You should read this adorable blog post from king arthur flour, in which they talk about being the designated birthday cake baker. very cute. But anyway, I am becoming that for my family, mostly because my sisters, who are excellent cooks, are somehow intimidated by frosting and cakes. My brother does not bake. He's a man. He grills.
Anyway, this cake is the gateway cake for those intimidated by frosting. Ganache is delicious and foolproof!! I'm making this this weekend among others, and I think it might steal the show. I'm tempted to add some caramel in between each of these layers as well.
Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake
adapted from King arthur flour
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce) cornstarch
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
6 ounces cream (light, whipping, or heavy)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces cream (light, whipping, or heavy)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8" x 2" round cake pans. These pans need to be at least 2" tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8" pans, substitute 9" round pans.
To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
To make the filling: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary.
(you can add a flavoring to chocolate filling if you want with extract or liquer.)
Divide the cooled layers in half horizontally, to make four layers. I suggest putting strips of wax paper under the edge of the cake to make it look neater! Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.
To make the icing: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary. Pour and spread the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip over the edges and down the sides. Once it’s done dripping, you may smooth the sides with an icing spatula, if desired. Allow the cake to rest, covered with a cake cover till the chocolate is set; overnight is good, though several hours are sufficient.