14 February 2009

Chew Me, Baby

Nothing will be better received this Valentine's Day than a crumb-coated slice of blackout cake with your after-dinner tea (I'd recommend mint, if you've been overindulging as much as I have while baking).

Well, maybe a few other things. But this one will last until tomorrow and even the day after.

Blackout cake was invented in the 1950s by the famed Ebinger's bakery, a longstanding (and sadly, long closed) Brooklyn dessert institution. I wasn't around to taste the original, but after licking the bowl clean, sweeping all the crumbs off the counter into my mouth and "tasting" about 1/2 cup of the thick, rich custardy frosting, I think I've done it justice.

If you're reading this, you may be feeling lonely today and a bit sorry for yourself. Enough. That's even more reason to make blackout cake- you don't have to share it. And you even get to completely crumble one of the layers, during which you can constructively (or destructively) reminisce about love gone wrong.

Don't think me cruel. If a cake is too much to handle today, then just make my hot fudge sauce. It's quick and dirty. I know you can do it.

Blackout Cake

3/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Filling and Frosting:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Cut 2 circles of parchment paper or wax paper to fit bottoms of pans; butter paper.

2. Sift together cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. With a mixer on medium speed, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

3. Reduce speed to low and beat in cocoa mixture until well incorporated. Mix in flour alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat just until combined. Divide batter evenly between pans.

4. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

5. Filling: In medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. reduce heat to medium low and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes more, until very thick. Remove from heat and pour into bowl. Add chocolate; stir until melted and custard is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing plastic against surface to prevent skin from forming. Stir occasionally until custard cools to room temperature. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

6. Using long, serrated knife, cut cooled layers horizontally in half. Reserve 3 halves for finished cake. Crumble remaining half with hands into fine crumbs and set aside.

6. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate or serving platter. Spread with one-fourth of the custard. Top with another cake layer and custard. Top with remaining cake layer; cover top and sides of cake with remaining custard. Coat side and top of cake with reserved cake crumbs.

7. Cover loosely and chill for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with loving dessert.

1 comment:

Christina said...

I love the idea of a custard coating rather than the traditional frosting-coated cake, and the crumbs on the outside gives it a nice touch!