Saturday, May 12, 2012

Layered Chocolate Fudge Cake


It's my Princess's birthday and her one request is for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and swirls on top. I wanted to make the cake from scratch, but I don't have one go-to recipe. I asked my princess which recipe she wanted to use. (The one on the back of the dark cocoa powder box, or the one on the back of the natural cocoa powder container.) She chose the latter. It's the recipe for Ghirardelli's Grand Fudge Cake, but I replaced some of the natural cocoa powder with dark cocoa powder to give it a richer chocolate flavor.
   It's a tradition for the kids to help make their birthday cakes, so Princess helped me today; wearing her princess dress and tiara in all her princess glory. Cooking/baking always takes longer when the kids help, but spending time with them, and teaching them to cook is more important than getting it done fast. :)

Here's what we did:
   Princess wanted two round 9 inch cakes, so we greased and floured the pans and got all the ingredients together.
milk, sugar, flour, butter, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla
In a small mixing bowl, we combined the flour,

cocoa powder (1/2 cup natural and 1/4 cup dark)

salt,

baking soda,

and baking powder.

Princess whisked it together and we set it aside.

In a larger mixing bowl, we added the butter,

and sugar. We creamed them together until fluffy (about 4 minutes).

Then I added the vanilla.

1 egg, and mix.

Then another egg and mix again.

Now we added a little of the cocoa mixture, and blended that in completely.

Then we added about 1/2 the milk and mixed again.

Then comes more of the flour/cocoa mixture.

Make sure to scrape down the sides.

Now comes the last of the milk,

and then the last of the cocoa mixture.

Scrape down the sides one more time, and it's time to divide the batter into the cake pans. (You can also just cook the whole thing in one 13x9.)

We tried to get the batter as even as possible.

Once they were both even, we put them in a 350F oven for 35 minutes (until a toothpick on the center comes out clean).

This is what they looked like right out of the oven. (The one on the right is the one I tested - see the hole?)

I let them cool completely and then refrigerated them to get cold. Then I cut each cake in half so I had 4 cake layers. Between the cake layers I put my dad's 5 Minute Fudge. Then I put the assembled cake into the fridge, on the cake plate, and made Alton Brown's Ganache to cover the cake.

Then Princess directed me on how and where to decorate the swirls.
For the swirls, I just used powdered sugar and strawberry jam to make a nice thick frosting.

Then I spooned the frosting into a zip top bag, held by a cup.

I snipped a tiny piece off one corner and then I went to swirlin'.

Not the prettiest cake in the world, but special because we made it together. :)
Happy Birthday Princess!


Here's the recipe:
based on Ghirardelli Grand Fudge Cake

Layered Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9x9 cake pans. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a larger mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Alternate adding the flour/cocoa powder mixture and the milk to the butter mixture (ending with the flour mixture). When everything is smooth, divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake in the 350F oven for 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Cool completely, and put cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes. Cut each cake in 1/2. Layer the cakes with 5 Minute fudge, or other frosting, between each layer. Finish by covering the cake in the ganache. Refrigerate until frosting is set.

Papa's 5 Minute Fudge

2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
10 oz package of marshmallows
12 oz package of chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, combine milk, sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add marshmallows. When marshmallows are melted, add vanilla and chocolate chips and stir vigorously to combine. It will set up fast, so quickly pour onto cake (to have as frosting) or into a greased pan (to eat as fudge).


Alton Brown's Ganache

6 oz cream
12 oz dark chocolate
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat cream and corn syrup until simmering. Turn off heat and add the chocolate and vanilla. When chocolate is melted and everything is combined, let cool to just warm and then frost cake.


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