His birthday was on Thursday but I didn't have time to bake a cake during the week (I know, I'm terrible) so I made it on Saturday instead. I had the recipe picked out for months. Why this one? It's on Epicurious and has more than 1400 reviews - all with the highest possible rating. It is a "blue ribbon" recipe, officially one of the most highly rated recipes in the history of the entire website. Epicurious covers Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, so that says something about this cake.
Did it live up to its expectations? Hell yes. Hell. Yes. It is absolutely fantastic. It is the best chocolate cake ever. The ganache is a little bit rich, but that's how ganache is by nature. It's wonderfully unhealthy. Does it go into the "Legendary But Will Never Make Again" folder? Nope. He wants it again next year!
Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Gourmet, March 1999
Engine Co. No. 28, Los Angeles CA
This old-fashioned chocolate cake made our staff swoon! Chef Ed Kasky uses Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder -- (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 ounces unsalted butter -- (1/4 cup)
two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans
1. Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
4. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
5. Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
6. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
7. Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.