December 04, 2011

Let Her Eat Cake

When my nephew Alex was little, my brother used to think it was funny to play a game called “What do you like more?” The game basically consisted of him asking my nephew what he liked more, between his Auntie Bri, (me!) and something else.  

In the past, I’ve lost to things like ice cream, dragonflies and dump trucks as things he likes more than me.  I’ve never liked that game.  

Fast forward four years and Alex is now far too smart to be fooled by his Papa into saying things are better than his Auntie Bri who gives him cookies and takes him to play mini golf.  His younger sister, Julie, on the other hand, is just getting to the age where my brother once again thinks this is a hilarious game to play.

I have no doubt that Julie would happily tell you that chocolate cake is better than Auntie Bri, even if Auntie Bri was the one who made the cake…  Just let her eat cake!

If you’re looking to please a demanding, (but adorable) 2 year old, this cake will certainly do the trick.  The only change I made to the recipe below was to make add a sour cherry layer instead of just straight ganache.

Chocolate Ganache Cake (from Gourmet, 2001

For cake layers
            3/4 cup boiling water
            1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
            1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
            1/2 cup whole milk
            1 teaspoon vanilla
            2 cups all-purpose flour
            1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
            2 cups packed dark brown sugar
            4 large eggs

For ganache filling and glaze
            2 1/2 cups heavy cream
            20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped in a food processor

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
Whisk together water, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined.
Divide batter among pans (about 2 1/3 cups per pan), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

Make ganache while cakes bake:
Bring cream to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened but spreadable, about 4 hours. (If ganache becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened.)

Assemble cake:
Arrange 1 layer on a cake stand or plate and spread 2/3 cup ganache evenly over it. Top with another cake layer and 2/3 cup ganache, spreading evenly, then third cake layer. (Chill ganache if necessary to keep at a spreadable consistency.) Chill cake until ganache filling is firm, about 1 hour. Keep remaining ganache at a spreadable consistency, chilling when necessary.
Spread a thin layer of ganache over top and sides of cake to seal in crumbs, then chill 30 minutes. Spread remaining ganache evenly over top and sides of cake.

Cooks' notes: • Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely, then chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap. • Ganache may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Let stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours to soften to a spreadable consistency. • This cake can also be made in 2 (8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans. Split layers horizontally, then use 1/2 cup ganache between layers.


K and S said...

looks like a great cake, like the new look of the blog too!

Eri said...

I think I found the cake I want to make for my sons birthday! What's the "red sauce" between the layers?
I like this idea, maybe I'll use strawberry jam or something like that..
Thank you very much for sharing!
Have a nice afternoon!

LyB said...

I've often "entertained" my kids with chocolate cake. These days though, they're asking to make the cake as well as eat it! My babies are growing up! ;)

Brilynn said...

Eri- The "red" is sour cherries, cooked with a little sugar, water, rum and cornstarch.

Elpiniki said...

This cake looks sooo amazing!
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Anonymous said...

Yumm! The cake is definitely would please anybody demanding and adorable!

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