same, but it’s close, and I was hoping for the cake it would be close enough. I also had a problem finding cake flour. They don’t really have such a thing like they do in the states. The closest I could find in the grocery store was fine plain flour, which is still not quite right. According to the internet, there is apparently something called extra-fine flour which is the same, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to use the fine plain flour instead, which honestly seemed to work okay.
So I went about baking the cake. I decided to bake the cakes on one day, to give them time to cook and frost on the next. Basically there frosting requires boiling sugar, corn syrup (or I had to use golden syrup), and cream in a pan, and then pouring over one pound of finely chopped chocolate and stirring until mixed. Then you let it cool and add sour cream. I let it cool for over an hour, added the cream, but the consistency was a bit off. So I put it in the freezer to cool it down. It seemed to thicken so I decided to frost with it:
As you can see, not only do you put frosting between each layer, but you also add quite a few chocolate chips, as if there wasn’t enough chocolate in the cake already. The chips do add a nice texture change in the cake, which is probably why they are there. After two layers, the cake is already looking quite huge:
Each of the first three layers requires frosting and chocolate chips. After all the layers, the cake is looking quite massive!
After four layers the cake is massive. Unfortunately, the frosting was still a bit runny, as you can see with it oozing out the sides of the cake. I tried to add the frosting to the rest of the cake, but it just started running down the sides and pooling up around the bottom. So I threw the frosting back in the freezer for almost an hour to see if that helped. The frosting did get thicker, but it still ran down the side, so I didn’t use all the frosting on the cake. I attempted to hide some of the oozing frosting with some raspberries, and took the rest with me to the party in case people wanted it for something. I’m not sure why the frosting went south. It could be that the flat is just way too hot and the frosting was melting. It could also be that since I only used 90% chocolate instead of 100% that there was just not quite enough fat in the frosting to keep it from falling. The frosting was supposed to be cooled completely before adding the sour cream, but I don’t think it was, so that could have caused problems too.
Anyway, my I shouldn’t have worried too much, as the cake turned out lovely (and unfortunately I was in a rush to get it frosted and out the door that I didn’t get a picture of the whole cake). However, as you can see, the cake was a success and everyone tried a bit and really liked it:
It may not be obvious from the photo, but the cake is ridiculously moist and super chocolatey. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet. It’s is really rich though, so while it’s not overwhelming, it is difficult to eat a lot of it. The raspberries did help quite a bit. I did have a bit of an idea to pour some raspberry liquor over each layer before frosting, which would be a nice touch, but I kind of forgot to do it, so it was just standard.
It was even so good, that Tom decided to eat the top layer later in the night. He just reached over to the cake and grabbed a hunk off the top and ate it.